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. tellin it like it is

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

    insinuating your opponent committed a felony surely is. this from a very high level obama campaign staffer.
    btw, when is obama going to release his academic records and fats and furious documents? it has been over 4 years, isn't that long enough to wait? what is he hiding? that he flunked economics 101?

    July 16, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  2. livingston

    It is very telling that he refers to the questions that the President is bringing to light as "small things".It is pretty standard to try to dismiss the things that you have no defense for. Hiding tax returns, because that is what he is doing, is rather suspect. If he showed them to McCain then why not us? But then he saw them and picked Palin without even vetting her. Did he sign the forms stating that he was in charge of Bain? Then he was still legally in charge of the company. That means he shipped the jobs overseas. And that is just 2 of the questions he hasn't answered. Stop whining Romney and step up to the plate and answer the questions. If you aren't willing to be honest with us then you aren't capable of being President.

    July 16, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. California Gary

    Portman is not the guy to make this argument.......didn't he work for Bush? How are these attacks on Romney's business experience any different from the attacks the Bush people made on Kerry's military service in 2004? I guess when the "swiftboat" turns and points at your party, then swiftboating becomes unfair.

    July 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. 4merRepubCT

    The VOTERS [including this Independent] are asking to see Romney's tax returns. We will be the judge of what is, or is not, important to us.

    Regarding Bain:

    Romney was owner/Ceo of Bain after 1999.

    Romney asserts he has no responsibility for actions taken by company that he owned after 1999.

    Really??? When did "I wasn't paying attention" become a viable defense? Are we to believe that the owner/CEO wasn't even copied in on corporate communications or reports?

    July 16, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    These guys are unreal. This is exactly what they try to pull every time. It's like two people in a duel, and the GOP/Teatrolls got off the first shot, but missed, so they start blubbering that the other guy shouldn't shoot, throw their gun down and say "you wouldn't shoot an unarmed man, would you? Now you're just being unreasonable and unfair!"

    July 16, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Wake up people

    Sit down and shut up you creepy, walking corpse. Mittens and the GOP/baggers have been in overtime telling blatant lies about President Obama. Mittens himself, stood next to Chump while he blasted President Obama about a lousy birth certificate, but never once have we heard President Obama whine because they are picking on him. Man up Mittens, being POTUS is a hard job, it's not as easy as being an elitist bully.

    This empty suit bully is pathetic and the only reason he is even on the ticket is the others were even worse than he is, and he is the right complexion.

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 16, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. Dave Jaipersaud

    Crybabies. These idiots can't take a little criticism/truth about the effects of their policies while they were running the White House. These are the exact same policies that they want to reinstate. Cut taxes for the rich and get rid of regulations and everything will be magically transformed for the better. I guess the great recession was some magic. This brings to mind the phrase "The Truth Hurts".

    We don't need crybabies running this country. What are that going to do when Russia, China, Iran, North Korea... criticize them. Oh! I know, they will run screaming and crying to their mommies. America does not need a weakling like Romney as President.

    July 16, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. 1crusader

    Romney needs to take his own advice that he gave to his primary opponents when he ( Romney) attacked them:, and they complained :"Stop whining.".The economy is the main issue, but it isn't the ONLY issue.Policies matter, and character matters.How you got to where you are, and who may have gotten harmed in the process are important.They give us a good idea of how you would govern.

    July 16, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Kenny K


    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
    Be specific. All we citizens want from Romney is to get his story straight on whether he was in charge of Bain through 2002 when he signed all those SEC filings or not. Is that too much to ask for when Bain is the experience he put on his resume? Will you hire somebody without verifing the content of his/her resume?

    July 16, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. judy

    gee I guess when the repos do it it is ok. Sure can't take the heat can they? President just repeating what the news has dug up on romney. If the truth hurts oh well. Obama 2012

    July 16, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. anthony78

    What is so personal about President Obama's attacks?
    If Mitt wants to run on his record at Bain, then he better be willing to own all of it, not just the highlights.
    If outsourcing jobs, making a 100k a year to do nothing, and investing in companies to remove abortion fetus falls under the Bain umbrella too, then guess what Mitt.. its YOURS.

    Isn't it hypocritical how Romney wants an apology from Obama and holds him responsible for something one of his staffers said....
    yet, Romney wants us to believe he has no responsibility in the actions of a company he was the CEO and sole stock holder in...

    I'm glad this guy is getting exposed left and right. YOU signed the SEC papers Mitt.. its not a lie.. or an attack. Its there in ink. So either you lied to the people or your lied to the SEC.
    Which is it?

    Obama 2012.
    Because America's middle class won't survive another Republican in the White House.

    July 16, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Birther?

    Wait wait wait Mr. Portman.. 3.5 YEARS of hearing The Donald & Crazies scream "Show us your Birth Certificate!"... now we're saying "show us your tax returns" and it's a personal attack? I'd rather be attacked for being rich than be called a non-American...

    July 16, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. anotherGDlefty

    What a bunch of whiners.
    Personal attacks like saying Mitt is from Kenya, Mitts a commie, Mitts a socialist, Mitts bent on destroying America, Mitts wife is an ape or Chewbacca?
    Those kind of personal attacks?

    The personal BS is coming from your side Mr. Portman.

    Why aren't you at work today blocking something the president is proposing to help the economy?

    July 16, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. ghostriter

    And i liked portman.....

    When a person uses his very public ceo profile as on his resume, he should expect it to be questioned. He isn't being attacked....well, not on this front. He is doing this to himself. He could answer questions, but he chooses not to.

    Trust me, the questions won't get any easier. Ask palin.

    July 16, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. cinci

    I am from this area and i can tell you that it is becoming ridiculous how these GOP people are
    trying to bully this area into "staying republican". I find Portman lately like many of them–without
    substance or solutions and this is one cinci area voter who will absolutely not be voting GOP.
    It's pretty sad when they begin to shadow wherever the president is and have a press conference
    the same day. Some of us really can think for ourselves!

    July 16, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Maxx

    Get the VP nod Portman and you'll get to experience these personal attacks yourself. It's called politics and the republicans perfected it What's good for the goose is good for the gander as Mitt likes to say. Remember that nice, clean, positive primary campaign that Mitt ran? Neither do I. Stop whining.

    July 16, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. kayla

    if the shoe fit , WEAR IT.

    July 16, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Dave

    Obama is the outsourcer in chief:

    Once again to cover his own fail policies he is trying to make Romney look bad. I guess he has repeated it so much he believes his own propoganda. A little research found a lot of interesting articles on our Out Sourcer in Chief, Obama.

    After receiving a $500 million stimulus loan guarantee, Fisker Automotive is producing their $100,000 luxury electric sports car in Finland. (“Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars in Finland,” ABC News, 10/20/11)

    Nearly Half of President Obama’s $2.4 billion devoted to advanced vehicle batteries went to foreign companies in places like Russia, China, South Korea and France. (“Obama Sends Stimulus Aid to Foreign Firms,” Washington Times, 8/6/09)

    Sempra Energy was awarded a $337-million loan guarantee to supply panels for a solar power plant in Arizona. However, the company purchased its solar panels from the Chinese solar giant Suntech. (“Sempra Gets $337 Million Guarantee for Arizona Solar Project,” Bloomberg News, 9/28/11)

    Two South Korean companies – LG Chem and Dow Kokam – were given $303 million to produce car batteries in the U.S., but then brought in foreign workers. Local unions have criticized the company for filling jobs with foreign workers. (“Unions Say Foreign Workers Taking Stimulus Jobs,” CBS News, 4/13/12)

    “An April 2010 study by the Energy Department found that 60 percent of the 40 largest wind farms then financed by the stimulus relied on foreign manufacturers for their central components, including turbines.” (“Obama’s Record on Outsourcing Draws Criticism from the Left,” The Washington Post, 7/9/12)

    California-based Tezo Systems lost its bid for a ‘stimulus’-funded grant to install television monitors on California buses to a New Zealand company. (“Santa Clarita Rejects Protest, New Zealand Company Keeps Stimulus Contract,” NBC4 Los Angeles, 5/16/12)

    A federal investigation found that “at least $7 million in federal stimulus money intended to provide jobs to unemployed Oregonians instead paid wages to 254 foreign workers.” (“Federal Stimulus Money for Oregon Jobs Hired Foreign Workers,” The Oregonian, 10/20/12)

    July 16, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. B

    If Romney wants the job of Potus, then America has the right to vet his entire background and check all references the same a hiring manger checks a job applicant's references before making a job offer. This ensures that the best qualified person is hired for the job. And, so far Romney is failing the interview process by refusing to be open and honest about his past.

    July 16, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Take a lesson from your dad Mittens. Presidents release this information, stop citing John Kerry's wife (who wasn't running for office) as an excuse. You either are getting money back, were still getting money from Bain, have ridiculous off shore investments, made a mint during the recession...

    Or there is nothing wrong in your tax returns. It's all the former, non of the latter until you come forward, because what can anyone else really think?

    July 16, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. Dan5404

    What Portman says means nothing to anyone except those already singing in the right-wing choir.

    July 16, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    All of these Karl Rove School of Personal Destruction Grads. that are Shocked, Shocked, that the other side is playing hard ball politics. You can always tell a bully, they always holler when some one hits back.

    July 16, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Deb

    These Republicans have some nerve. So it's okay to call Obama everything in the book, clamour for 3 years to see his birth certificate, yammer about what grades he got at Harvard, but ask to see the millionaires tax returns and thats a sacriledge. We all need to know why it's okay for the rich to keep their money in other countries in order to evade paying taxes to the country that enabled them to get so wealthy. And I certainly don't want a tax evader as a president.

    July 16, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. mhill68123

    When you can't run on your record, make up lies about your opponent.
    Don't confuse failure as a president with success as a businessman.

    July 16, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. spynnal

    Release a decade of tax records and discuss Bain Mr Romney. Anything short will lose you voters. It's not going away with sidetrack stories.

    July 16, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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