First on CNN: Portman to play Obama in Romney debate prep
August 27th, 2012
04:09 PM ET
2 years ago

First on CNN: Portman to play Obama in Romney debate prep

Tampa, Florida (CNN) – Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has agreed to play the role of President Obama in debate prep sessions with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, two GOP sources tell CNN.

Portman, one of the Romney campaign's leading surrogates on the campaign trail and fundraising circuit, was approached by the campaign about the role earlier this summer and is being provided with briefing materials by top aides in Boston, one of the Republican sources told CNN.

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Their first debate prep session is expected to happen in the coming weeks.

Portman was considered a leading contender to be Romney's running mate before Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was tapped for the role.

He is the chairman of Romney's campaign in Ohio, a crucial battleground state, and has raised more than $1 million for the campaign in the state.

In past election cycles, Portman has specialized in playing the Democratic foils to GOP candidates in debate study sessions. He assumed the role of President Obama during John McCain's 2008 debate prep.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is playing the role of Romney in Obama's debate sessions.


Filed under: 2012 • Rob Portman
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. SOUTHERN SNOTTIE

    But he's not clueless enough. I don't think he can fake it. Is he well schooled in the art of class warfare and lies?

    August 27, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So when Willard gets upset because his debate "partner" is smarter than he could ever pretend to be, will they fire Portman and hire someone like Rick Perry?

    August 27, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    @SOUTHERN SNOTTIE
    But he's not clueless enough. I don't think he can fake it. Is he well schooled in the art of class warfare and lies?

    August 27, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
    **********************************************************************************************************************************

    Got tired of being "Democrat Class Warfare..." "Obama 2012–Bend America" "Truth and nothing but the Truth..."? You' are easily recognizable even if you change your user name. You're a troll. Nothing but. Get a life.

    August 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. WILLARD MILTON ROMNEY IS A COWARD & TAX EVADER

    Bush's former director debating against some of "HIS" very own policies. Wish I could be a fly on a wall for that one.

    August 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. DumbasRocks [R]s

    When I read the headline, I thought they meant Natelie Portman, the actress. She is somebody Mittens **might** be able to handle in a political debate. I thought by using her, his handlers were trying to show him what it was like to win a debate - something he will not experience when he faces Obama.

    I think when you bring 'snot' into a debate, you know full well you've already lost.

    August 27, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Pete

    Southern Snottie,the problem is wether you like it or not you don't have a candidate as intelligent and smart witted as Pres.Obama,you know it but as ignorent as you,others are,you're in denile and hoping for the best..See if he's as smart as in his primary debates,those were priceless,if he even shows up!!No cherry picking questions either republicans,they're from liberal moderators,good luck!!!

    August 27, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. kel

    Mittens–show your tax returns. He's hiding something and eventually, it'll come out.

    August 27, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. kel

    I'm looking forward to the debate. Mittens, what is your plan for this country? Cutting taxes does not create jobs, it creates debt (ask Bush).

    August 27, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. DumbasRocks [R]s

    "Bush's former director debating against some of "HIS" very own policies. Wish I could be a fly on a wall for that one."

    Very good point. How will they tell who made the good points, and who made the bad points, concerning the GOP policy diarrhea that they'll be smelling in the practice-debate room.

    August 27, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Fareed

    Shut Down the RNC convention.

    1.) The weather might cause a cancellation anyway.
    2.) Some of the 50,000 RNC conventioneers can then fill sand bags, and perform civil service, that would be a support, also needed PR for the GOP that has lost its' human face.
    3.) Local areas will certainly sustain serious damage and possible death.
    4.) Local areas will have homes and buildings with "blue Plastic tarps" on what is left of their roofs.
    5.) There will be lines of Floridians requiring shelters, water, and basic survival needs.
    6.) This would not be a good contrast with the convention in full celebratory mode, while Floridians are suffering in state of emergency.
    7.) The message would be loud and clear, that the GOP put people first, even though “people are corporations my friend.”
    8.) Isaac could be a Blessing, or a continued curse to the GOP. The choice is clear for those who have eyes to see.
    9.) Isaac like all other obstacles is an opportunity for Americans to stand up, and be counted, and come to the aid of their countrymen.
    10.)  Those in the know have begun evacuation in the Florida Panhandle, Mississippi and Louisiana.
    11.)  Mitt The Twitt and Lying Ryan to report for duty in Tampa immediately.

    August 27, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Doug

    Portman needs to perfect maligning everyone but himself and acting as arrogant as possible. That would be the perfect Obama.

    August 27, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Bill from GA

    To DumbasRocks [R]s:
    Natelie Portman is one of the smartest people in movies, and smarter than almost any repug politician, finishing Harvard in less than 4 years while making major movies during the summer.

    August 27, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. NC

    @SOUTHERN HOTTIE: Thank you very much for calling the troll out.

    August 27, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Makes sense. Portman is also smarter than Mittens, so it'll give Mittens good practice having to talk up at someone instead of talking down like he does to the entire country.

    August 27, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. SOUTHERN SNOTTIE

    Pete - the problem is wether you like it or not you don't have a candidate as intelligent and smart witted as Pres.Obama,
    ======================================================================================
    If he's that intelligent, how come he hasn't figured out the economy and jobs problem in 4 years? And "smart witted"??? Last I knew we were looking for a President, not a comedian.

    you're in denile and hoping for the best..
    ==============================
    If I was in it, which I'm not, it would be denial, not denile.

    No cherry picking questions either republicans,they're from liberal moderators,good luck!!!
    =================================================================
    Yeah, they definitely stacked the deck with all liberal moderators for sure. Hopefully Romney will get some lessons from Gingrich on how to handle them. I'm sure Romney and Ryan will come loaded for bear. They are used to it.

    August 27, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    These characters don't even slightly have the intelligence of the current president so I find it laughable.

    August 27, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. v_mag

    Here is the debate question no moderator will ask:

    "Gov. Romney, how do your policies differ from President George W. Bush's?"

    It won't be asked because there is no way for him to answer it. If he distances himself from Bush, he alienates his base. If he embraces Bush, he alienates the rest of the country and proves that he represents a third term for Bush, and consequent disaster. If he tries to waffle (which he naturally would), he shows how weak and vacillating he is.

    August 27, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Luke Brown

    Guess they couldn't find a black guy in the GOP.

    August 27, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. SOUTHERN SNOTTIE

    The Republicans are going to have a REAL problem getting somebody to play Joe Biden for Paul Ryan. Finding somebody as senile and whacky is going to take some work. Maybe Jimmy Carter is available?

    August 27, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. drake mallard

    “we have a national debt that’s out of control, they send us to wars we shouldn’t be fighting in.

    Don't forget, on December 20, 2011, Mitt Romney told Bill O'Reilly that America should prepare for a war with Iran

    He won't be sending his 5 sons to iran.

    War on the middle class, women, ractist, other countries. We need to reject this
    candidate and vote for a much more sane foreign and domestic policy.

    August 27, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. USS Columbia

    Wow. Just came from Fox news forum. Got 23 likes in 3 minutes for calling Mrs. Obama a racial slur. 23 in 3 minutes!

    August 27, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Gonzoinhouston

    Should have asked Huntsman.

    August 27, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Tree

    Really, Bush right hand....what a joke.

    August 27, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Wow. Just came from Fox news forum. Got 23 likes in 3 minutes for calling Mrs. Obama a racial slur. 23 in 3 minutes!"

    I bet you can do better than that if you throw in something about Muslims too.

    August 27, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. us_1776

    GOP staying with the guy who did a lousy job last time.

    Obama is a master debater. There is no one in the GOP who is anywhere near his level.

    .

    August 27, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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