Portman’s weekend test run against Obama
July 14th, 2012
06:00 AM ET
2 years ago

Portman’s weekend test run against Obama

(CNN) – Sen. Rob Portman, a possible vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney, put himself in a trial-heat against President Barack Obama on Saturday, as he and Obama both talked economics and taxes in the weekly addresses.

Speaking for the Republicans, Portman - who is thought to be on Romney’s short list for the No. 2 spot – took Obama’s economic policies to task.

“Instead of focusing on growing jobs and reigniting our economy, President Obama focused on growing government and tried to remake the United States into the image of the debt-laden countries of Europe,” Portman said. “His approach has been more spending, more regulation, and higher taxes.”

Referencing Romney, Obama fired back.

“One path, pushed by Republicans in Congress and their nominee for President, says that the best way to create prosperity is to let it trickle down from the top,” he said. “I think they’re wrong. We already tried it that way for most of the last decade, and it didn’t work.

“We’re still paying for trillions of dollars in tax cuts that benefitted the wealthiest Americans more than anyone else; tax cuts that didn’t lead to the rise in wages and middle class jobs that we were promised; and that helped take us from record surpluses to record deficits,” he continued.
Obama and Portman sparred over the so-called Buffet Rule, which would set a minimum tax rate for wealthy individuals, and the extension of a Bush-era income tax cut.

The President has said the break should be extended for incomes under $250,000 and allowed to expire on income over that threshold, while many Republicans favor an extension for income of all levels.

"But even if we disagree on the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, we all agree that no American should pay more taxes on the first $250,000 of their income," Obama said.

"So let’s at least agree to do what we all agree on. That’s what compromise is all about," he continued, echoing recent similar comments calling on Congress to act.

Portman rebutted that point, arguing "the President is once again calling for a massive tax increase on nearly 1 million small businesses that employ tens of millions of Americans.

"I guess he still thinks the private sector is doing just fine," Portman added. "Well, the private sector is not fine."

Portman and other Republicans are pointing to small businesses which some owners include as part of their own federal tax filings.

Obama argued that "97% of small business owners would avoid getting hit with any income tax hike whatsoever."

Portman proposed a variation on the Obama-supported Buffet Rule proposal: "Mom and pop businesses should not pay a higher tax rate than Fortune 500 corporations like Warren Buffett's."

He was formerly director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. Last week, he headlined fundraisers for Romney's campaign and met with staffers of the Republican presidential candidate's campaign.

Like others thought to be on Romney's list for consideration, Portman has expressed disinterest in running on Romney's ticket.

In the GOP weekly address, the Ohio Republican also criticized Obama's health reform law and economic stimulus as expensive and ineffective.

"Raising taxes on employers and the middle class, growing government at the expense of free enterprise, piling on new regulations that increase the cost of doing business, these burdens make it harder, not easier, to create jobs in America," he said, offering that "there's a better path forward."

Washington should encourage job creation, reform the tax code, "make the tough choices" related to national debt, reduce regulations on small businesses, and develop "homegrown American energy-including shale oil and gas," Portman said.

He laid out the case against Obama and for electing Republicans - much as the vice presidential candidate would do at the Republican National Convention next month and on the campaign trail.

"There's no denying the challenges America faces today are real and they're serious. But I know we can solve them with the right policies and the right leadership," Portman said.

Obama called on Congress to act on the tax extension - which is slated to go up as part of the fiscal cliff looming in January - without unnecessary drama, the needless delays and all the partisan posturing."

Especially in the election year, however, neither party can claim it has avoided "partisan posturing."


Filed under: 2012 VP Pick • President Obama • Rob Portman
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. deltapa

    It will be the opposite of McCain-Palin.
    This time around it'll be the chosen VP's career that gets damaged by associating with the candidate.

    July 14, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Portman's economic policies for Bush sucked. When you are responsible for the advice that led to a near depression, you ought to sit down and shut up. Giving tax breaks to the wealthy, like the Kochs, who netted a$ record $26 billion last year and then reduced their workforce does the economy no good. The alleged job creators are now sitting on over $2 trillion and they are not creating jobs. Portman is as much of a liar as Mittens, so he would be ideal to run with him.

    July 14, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Most of Portman's message has been debunked, and the rest was disproven by Bush economics.

    July 14, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  4. pkbkr

    Portman is just what this country needs......a Bush -era economist! No, thanks! And that would be the bore leading the bore! Obama/Biden 2012

    July 14, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  5. T'sah From Virginia

    Blah, blah, blah – the same talking points that's drilled in the Republican's head that failed in the past... Please give us a break or come up with something new!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    July 14, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  6. American

    Portman & his GOP senators just blocked a jobs bill for American small businesses. Shame.

    July 14, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  7. Marie MD

    Who? Better yet who cares about this portman. Another wooden one.

    July 14, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  8. Norman G. Kirkendall

    Rep Rob Portman like many other Republicans doesn't know his butt from a hole in the ground. Taxes for ther rich should be increased. Rep Portman says it will cost jobs. How dumb is that statement. The rich have been getting tax breaks for several years now; but we have not seen any increase in jobs. If the Congress would go along with the President, the economy might be better but they are lame ducks and Obama is getting blamed for the bad economy. Wake up people.

    July 14, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. ddrew78

    “Instead of focusing on growing jobs and reigniting our economy, President Obama focused on growing government and tried to remake the United States into the image of the debt-laden countries of Europe,”

    I assume he's talking about countries like Germany that are bailing everyone out?

    July 14, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. Sharon

    Portman according to a Washington Post article found out that GAO report showed blue collar workers die before collecting Social Security or pensions. His idea was that because of this report the companies should not pay into retirement plans for these workers since they were going to die anyway. Another issue is that he has been running his mouth about loan guarantee for USEC Inc. He says Obama should approve it but he knows full well that the sec. Of tresury and the OBM is the only 2 who could approve it. He was appointed by Bush Jr to OBM why didnt he rubber stamp the project or tell the sec of treasury to approve it.

    July 14, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. ghost

    I say let them all, Bush Tax Cuts, expire. If it means that the wealthy will stop get ting welfare, let my taxes go back up. Not a problem here. Just for the record, I am one of those people just above the poverty line. Leave those other programs alone(SOCIAL SECURITY. MEDICARE. MEDICAID).

    July 14, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  12. T'sah From Virginia

    Romney is the one that's running for President!!! Right now, he's being seen as a liar, a tax shelter evader and an outsourcer; he only thought about himself and the MILLIONS – and now they're saying even BILLIONS – of dollars he can make.

    Romney no longer looks presidential!! Therefore, Romney’s surrogates look even weaker than him while they are out there trying to justify why he should be president. All that is left, and it is very obvious, is “bashing President Obama.” There is NOTHING in this story that praises Romney for what he can do for America that is “different.” All I see is “OBAMA BASHING” and that’s not going to work!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trust Way Forward!!

    July 14, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  13. jpmichigan

    An American who has an ounce of IQ can check via the internet on the failure of Obama;s policies, failure of his leadership and failure of telling the truth about his taxation via Obama-Care. He spouts tax relief to American WORKING tax payers, by cutting the amount one pays towards social security, in other words he is allowing working tax payers to spend money now that otherwise would have been paid into social security trust, then spout how social security will go bust by 2024. There are 49% of taxpayers that don't pay taxes, but can afford flat screen televisions and vacations or new cars. We should jpromote a FEDERAL SALES TAX ( except for food) so every one pays their fair share, from the poorest to the richest.

    July 14, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Progressive Lady

    If Portman could get those repub talking points out of his head for a minute maybe then he would see what our visionary, President Obama is revealing to him. Portman and other repubs recalcitrant brains are incapable ofconsidering anyone elses idea other than their own.

    July 14, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. Please Grow Up

    Unless something unbelievable happens – an angelic vision for Romney in front of witnesses, or a grainy photo of Obama fondling Sandusky – the president will serve another term. Democrats need to spend money electing liberals to the House and Senate. Blue Dogs wag tails for their masters.

    July 14, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. stateschool

    "He was formerly director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush." In other words, he excels at "creative" bookkeeping.

    July 14, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

    Jesus said "let the dead bury the dead."

    July 14, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. B.

    Endless comparisons by these people to European governments is ridiculous. Americans do not believe that nonsense and expect the Republicans to, at some point, describe -Their Plan- with some details as an alternative.
    All that we get is slamming the President about Socialism, and European style government...

    Pathetic!

    July 14, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. enuff

    when did Portman start running for president? I didn't know he had taken Romney's delegates. Santorum is gonna be maaaaddd...

    July 14, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. 2020

    Who is Portman?

    Another Romney's outsourcing?

    July 14, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. Alina1

    It was hard to watch Romney begging Obama to "stop it". Apparently Romney cant handle it. Man up Romneo...

    July 14, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. 2020

    Portman former budget director for Bush.

    Are you kidding? why this man is surfaced again?

    Was he the one ring up 5 Trillian dollar deficit for Bush, or Dick Cheney?

    Do we want to live BUSH 3.0? Really? Are we that stupid?

    July 14, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. 2tor

    Nobody'd been more partisan than Obama, bar none. No-ones cost the American tax payer morem than this President. No-one's lied more than this administration.

    July 14, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |