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. Jim

    So, it's OK to make personal attacks against President Obama (Not a Natural Born Citizen, He's a terrorist, etc) but it's not OK for the President to fight back??? Get over yourself, you jackwagon.

    July 16, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Harriet Miller

    I was watching your news show at 3:00 today. I use to watch all the time, but stopped because your anchors are so busy spinning the views, I could not get the actual news. I Like to make my own decisions based on facts, as most Americans do. Anyway, today the anchor made it sound as if Democrats started the personal attacks in the political ads. That is not true. You need to go back to the beginning, even before Romney got the nomination, and you will see they started personal attacks first. In fact, President Obama is just now to fight back. And fight back he should. If you have a personal agenda, you should disclose that before giving your version of the news.

    July 16, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. simp

    Your darn right President Obama is slamming romney, romney is a liar and you and your republican morons know it. romney and his loser friends want to make the President sound like he going personal on romney, well it is what it is. romney is hiding something and he needs to come clean

    July 16, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Brian

    They aren't personal attacks, they're substantive. Romney owned Bain and was therefore responsible for its actions. It seems that Romney has an awfully thin skin for a guy who wants to be President.

    July 16, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Mack

    How dare you point out that my slimy friend is slimy!

    July 16, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Frankie

    Romney sure can dish it out, but can't take it. This is precisely what Romney did to Gingrich and Santorum in the primaries, now that someonecan afford to do the same to him, he is whining.

    July 16, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Patrick from Minnesota

    Oh look! Mitt's got a lapdog now! I wonder if Mitt will make hime ride on the roof of the bus...

    July 16, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Corporations are People, My Friend

    The Republicans think talking about Bain is a personal attack because they think corporations are people.

    Get over it, thugs, you invented personal attacks.

    It was bad enough having to listen to Romney whine, now we have to listen to the chorus whine in his place. If you want a better use of your time and hot air, I suggest you use all that energy to get Romney to release his tax returns. The longer he waits, the guiltier he looks, and all the whining in the world will not make the real issue of avoiding disclosure go away. This is game of whining and playing shoot the messenger is losing for you, really, really bad.

    July 16, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC


    Obama can't face 3 months of low retail sales, high unemployment, a disastereous economy
    We have seen this same dip over the same 3 months in 2009, 2010, 2011, and now 2012. It appears to be the new normal. Our economy walks with a definite limp during the late spring and early summer months.

    July 16, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. carrotroot

    Romney is a liar ... nothing more to say.

    July 16, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |

    Wow. The unhinged GOBP who swiftboated Herb Cain with the blondes are squealing like stuck pigs. Priceless.

    July 16, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. once upon a horse

    I am guessing this guy has been living in a cave the past four years when it comes to personal attacks. Heck Sarah Palin herself even attacked Michelle Obama over wanting kids to eat healthy. Oh and what about the famous "WHAT A SNOB"" comment by Rick Santorum? People in glass houses should NEVER throw stones.

    July 16, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. JB

    The Obama re-election campaign reflects the lowest that democracy can go: (1) fill the air with a huge amount of distracting, negative, sound-bite chatter, and (2) get-out-the vote of uninformed people. The only way Democracy can really be hijacked is to encourage masses of uninformed people to make an uninformed choice.

    July 16, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. Dan McDonald

    Interesting story. I would like to hear about how a governor has vetoed over 750 bills and is running for Presidet yet you never talk about him. He is on the ballet in all 50 states and you never do any stories about him. Have you got a news blackout going against him? He is Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. I voted for him twice. He balanced the state's budget. I will vote for him in Nov.

    July 16, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |

    Mississippi is the POOREST state in the United States. It's been under complete and utter REPUBLICAN CONTROL for decades. All of the other GOP controlled states are also in economic difficulties – SO MUCH SO – that they regularly have to be bailed out by the BLUE states.

    IF – as they claim – Republicans are such economic geniuses with all the answers to fix America's economy – why can't they fix even ONE of their states? EVEN ONE?

    But no – they're failures. The mind-boggling thing is – why the hell don't democrats hit you Republicans over the head with these FACTS over and over and over again until you all shut up and go away?

    July 16, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. JC in Western U.S.

    So I guess pictures of Obama as a witch doctor with a bone in his nose weren't personal attacks?
    The accusations that he wasn't an American citizen weren't personal attacks?
    The GOP has been attacking Obama personally, as a human being and as an American citizen since Day 1 of his administration.

    The difference is that Obama has not supported people parading around the National Mall with offensive pictures of a half naked Romney. He has not questioned Romney's citizenship, nor has he stood by, stupidly grinning while others did. (I"m referring to Romney standing by Trump).

    What the GOP did was personal. This is fair game. Your tax returns are part of what you disclose so that the American people don't have questions about your personal finances before they put you in charge of the nation's.

    July 16, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. Katie

    Wow. Just wow. The GOP can say anything they want about President Obama and show him all kinds of disrespect, but he's supposed to play nice? Yet another example of hypocrisy from the Republicans.

    July 16, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Orwell sees it, again & again

    Portman, show your birth and dental records before opening your crooked republican mouth.

    July 16, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Wake up people

    So it was all good when the flip flopping liar was skewering Santorum and ole Newtster, but now the shoe is on the other foot it's unfair?? GMAB. Just show us the tax papers Robmey. If President Obama can show his certificate of birth, you should show the tax papers.

    What was that quote ole Mittens said a while ago?? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 16, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. dd

    the thugs in suits are at it again.....

    July 16, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. scmaize

    Do Romney, Portman and others say these things with a straight face? Why can they tell lies about Obama and his record, but any criticism of Romney by Obama or his supporters is suddenly outrageous and reprehensible? Let them clean up their own act, and then Obama can put on kid gloves.

    July 16, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Mack

    Ok I get it now...no one is allowed to question his political experience(Romneycare) and no one is allowed to question his business/outsourcing credentials(Bain). Are we allowed to talk about how he saved the Olympics...with taxpayer money? Or can we talk about how he patriotically invested in America by offshoring his "job creator" tax cut money?

    July 16, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Nodack

    Hey Obama, no personal attacks. Those are only to be used by Republicans.

    July 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Captain Real

    Corporations are people my friend! And they have feelings.

    July 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Captain Real

    Hey, hey, how many jobs did you outsource today?

    July 16, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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