July 16th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
2 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. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Follow the pape trail back to Romney IRS TAX FORM

    July 16, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. paulcat

    There's only one way to get things back on track like doing the Clinton days, vote all republicans out of congress.

    July 16, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. spynnal

    Voters will not trust you Mitt if you stick to the 2 years of tax returns. Remaining dodgy on Bain will not help either.

    Not saying a single thing done was illegal. But voters are swayed by more than a things legality.

    Man up and put the information out there. You are running for public office. Not accepting another CEO position.

    July 16, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. Cincinnati girl

    Sounds like somebody is mad they were outwitted. Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Mitt Romney put out an ad that spliced a President Obama speech, purposely takig his words out of context? And I'm still waiting for him to repudiate those recent Donald Trump accusations about the President's birth certificate. I guess what is sauce for the goose...

    July 16, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Candy Taylor

    Come on GOP stop your whinning! After 4 years of birth certificates and college transcripts you have some nerve claiming these are "personal" attacks! What would you have done with similar information on Obama? Thank you Mr President for showing what Romney really is!

    July 16, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. mcskadittle

    oh my god Romney is getting scrutinized and called out on things, Mittens you had better manup this ride has just begun

    July 16, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Myviewis

    Obama can't face 3 months of low retail sales, high unemployment, a disastereous economy. Personal attacks is a way to distract voters, a gimmick. Obama is hoping we will all ignore the facts of the bad economical situation he has put our country in, no money in the bank, exhausted savings accounts, families barely getting by, businesses trying to survive. Our country is a mess and Obama won't take responsibility for it, he wants 4 more years of doing what? Storytelling? People need a paycheck, people need money, that is one of the facts Obama is not facing.

    July 16, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. yogi

    Journalist Jonathan Alter said a while ago the Republican party will be the party of the dumb people, he made a mistake, the party IS representing them.
    Also, I think that the term clown car for the Republicans should be bus loads. A long list: Gingrich, Bachman, Perry, Trump, Palin, Santorum, Cain, Pawlenty, Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, the list goes on and on. And Romney? He doesn't fit the qualification of clown, he is too much of an automaton, and a very scary one!

    July 16, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. DAK2742

    Let me just say this about the running mate thing... if Rob Portman is on the ticket, Obama has my vote without a second thought because Rob Portman is a liar and I will NEVER vote for anything that even has his name attached.

    July 16, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "insinuating your opponent committed a felony surely is. this from a very high level obama campaign staffer."

    It's very simple, junior. Either he did lie on those forms and it was a felny to report himself as all those controlling positions of the corporation OR he didn't lie and he was in control of Bain those years. Nobody really believes Mittens lied about it because everyone pretty much accepts that he really was in control of Bain in 1999-2002. He even told the Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission that he was still active in Bain and attended board meetings etc. during those years, because he had to establish enough of a connection to MA to get on the ballot for governor. All we've done is point out that Mittens is being grossly inconsistent and saying whatever is convenient and has flip-flopped himself into a corner. Now choose: was he telling the truth on those forms and to the Ballot Law Commission (i.e., he is lying now) OR did he lie on them (telling the truth now) such that he may have committed a crime?

    CHOOSE.

    July 16, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. d50

    Last Friday Obama said, and I quote " If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." (By the way you won't see this anywhere on CNN / Obama reelection central)

    Would somebody PLEASE give this president a clue; he doesn't have one.

    July 16, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Core republican Values

    Core republican Value #2: When someone with integrity attacks your complete lack of integrity, fight back by lying, making stuff up, and distorting the truth. (Karl Rove)

    July 16, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. David in FL

    Follow the Paper trail back to Fast and Furious, where good people died.

    July 16, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Eddie The Barber

    Practicing for VP – hoping that the boss will give him a nod of approval. Release those tax returns Flipp – what are you hiding? I think we know.

    July 16, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. lindylou123

    As if Romney and the right wing don't make personal attacks on Pres Obama! Give me a break-
    Romney is a DESTROYER of American values- he is anti woman, anti environment, anti education, anti worker,
    ANTI-American really. Portman 'slams' – who cares? He is just another Republican hater who wants to see this nation destroyed

    July 16, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Obama mantra : "tax the rich"

    Hey Mr.Obama,

    after we "tax the rich" , we know that will help run the govt. for one week, what then ??????????????????????

    July 16, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. anoel2005

    Hey Mr.Obama,

    Your mantra is "tax the rich" as if it's the answer to all our problems.
    Since we know that will help run the govt for about one week. ............What then ????????????

    July 16, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Balls McGhee

    Obama's record

    DOW up 50%
    jobs went from losing 700k to gaining 150k per month
    401k plans are up
    inflation is low
    wages have increased since the end of the inherited recession
    4.4 million jobs gained since end of the inherited recession
    gays can serve in the military
    Osama Bin Laden is dead
    Ghadafi is dead (at 1 million times less than the cost of Bush's two wars)
    32 million people now have access to healthcare
    1.3 trillion deficit the day he took office is still 1.3 trillion even though he went through the biggest recession since 1930
    we are way better today than in 2008.

    July 16, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. sarge

    Play with the big boys! Don't go whining back to mommy!

    July 16, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. The Other Dale

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

    July 16, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Expat American

    Republican thugs accusing others of personal attacks = Collaborators complaining about their haircuts.

    July 16, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. Sametestsameresults

    Romney is running on his business experience as a great asset to "fixing America" I think his business past and how he responds to the questions is a legit target. In this case it would seem that Romney was misleading the public about his legal position with Bain from 1999 to 2001. We all understand a CEO, owner and primary stock holder may not be doing all the day to day decision making, still it doesnt mean you "left" the company either. Romney for some reason wants to mislead the public.

    July 16, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Mr. Darryl Miller

    The Senator Portman, his character is becoming very shaddy because he is trying to hiding the fact that he scam. Governor Romney ran the business okedok on the companies buying them borrowing money on those companies name. Pocketing the money they barrow an starting up overseea companies to replace the good and or services once held in the united states and having the monies that come from those overseas replacement companies hidden in foreign accounts to avoid paying taxes on. Any person with an MBA. CPA or any accounting background can look at the bookkeeping and tax records an figure out not only what he did but when he did it.

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

    Lets get real here bubba..Personal attacks?? When mitty slams Obama for 'his' failures and 'his' incompetence..who do you think he is attacking?? Obama...personally!! So when Mittyidiot is charged with falsifying records, contradicting one statement after another,, using double standards for himself and everyone else..guess what..? yeah..it's wrongway wrongmney who needs to come clean. Typical repukeican politician..hits below the belt then cries foul!!

    July 16, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. David

    These posts demonstrate just how blind the American people are! SERIOUSLY?? Portman is saying don't make personal attacks...is that a bad thing? Do you hear the Republican candidate talking about the current president's communist father and leftist, socialist mother?? Do you hear him mention anything about "Mr. Smoke the Ganga" while in college? Do you hear ANYONE speak about how NARCISSISTIC this current president is?? For you libs, how did YOU feel when the president said YOU did NOT make your business...that others did? Today, politics have become nothing more than white collar who have sold their souls. Principles don't exist unless they're party line. Politics have become a joke and it's headed by your candidate that you put there...he's RUINING our country and for those of you that just have to blame Bush? Stop whining and consider what he inherited. It's not about who did what, it's about what can be done!

    July 16, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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