First on CNN: Portman to play Obama in Romney debate prep
August 27th, 2012
04:09 PM ET
10 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. sayer

    Be careful, Rob, you might start to believe the points you are making against Romney's give the millionaires more tax breaks argument. BTW, Mitt knows absolutely nothing about foreign policy so that part should be a breeze unless it's not a topic for discussion. If the CEO doesn't want to talk about it, everyone falls in line.

    August 27, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. BlkPwr817

    Why dont they just get (SOUTHERN SNOTTIE) to help w/ the debate prep? They both are very misinformed & watch too much FAUX news. GOP is better off letting Palin school Romney for his upcoming demise...LOL

    August 27, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    USS Columbia: Never underestimate the power of HATE. It's lightning quick too.

    August 27, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  4. Sniffit

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

    Oh, come now...everyone has their price.

    August 27, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Tree

    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!
    This is so wrong, how can people be like that. Lower thinkers alway together, mostly poor to middle class whites who does not realize that a Vote for Unfit Mit is a vote against self. The world is changing and let the lower thinkers keep on letting Fox news think for them......they will destroy self.

    August 27, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Sniffit

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

    That doesn't matter. Half the country will be trying to make an objective assessment of the candidates' debate performance and the other half will be drooling into their popcorn and throwing pavlovian celebrations every time Mittens vomits a substanceless focus-group-tested talking point in the form of an ideological platitude or planned "gotcha" one-liner.

    August 27, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Obama will probably warm Mitt Romney up real good like Republicans have never seen and Romney of course will probably lose his chain of thought.

    August 27, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Alina1

    They should choose Michael Steele, he is not only made 2010 is te winning election for the GOP but also smart as snake too.

    August 27, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |

    Sniffit - Obama is a master debater.
    Egads man, it's a joke! Both the sentence AND Obama....

    August 27, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Dan J

    Romney has had a lot of practice recently. He is also a very experienced debater and is a very educated man (moreso than Obama, with TWO advanced harvard degrees). He should handily own Obama in two of the three debates, barring a wildcard from the moderators. The third debate, the town hall style debate, may be a tossup. Romney feels more comfortable in those situations, but Obama seems like he will better connect (although he didn't do such a good job in 2008). I miss Clinton, HE was the best debater in recent history.

    August 27, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. deb0155

    And what kind of foreign policy experience did Obama, the community organizer, have before he became President? Obama never even voted on anything while he was a senator – he vote was only "Present."

    And as far as racial slurs – go back and listen to Obama on the campaign trail – even going so far as to call Bill Clinton a racist in his last campaign.

    August 27, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Bootstomper

    Portman? I guess they just found out captain kangaroo had passed away. The modern GOP looking more and more like SNL.

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

    can't wait to watch the obama meltdown. it's going to come, we've almost seen it, but it will happen and no amount of biased press can cover for what we are about to witness.

    August 27, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. Karma6338

    Bad choice....Portman will not prepare Mitt to debate Obama....

    August 27, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. the Situation

    LOL! Romney is going to get waxed up and down the floor in the 3 debates.

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

    Do you think he'll do it in blackface?

    August 27, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. gg

    When Romney goes up against President Obama with his memorized CliffsNotes version of answers to all possible debate question scenarios, unable to go off script and incapable of thinking quick on his feet, President Obama will take the debate to a whole new level.

    August 27, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. kayla

    come on repugs, you know you can't find anybody that smart to play the prez. lol

    August 27, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. ptny

    Conservatives – Tea Party – Libertarian

    What a mess!

    August 27, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. Gurgyl

    This guy is an idiot.

    August 27, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. Nodack

    Can we all just hate each other a little more? I'm sure it will help things get better. They belong to the other party? Then they must be evil and we should hate them. Really build up that anger towards the other half of the contry. They want to destroy America and kill grandma and lead us ino oblivion. They were all raised like that and even went to special hate America meetings all their lives. Let's get them before they get us. Get mad, get mean, get angry, grrrr.


    August 27, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. Jeb

    Sending in a boy to do a man's job?

    Good luck with that.

    August 27, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. TomGI

    Get Kid Rock to stand in for Obama. He's a pseudo cowboy republican sellout now.

    August 27, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. independent, in Texas

    I can't wait. Obama will rip him apart or should I say "cause him to self distruct"....Obama..2012.

    August 27, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Polls indicate Americans are more interested in the GOP platform. FYI, the GOP platform is unpopular THE RYAN BUDGET, that's why they haven't told you.

    You mean the Republican platform Mitt Romney isn't publicly accepting as his own platform? How ignorant can Republicans be ... either Mitt is one of them, or he isn't. I'd find out before I voted for the guy. Then again, he's proven to be so untrustworthy, maybe Grover Norquist was right. They just need a warm body to sign their decrees - doesn't matter who the person actually is? Kinda like GW was for Dick Cheney ... a push over.

    August 27, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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