July 16th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
10 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. THX1953

    OF COURSE he is making personal attacks!

    He has NOTHING else to run on.

    July 16, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Mike

    Personal attacks? In politics? Oh, my!!!

    July 16, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Greyman

    Because questioning the president's citizenship, religion, family and loyalty to this country was in no way personal. But alas, questioning the business record his opponent has chosen to run on is.

    Bite me, conservatives. Glad to see my fellow liberals aren't taking this double-standard anymore.

    July 16, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. Conservative in SC

    Obama is grasping for air. He is attacking Romney because he just can't talk about his own miserable, pathetic record. Can't wait for November and get this jackleg out of there. Maybe he can get his old job back "community organizer".

    July 16, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. sick of republican phonies

    When you come out against the shameful personal attacks that republicans and their cronies have been spouting non-stop for 3 years, you have the authority to talk and be heard. Otherwise, you're just a partisan lickspittle.

    July 16, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Sagebrush Shorty

    Obama is just another sleazy Chicago politician, no more no less.

    July 16, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Mr. Izz

    I agree with Portman on everything except one thing..... he is correct that people don't really vote for the vice president, BUT people will not vote for the presidential candidate if the VP has a screw loose (example: Sarah Palin).

    July 16, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. If Corporations are People, Who Would Bain Be?

    Since Bain is a corporation and therefore a person, his father is Mitt Romney. Bain Romney kept close ties with his father until he was sold by his father around 2001 or 2002 to his father's associates. Oh, his father still claimed him on paper until then and took a salary from him, but then poor Bain Romney got disowned retroactively backward to 1999.

    At least the dog got to ride on top of the car.

    July 16, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. HowAboutTalkingAboutTheISSUESInsteadOfEachOther

    to MISSISSIPPI = GOP CONTROLLED STATE. I could replace Miississppi and GOP with NY and DEM – dem state, dem county – stupid high taxes, small business & college grads leaving like rats on a sinking ship.

    I really don't care what Mitt did 15 years ago. I want to know what ideas/plans he has for today. From Obama I want to know that he is not going to turn over United States of America to the United Nations and their new buddy Ahmadinejad

    July 16, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. REG in AZ

    Don't render personal attacks against Romney as that isn't fair ... but also don't fault personal attacks against Obama – hmm, that does seem somewhat ridiculous ... yet typically Republican. 'Don't do it to us but don't fault us for doing it to you."

    July 16, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. julius raynor

    Romney for president............Are you Serious!

    July 16, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Alan

    Does not the truth matter. Even dems that are on Obama's camp. staff admit that the truth is not being told by Obama. But hey, that doesn't matter, lets vote for the guy who promises everything and doesn't deliver

    July 16, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    If obama had anything to say about how well he ran the country he'd say it. He's about run the US into the ground. So he attacks Mr. Romny. Good tactic but the people see through it. He is going to lose big time. He, who never held a real job will have to try to f8ind one.

    July 16, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Sue

    I guess in the mind of a republican, "What's good for the goose ISN'T good for the gander"! The republicans started with the denigration and when the Democrats finally decided to strike back, they cry "Foul"! Romney may either win or lose this election, however, if he does win with all of his money and all of his super pacs, he should not take pride in "buying the presidency". If he loses, we can all breathe a sigh of relief! I also must add that CNN has been the place I have always turned for news, but the bias that has become rampant among many of your news hosts has caused me to move on with the exception of the few that still are able to report the news by looking at both sides from an honest perspective.

    July 16, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. Lando

    President Obama should have said....I commend Mitt Romney for his unselfished and dedication in making sure that
    Bain Capital is one of the pioneers of outsourcing American jobs to China and India..and that is great for America....
    It is also with great pleasure to announce that reports indicate that he has extensive bank accounts and investments in
    Cayman Islands, Switzerland and that for is another accomplishment that merits his quest for President of the USA...He is truly a leader and a model that we should emulate. Thank you Mitt.....

    July 16, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Paul

    The reality with the republicans and the hard right wingnuts is that they don't care about Obama's policies, they hate Obama. Many of the bills put forward by the Dems include at least some of the same stuff that has been put forward by the GOP, but now, with Obama's name on it, it's all "killing jobs and making job creators cry and hurting the founding fathers and God." Are republicans unable to feel embarrassment? They downgrade is due to Tea Party BS. Period. Bill after bill has been ignored or filibustered. Any "jobs" bills the GOP puts forward include fast-tracking Keystone or abortion. Unreal.

    July 16, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Blue

    Mitt, the truth hurts. Youa are a liar and you can't lie yousrself out of that. You have gone after this Preident with everyting that you can come up with. But, thank Goodness, Amserica is not bsrain-dead.

    July 16, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Brian in DC

    Obama is a liar and a disgusting excuse for a human being.

    July 16, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. big ben

    And the Swift Boat charges were justified?We dont need a whiner for President especially one whos afraid to disclose his tax returns-whats the big secret??

    July 16, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Lori in CO

    Romney started the attacks during the republican debates and has kept them up at a steady stream ever since! The president has every right to speak the facts and use them against Romney! Romney better toughen up...he's playing with the big boys now and all the money in the world won't make everything go his way! We, the public, are on to Romney...well, most of us anyway, and we know he's lying and covering something up. Ane we don't like it!

    July 16, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. tellin it like it is

    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

    a lot of new normals with obama though, none of them good. over 8% unemployment, fewer workers, record deficits and debt all new normals. even the good months of new jobs aren't enough to make up for the people entering the job market. what the song line?

    We've been down so long
    The end must be . . .
    I know the end must be. . .
    Oh, I know the end must be drawing near
    Oh the end. . .
    Oh the end. . .
    Oh the end. . .

    July 16, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. eric

    Porkman wants to be Mitt, Jr. so he WHINES!

    July 16, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Bob

    Stupid democrats!! You people are always crying about something when you get proven wrong.

    July 16, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Gerry Daley

    This is hilarious. Republicans have been the masters of personal attacks for years...character assassination is what they do best. Lies, innuendo and missatements are their stock and trade.

    July 16, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Lisa P


    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

    The funny thing is, the GOP *also* has get out the vote campaigns, plus a national "news" network devoted to propagating lies and distortions, quite apart from any traction it can get with events, press releases and commercials through the mainstream media. Wondering how that all works? Check out the results of the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall - most of the fools who voted for Walker actually still believe that Walker fixed our budget problems. Why? Because their "friends" in the WI GOP (or their friends' anonymous PAC friends) told them so. Obama can't hold a candle to such extreme lying. He's Little Red Riding Hood by comparison.

    I do agree that our Democracy is being hijacked by uninformed voters, but if you pay the least attention to the matter you would know it sure isn't the Democrats behind the curtain.

    July 16, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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