Rubio, Portman criticize Obama on economy at faith conference
June 14th, 2012
04:10 PM ET
3 years ago

Rubio, Portman criticize Obama on economy at faith conference

Washington (CNN) – Sens. Marco Rubio and Rob Portman, both considered top contenders to join Mitt Romney's presidential ticket, criticized President Barack Obama's economic vision - including his assertion that "the private sector is doing fine" - while introducing themselves to conservatives gathered here on Thursday.

"He needs to get out more," Portman quipped at the Faith and Freedom Conference.

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"What disturbed me even more was the context in which he made that statement. It wasn't just that the private sector is doing fine," given an 8.2% unemployment rate, he continued, "it was that he said the answer is what - more government."

Rubio did not quote Obama's comments as Portman did, but criticized those who believe "government that spends its money and so strategically, that that's what's created jobs and created opportunity. That's what one side of the political equation in America literally believes."

Meanwhile, Obama and Romney were preparing to take to separate podiums in Ohio for economic addresses - in the state which is both a key battleground and Portman's home. Obama backed away from his statement that the "private sector is doing fine" hours after making the remark on Friday, saying, "it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine."

Portman and Rubio spoke passionately about faith and family in their lives to an audience of conservative activists gathered to hear from top Republicans over the next three days. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is to address the group by video on Saturday.

Sen. Jim DeMint, who has embraced the tea party movement, spoke as well, calling Rubio among "the five top leaders in the Senate in terms of the conservative movement right now."

The others include Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Pat Toomey, and Ron Johnson. Paul and Lee are scheduled to address the convention, as will former GOP presidential candidates including Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

Rubio focused on the opportunity which American freedoms - founded in the faith expressed in the Declaration of Independence - give individuals of all backgrounds.

He has proposed a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act which would grant legal status to young people who choose to attend college or serve in the military and who were brought here illegally, a measure Romney has said he will review.

Barbara Morseberger, a conference attendee who shares Rubio's Cuban heritage said Rubio's vision of an America with opportunity for all, "no matter whether you're educated or not," resonates with her.

Portman described choosing, on several occasions, between his public service career and personal life. After leaving a White House job to be with his cancer-stricken mother, Portman said he returned to government reinvigorated by the model of his parents.

"Like them, my faith sustains me," he said. "Like them, I pray every day.

"And sometimes I pray for guidance on Capitol Hill, that's needed, sometimes I'm not sure exactly what message I'm getting, but I try," he added to laughs.

Rubio was in the vice presidential sights of several attendees who spoke to CNN after the remarks.

He, DeMint, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin topped the list suggested by Beverly Owensby of Palladian View, South Carolina.

Lisa Roper, who traveled to the conference from Texas, floated the name of Rep. Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee.

Rubio ignored a question about vice presidential vetting when asked by a reporter after his speech.

Morseberger would pick him for Romney's ticket, but suggested the first term senator would do well to stay in the Senate, as he has said when asked the question previously.

"He's in a good spot now," she said.

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Filed under: 2012 • Jim DeMint • Marco Rubio • President Obama • Rob Portman
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    All these bafoons know is how much they can charge on the republican bafoon party credit card, robio, and all of them signed the pledge to the crook lobbyist rover nitwitquest, like most of the rest if the republican bafoons,except bush ,maybe 2016.

    June 14, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Are these idiots vying for VP???shame. Rubio, this SOB does not have any brain. What woul you do without congress jobs-bill, trickle-down nonsense, 2 wars., this idiot for VP? Folks, drive these animals out in November. I do not mislead, nor misguide, I am very educated in USA. Obama12. Period.

    June 14, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. ARALE NORIMAKI

    Why keep trotting out this Marco Rubio=Anchor Baby character? He has
    nothing to say and basically no one gives =Running on Empty aka joke

    Senator Marco Rubio, who is 41 years-old, is still bogged down by more than $100,000 in student loans.

    Rubio, 41, also reports a 30-year mortgage on rental property in Tallahassee, a 30-year home loan valued at between $250,001 and $500,000 (Congress is allowed to report in broad ranges, to the chagrin of reporters and watchdog groups) as well as a 10-year home equity loan at between $100,001 and $250,000.

    One committee paid relatives nearly $14,000 for what was incorrectly
    described to the IRS as "courier fees" and listed a nonexistent address
    for one of them. Another committee paid $5,700 to his wife, who was
    listed as the treasurer, much of it for "gas and meals.

    Rubio's 2010 senate campaign was fined $8,000 by the Federal
    Elections Committee for receiving "prohibited, excessive and other
    impermissible contributions totaling $210,173.09.

    June 14, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Is Rubio know that Latino support Obama over Rubio

    June 14, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Clown car ,now clown bus for republican bafoons,except I don't think they will all fit !!!!

    June 14, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    "the private sector is doing fine"
    =========================
    The very SCARY part of this is that Obama truly believes this. The even scarier part was that he said the problem was that there neded to be MORE government paid union jobs. If this doesn't prove how clueless and out of touch Obama is nothing will. It sure makes it easier to understand why this imbecile hasn't been able to get this country and economy moving again after FOUR YEARS.

    June 14, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    What are these REPUBS bafoon party clowns doing to creation jobs, besides criticizeing Obama who has create jobs, more than their imagineary job creators who take their money and run !!!!!

    June 14, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Expat American

    That’s it. Keep hammering an out-of-context sound byte while you try to find a way to disguise the continuation of the failed Republican policies of Bush and co….
    Ridiculous.

    June 14, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    the test I guess is who can say the MOST negative things about Obama to be considered Mitt's partner. Go for it guys!! If nothing else you might win a position at FoxNews as a consolation prize.

    June 14, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Laverne

    You got to be kidding me! Portman who? nobody even knows who he is, so I think he is the one who needs to get out more. .....and Mr. Rubio is still wet behind the ears and a big liar I might add, trying to bolster his credentials and family story! These clowns are auditioning for the VP spot.

    June 14, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Expat American

    Whenever Rubio opens his mouth, I hear the 'Benny Hill' sountrack playing in the background.

    June 14, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Darryl

    Rubio & Portman? well I guess we know who the V.P is, 1 of the 2 of them.And good luck with eighter.Because if todays speeches between Obama & Romneys are any indication of what we are to expect President Obamas speech had far more of a clear & positive direction than Mr. Romneys speech period.All the Big Money Romney has behind him is NOT going to guarantee the Presidency of the W/H.The people are going to have the very last word and they will stand behind the president because of what happened in the past.People do NOT forget and will NOT go back to the devistation and destruction they all suffered under the Republican partys rule of this country.The speech Pres.Obama gave today was movitating,direct,hopeful,inspiring and his vision has not changed in several years at all.Things are changeing and people are seeing that.They are also seeing what the republicans have been doing by blocking everything he has put forward and they are totally against the republicans for it.Come November this country will see how We The People of the United States are proud to be Americans and how Democracy works for the People and by the People.

    June 14, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    These two clowns couldn’t shine the President’s shoes!

    June 14, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. cigarman

    Rubio cannot accept the Vice Presidency, Rubio was not born in the United States. Rubio only qualifies because he is One of the Biggest LIARS in the Republican Party. Portman who?

    June 14, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. cali girl

    Rubio and Portman can put the blame by pointing at themselves. GOnowayP at its best.

    June 14, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    The republican freek show continues!!!

    June 14, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Don't these fools have anything better to do than ruin their own careers for the likes of Mitt Romney? This constant anti-Obama bashing in getting old.

    June 14, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Angel

    Rubio has NO influence outside of Miami.

    June 14, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. SafeJourney

    The Majority of Americans know that Romney stands for GW Bush policies. Romney has hired Bush advisors.
    Americans do not want another GW Bush in the White House

    June 14, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. Va native

    Talk talk these empty suits trying to look and sound intelligent..what a joke.rubio keep in mind you are STILL AND WILL ALWAYS BE A MINORITY, MICHAEL STEEL REMEMDER HIM HMMMM.

    June 14, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Misplaced Priority

    While Obama has been working to help the middle class recover from a GOP recession, the Republicans in Congress have introduced: 467 bills on Govt Investigation, 604 bills on Tax cuts for the rich, 46 bills on Abortion, 113 bills on Religion, 36 bills on Marriage, 72 bills on Firearms, AND BLOCKED THE AMERICAN JOB ACT!!

    June 14, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. rs

    Hmm talking about the economy at a "Faith" conference? What have the Republicans done? The Ryan plan ought to get them extra time in Hell for what it proposes to the poor, the sick, and the elderly- never mind the rest of us.
    Hypocrits!

    June 14, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Romney should give his staff pink slips now ,why wait till Nov .to fire them.

    June 14, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. Va native

    This romney is clueless, stop POINTING FINGERS AND LET THE COUNTRY KNOW WHAT YOUR PLANS ARE, WE KNOW WHAT'S WRONG OK AND I THINK YOU KNOW TOO, FIRST SHOW US YOUR TAX RETURNS WHAT ARE YOU HIDING , BY SEPTEMBER YOU WILL BE TOAST, CANNOT WAIT TO SEE YOUR CHOICE FOR VP.

    June 14, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Bill

    Portman, the author of Bush's failed economic policies. What a joke. That and Mr. I Fabricate My Family History for Political Gain Rubio. Laughable, at best,

    June 14, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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