Portman: 'I think I'll end up being' in the Senate
August 8th, 2012
08:38 PM ET
11 years ago

Portman: 'I think I'll end up being' in the Senate

Denver (CNN) – Ohio Sen. Rob Portman threw cold water on the idea of becoming Mitt Romney's running mate on Wednesday, saying he thinks he'll "end up staying" in the Senate.

"I just got elected two years ago. I think that's where I'm going to end up staying," Portman said when asked his thoughts about possibly leaving the Senate and becoming vice president.

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"I think it's a very important position right now," Portman continued. The senator reasoned there are pressing issues facing the nation - including the debt, the deficit, developing energy resources and health care issues.

Portman then added: "And right now Congress is paralyzed. And we're really in kind of a partisan gridlock. We need leadership, and that's where I intend to stay. I think I can really help in there."

"That's where I think I'll end up being."

Moments before, the senator used similar words, telling a reporter, "We need Mitt Romney. And I will help him all I can. But I'll probably stay in the United States Senate."

It's unclear if Portman is simply keeping the V.P. guessing game going or providing clues to his future plans. It's also possible the senator is not sure who Romney will pick as his running mate – a process being well guarded by the candidate's campaign.

In May, at a Bloomberg View lunch, Portman also seemed to play down his potential as a vice presidential candidate, saying at the time, "I think I'm better suited to stay where I am in the Senate."

Still, Portman's comments are sure to fuel the vice presidential speculation. He's consistently been atop the V.P. list for many political speculators, and is among Romney's staunchest defenders: attending events on behalf of the former Massachusetts governor and praising Romney in various interviews.

Wednesday was no different. The Ohio Republican held forth at five different Romney campaign events in Colorado. Each time the senator ambled off a Romney campaign bus and excitedly praised the candidate while knocking President Barack Obama.

In one tactical move clearly designed to draw attention, Portman visited Denver's Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High – where then-Sen. Obama accepted his party's Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

With the stadium as a backdrop, the senator mocked the president.

"Where are the Greek columns?" he asked at one point, a reference to the decorative pillars that visually framed Obama during his speech at the 2008 convention. He continued by claiming that the hope and change Obama promised then has not materialized.

Throughout the day's campaign appearances, Portman drew a pointed contrast between Obama, then and now.

Referring to Obama four years ago, Portman said: "[Obama] said…if you don't have fresh ideas he said, you turn to stale tactics and attack your opponent. He said that if you don't have a record to run on, then you make your opponent unacceptable. He said you make a big election about small things."

"That was President Obama four years ago," Portman continued. "Folks, that's exactly what he's doing today in Colorado and in his campaign, negative attack ads, trying to distract people from his record."

Portman also addressed the political topic of the day – an ad from a pro-Obama super PAC that links Romney to the loss of insurance and eventual death of a laid off steel worker's wife.

Obama campaign officials refused to denounce the ad Tuesday and Wednesday, saying the legal separation between campaigns and super PACs meant they had no part in the spot's production.

"I think it's really kind of desperate and frankly kind of pathetic and I also think it's going to backfire on their campaign if they don't come out immediately and say that they reject that ad," Portman said.

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Filed under: 2012 VP Pick • Mitt Romney • Ohio • Rob Portman • Senate Republicans
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. ninevegetable

    "...Unless I get asked to run for VP."

    August 9, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. California Gary

    When people say Ryan is the one that can "fix" the broken government, it takes me back to an old saying during the Viet Nam era. Remember this one? "We must destroy the village in order to save it".........same approach from Ryan......we must destroy the government in order to save it. Didn't make sense then, doesn't make sense now.

    August 9, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    California Gary - we must destroy the government in order to save it.
    Who is talking about destroying any government? Allowing people to make their own choices is not destroying government. Why must I be forced by the government into a bankrupt and corrupt retirement system? This isn't the 1930s anymore. I have better alternatives. Why is my government forcing an inferior retirement system on me?

    I want to OPT OUT and take all my money with me because the government has proven incompetent in managing my funds in what is in MY best interests. Corrupt politicians have raided my "trust fund" and left worthless paper instead. Who do I call to report this heinous crime? Oh yeah, that would be the very same people that stole my money, a SECOND

    August 9, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. California Gary

    They don't want to destroy the government Obama Bend? Oh, that's right.......they just want to shrink it down to where they can fit it inside a milk carton. If everyone were to "opt out" as you suggest, then you would quickly realize how much we all depend on the government to do the things we depend on, but can't do for ourselves. Who is gonna maintain the roads, you? Who is gonna provide police and fire protection, you? Who is gonna educate the children, you? Who is gonna fight our wars, you?

    August 9, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Doug

    Maybe Portman means "Obama's going to win, it really doesn't matter"

    August 9, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. MRW

    He didn't say he wouldn't be the vice-presidential nominee. He said he'd probably wind up staying in the Senate. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    August 9, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Woman In California

    VP speculation
    Bus Tours
    Dancing horse
    Iphone apps
    Spanish speaking commercials by the lazy son

    Who cares about any of these things? Show us the tax returns Willard.

    August 9, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Martin

    Another prominent Republican basically saying "please don't pick me".

    The list of prominent Republicans wanting nothing to do with Mitt Romney's choice as VP has been growing at an alarming rate ever since he essentially clinched the nomination.

    I've never seen a candidate that has had so many people tell them not to pick them as their running mate.

    August 9, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Morgan Hill

    Romney, being such a poor candidate for POTUS needs someone really strong as VP. Romney is not fit to be president. He will need other folks to tell him how to govern. His VP will have to work hard to make up what romney lacks. Romney is so out of touch, he needs a VP that will motivate and inspire voters. Romney is looking to help his white rich friends stock pile more wealth, his VP will need to be more for the middle class. Romney hates the US, he sends his money out of the country to avoid paying his share of taxes, his VP will have to be willing to convince Romneyhood to help the middle class pay less taxes and encourage the white rich guys to pay their fair share. There is so much Romney's VP will have to do cause Romney ain't gonna do it.

    August 9, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Siara

    Isn't Ryan the one who made up that pledge that almost devastated the international marketplace two years ago... the one suggesting that we default on our international debts?

    August 9, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |

    It does not matter. Mitt the twit has cooked his own goose.

    August 9, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Mitt Romney

    Hey, I don't care if I have a VP or not, since I'm not going to win anyway. Just get Palin back, she's good for a few laughs and some late-night stress relief, if you know what I mean.

    August 9, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |

    Nobody cares. Mitt the twit is toast if he contnues to stonewall on those tax returns. Snooki Palin will leap for his juglar in Tampa.

    August 9, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Carl Guyer

    It is going to be a riot to see everyone jockeying for position as the potential nominee in 2016 for the Republican party. Mitt's nomination is a formality, but a futile effort for the Republican party. Now Mitt is playing the religion card, is he desperate or just plain incompetent, I am very interested to see if they allow George Bush to attend the convention, or let McCain speak or even let Palin in the door. I can't wait to see what happens.

    August 9, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. UR Naive

    Good luck folks keeping your jobs, homes, let alone, any decent healthcare 'choices' if POTUS is reelected. Educate yourselves and realize what a cesspool that our country has become. When a POTUS cannot run on his record, and can only throw stones at an opponent. Why is it that nobody says what a great job Obama has done?

    August 9, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Carl Gayer

    Romney is not a messiah, but only change will help our country at this point. Our president hasnt done any positive change for anybody now, other than his buds at GE. Talk about moving jobs overseas, and not paying any US corporate taxes GE is it, and they're Obama's number one fan.

    August 9, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  17. Junebug

    I like Obama. He's fun, smiles alot, and speaks so eloquently. It's a shame not everybody can be like him. Thank goodness I don't have to worry about maintaining a home anymore, now that I lost mine under this administrations failed policies. At least I know that I can look forward to being eligible for welfare if he wins. Whoopee!

    August 9, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. Siara

    Every time a decent Republican announces that he will not be running with Romney, I am releived.

    August 9, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. cleareye1

    Portman may be the only hoper that Romney has of saving his rapidly sinking ship. The Republicans must find a non- radical conservative to give some credence to their ticket. Mr "I'm to rich to pay taxes" Romney is not likable by the people. I'm sure his family and friends think he's just swell, but the rest of us smell a rat. Even his fellow Mormons don't hink much of him.

    August 9, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  20. Evil Hollywood Liberal

    NO Republican governor, senator, etc. who wants to have a future career in politics, wants in on this ticket. it will be a career-ender.

    August 9, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  21. AllrightyThen

    California Gary – "SPOT-ON" dude!

    August 9, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  22. AZ Editor

    Face it... there are no great GOP VP candidates!!!

    August 9, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  23. jess Santos

    I think the VP list is down to four people. McDonnell, Pawlenty, Rubio and Ryan. In that order. One of these great Conservative Republicans will be the next VP of the United States of America. Count on it.

    August 10, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  24. GH

    John Kasich could be a stronger possibility than this guy. Kasich has experience at a federal level, has a strong economic record and was recently elected governor by a swing-state (in which he is quite popular). Why his name hasn't been mentioned more often by the media is beyond me...

    August 10, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
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