July 16th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Portman slams president for 'personal' attacks

(CNN) – GOP Sen. Rob Portman defended his party's presumptive presidential nominee Monday from President Barack Obama's "personal" attacks, saying the Democrat was focusing on Mitt Romney because his record falls short.

Portman, speaking in Lebanon, Ohio, was holding an event for Romney roughly two hours ahead of Obama's own campaign speech in nearly Cincinnati.

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"The president said back in 2008 when he was running for office complaining about the Republican campaign, he said, 'When you're out of fresh ideas you turn to stale tactics, to attack your opponent because you don't want to talk about your record.' He said that makes big elections about small things. That's exactly what he's doing right now," Portman, who represents Ohio in the Senate, said Monday.

Romney's campaign has decried the negative tone of the presidential campaign in recent days, including running a television advertisement focusing on television pundits who question Obama's "Hope and Change" slogan from 2008.

The spot, which was released Sunday, came after a series of interviews from Romney in which he said attacks coming from Obama's campaign were "disgusting" and "demeaning."

"It's something which I think the president should take responsibility for and stop," Romney told CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta.

Portman said Monday the attacks, which have included calls for Romney to release additional income tax return information, were distracting from a failed record.

"He's attacking Mitt Romney on a personal basis. Why? Because he doesn't want to talk about his record," Portman said.

Later Portman said voters weren't served by the type of attacks coming from Obama's campaign.

"We don't need to keep attacking people for success, we don't need the class warfare rhetoric," Portman said.

Portman is widely speculated to be a potential vice-presidential pick for Mitt Romney. Last week Portman said he met with Romney campaign staffers during three meetings while in Boston to headline a couple of fund-raisers for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

But Portman, a former congressman and cabinet member in the George W. Bush administration, said the meetings were not at the Romney campaign headquarters, and had nothing to do with the vice-presidential vetting process.

On Monday, he refused to speculate on the vice presidential selection process, and wouldn't say whether or not Romney had yet made up his mind on his running mate.

Portman added he thought "people vote for presidential candidate, not the vice president."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Rob Portman
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Sandra

    I find it so hypocritical of anyone with an 'R' behind their name to slam the President for personal attacks. These folks have done NOTHING but personnally and professionally attack the President. By the way, wasn't Romney the one putting out all these attack ads during the primary against the ones running against him????

    July 16, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. nitro

    Since Portman is a part of congress he has no right to talk about no ones record. this has to be the lousiest congress that has ever been assembled and hes talking about the president. Talk about the president not being able to accomplish anthing because we the congress stood in the way so we could make him look like he hasn't done anything so that our nominee can win the white house. Please Mr. Portman stop inbarassing yourself.

    July 16, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. beevee

    Portman is trying to suck upto Romney to get on the VP list, but it is not a personal attack on Romeny by the president or his re-election team, it is a matter of providing the voters about how trustable Romney is. If it is wrong or not true then Romney can sue whoever said it. Otherwise stop whinning or stop doing cry baby tactics and tell the voters the truth.

    July 16, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. JustMe

    Oh puhleeze. And what his man Romney has NEVER issued a personal attack? Give me a break.

    July 16, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Funny all the whining and crying from the party that perfected dirty politics, no apologies for lies, and swift boating.

    July 16, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Savannahjerry

    What a hypocrite, like his boy didn't slam a fellow Republican during the primary.

    July 16, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. lolo

    Portman you better hope he picks you for VP. You will fit right in with Romney' trait of lying through his teeth. I guess by your standards it was okay for the republicans to go after President Obama personally. Remember birth certificate, socialist, toting guns at his speech rallies, threating to kill him, shouting liar in congressional chambers, egging on the tea party extrmist, calling him a monkey just to mname a few. You republicans have real issues and two of them are that you are hypocrits and bald face liars. The real Americans remember and we will not forget come November. Please do not try to suck up now. President Obama was not in office a good week and your party has continued to harass him faithfully from day one. We the people think that the republican party is full of lunatics and we are not letting you take over the country to ruin it just like your predecessors did.

    July 16, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. keeth

    Romney wants to run on his record as a businessman, but he thinks no one should be able to review and comment or criticize his record as a businessman. Funny.

    July 16, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. incredulous

    I haven't heard President Obama or anyone else criticize Romney for being wealthy. I do hear a lot of people these days criticize him for lying and hiding things. Scary that Republicans can't tell the difference.

    July 16, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. David

    What are you trying to hide, Romney???? Show us or go home because the president of the United States needs to be transparent and not the kind that hides behind lawyers. Show or shut up, your choice!!

    July 16, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Sandy

    What a whiner! LOL Just shut it and tell Romney to release his taxes!

    July 16, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. Obama 2012 - MOVE Forward America, NOT another round of DUBYA's FAILURES

    The GOP spends very little time looking in the mirror. Too darn busy whining about the other side. The really sad part is that there are too many people in this country who buy into the right-wing propaganda and CAN influence the election in Nov. Then even sadder part is that the real source of our issues... the very members of Congress who espouse the methods used (and the SCOTUS for making corporations people and allowing Super PAC's) are being ignored. If the current mix remains in Congress, even if Willard does get elected, I can almost GUARANTEE the Dem's will do for the next FOUR years, exactly what the GOBP has done for the last four – block, filibuster and prevent any legislation being enacted. If the GOP wins, the country is doomed !!

    July 16, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. J

    Poor Mitt... his chickens are coming home to roost. And, he has to face the consequences of his mistakes and bad deeds.

    July 16, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. max3333444555

    Ive seen ads from both parties that lie but, so far, obama camps lies have been the worst. easy to debunk them via factcheck. they dont even stay in a grey area anymore. now they outright make stuff up

    July 16, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |

    Asking your opponent to release his taxes is not a personal attack.

    July 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Santorum, Gingrich and Caine couldn't be reached for comments relating to these personal attacks perpetrated by Obama. They were all too busy laughing at Romney

    July 16, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Logic N LA

    This is 2012. The country Obama ran in is not the one he inherited. And, his opposition is not the gentleman McCain was. If the gloves are coming off, so be it. When CEO Romney comes clean, then Portman can whine.

    July 16, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. tellin it like it is

    nitro – Since Portman is a part of congress he has no right to talk about no ones record. this has to be the lousiest congress that has ever been assembled and hes talking about the president. Talk about the president not being able to accomplish anthing because we the congress stood in the way so we could make him look like he hasn't done anything so that our nominee can win the white house.

    since portman is a senator, the do nothing democrat harry reid has kept him from voting on anything
    and doing his job. he's been showing up and trying but when you have an incompetent democrat
    running the show what do you expect?

    >Please Mr. Portman stop inbarassing yourself.

    eeeek.... inbarassing??? you might want to follow your own advice.

    July 16, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Kate

    Typical of a bully. Stand in their face with the truth and they run off crying. So tired of the Bully right. I'll NEVER vote Republican again! They are a lying embarrassement to this country.
    OBAMA 2012!

    July 16, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    More IOKIYAR. Yawn.

    Someone should tattoo the following on Portman's forehead: "Socialist muslim where's the berf surtifikate unAmurikan not one of us death panels college records dogeater!"

    THEN he can cry on my shoulder about personal attacks all he wants.

    July 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Mike

    Since the first week he was in office, all the republicans have done is attack him. They are difining themselves as the party of "Do as we say, not as we do". That's the way it's been for and they continue to live down to that.

    July 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. SugarKube

    It is so embarrassing to have Opie blame everyone but his self for his failures. Now he is telling business owners, that they did not build their business themselves, that they only did it with his government freebies. For a man who never owned a business or held a real job that is a real slap in the face to us business owners who pay our taxes.

    July 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. rs

    I realize that lying is simply the modus operandi for the GOP, and especially since Mr. Obama won in 2008., but is their reality so twisted that they think they have any traction at all calling the Bain questions a "personal attack" while there are still "Birthers" running around claiming Obama's birthplace is in deepest darkest Africa? What about all the heaping abuse (most of it very racist) from the GOP's TEA Party brand? No shame there right?

    July 16, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    "My mother worked in a Union cannery ... the factory worked abotu 3 months out of the year ... she was paid $18 per hour. The reason they worked so little was they could not compete with international canneries. They de-unionized took a $2 per hour pay cut (which was what they paid in union dues) and now they work all year long. Get rid of the unions, it will save jobs."
    Stop and think about that for a second. A cannery means packaging vegetables and fruits. To export such a job overseas is absurd. You would have to package the stuff before you could ship to China so that they can re-can it and ship it back to the US. Think about that for a second. That is a really stupid business model.

    No, what really happened is that the company bamboozled the employees into dropping their own salaries, benefits and the negotiating strength of having a union. The actual salary of an employee amounts to roughly 1/3 the cost to employee that worker. The company just reduced their overall cost to keep employees by 50% or more.

    July 16, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Asking your opponent to release his taxes is not a personal attack."

    Neither is pointing out that his refusal to do so is shady, inexcusable and fails to comport not only with the American public's expectations, but with the standards set by every single other POTUS candidate for the past 50+ years.

    Nor is it a personal attack to point out that Distraction Jackson is a 100% LIAR when he tries to excuse his own failure to release tax returns by referring to John Kerry. Kerry, in FACT, released TWENTY YEARS OF TAX RETURNS when he ran for POTUS and Mittens just keeps on lying about it.

    July 16, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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