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. Bill T

    Both the candidates are bought and paid for long before we see their happy little faces. To say one is more in league with the moneyed elite than the other is to not understand the game. Look to see who puts gold in the pockets of the President versus the Gov. The folks on list for both candidates all belong to the same country clubs, dine at the same restaurants, and vacation in the same gated communities.

    In addition, the last 4 presidents have all come from Ivy League schools. Sadly, in their time in the hallowed halls of education, they never learned to say no to a person with deep pockets.

    We do always seem to end up with the best educated prostitute money can buy as president. So we have that going for us.

    By the by, I watch BBC news, not FOX, CNN or any of the other claptrap news organizations now functioning in the U.S.

    August 27, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. Fed Up

    In the 2008 presidential debates, Obama was asked yes or no questions, and he rambled on and on and then had to be reminded that the question was not a discussion question, it was just yes or no, and he still had trouble answering it. From what I've seen on Romney, he's not any better. These 2 love to hear themselves talk, and talk, and talk.

    August 27, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. petena

    OBAMA will take the mittens of Mitt.

    August 27, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. kddie

    So is "prepping" Romney the same as with Palin "memorize" the don't have to know or understand foreign policy or anything else – simply memorize the script and stick to it!

    August 27, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Why not use Morning Joe , he's arrogant enough to act like an idiot .

    August 27, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  6. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX


    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 |


    You know what I find IRONIC about people using the 'community organizer' line as some kind of jab at President Obama ?

    These are probably the same individuals who look down on people who have less, are probably not from 'money' or usually viewed as those of no value in our society.

    They're probably the same individuals who say certain people should get up and change their situation. Yet would probably NEVER dare to frequent a lower income area in their city and try to do make a difference.

    Yet are too dense to realize getting involved in a community is a geeat way to change that communities plight. Voting is one way. Because you can vote for your interests to help change your situation. Helping organize back to work and jobs programs are another way as well.

    I find it annoying to see people throw that 'community organizer' line around, yet look down theior nose while doing it.

    So why not ,right ? Why not mock the president for going to a lower income community to help people learn how to vote, create back to work and jobs programs right ?

    Because I'm guessing that most who do it, will not be found in a low-income area trying to assist the poor.

    But they'll turn around and say how much of a loving and christian conservative they are.

    Uh huh. Ok.

    August 27, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. ptny

    Morning Joe was great this morning!

    August 27, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  8. Jackson

    Just remember to ask Mitt one question:

    When running for the Senate in 1994, he demanded his opponent release his tax returns, saying "the public has a right to know".

    When running for Governor in 2002, he demanded that, not only should his opponent release her tax returns, but, since she and her husband filed separately, that her husband should relase his as well.

    So, why does Mitt find it so important that his opponents (and their spouses) have to release their tax records, but that he doesn't? Does he believe one set of rules should apply to everyone else, and a different set of rules should apply to him?

    Oh, guess that is two questions. But both really do need to be answered.

    August 27, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. CBR

    What Mr. Romney said or did years ago does not matter. He has changed his views or so he says. The tax returns will show his off-shore and Swiss accounts which means that he has decided not to reinvest that money in American

    The debates are shows. They came into being during the Nixon/Kennedy campaign. They have never been that informative. Their "handler" are standing by to explain the candidates answers.

    More could have and should have been done in the last four years. However, the Republicans were so angry that Mr. Obama won that they decided they would nothing to help him get re-elected. They sat on their hands and did nothing. They wasted taxpayer money.. The should have gone home and saved the country hundreds of millions of dollars. They should have budgeted for the was. They needed to help with the rewriting of healthcare policy. The needed to work with the President on a jobs. bill. How many can prove they did so?

    August 27, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. nkd

    How is it you think NO oboma supporters will address the FACT that he has a brother living in the slums and he does NOTHING to help him?? Yet you think he really cares about the ( less fortunate ) in the USA ?? Wow and yor are so indignant when someone says that about him. Its really sad that so many of you are so blind

    August 27, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. jaimie

    Romney to Obama : "Here is a list of questions I , Mitt Romney will not answer during the debate" #1. How did you make your money in off shore business and how did you not pay USA tax on that money? #2. Why have you not produced the tax documents your peers and constituents have repeatedly requested over and over? #3. Do you have something to hide? #4 Do you know all americans know you are hiding something? #5. Do you know you do not have the honesty and integrity to be the President of the United States of America?

    August 27, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  12. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    First and foremost, why are the polls so close? Aren't Mitt Romney supposed to be leading by twenty points by now? So why are the polls so close? According to the rightwingers, isn't Presdient Obama the worst thing to ever happened to America and the world? So why is the black man you people hate so much still the President of the United States? And why isn't Romney not ahead in all 50 states yet? Wasn't Presdient Obama supposed to be impeached for passing a stimulus bill to stabilize the economy and aid the millions of unemployed with unemployment benefits so they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their family's heads while they look for work? Wasn't he supposed to be impeached for rescuing our auto industry and passing a jobs bill to save millions of American jobs and put people back to work? Wasn't Presdient Obama supposed to be impeached for passing the ACA to make healthcare more affordable for all our people? Wasn't he supposed to be impeached for passing financial reform to safeguard against another economic crisis? Wasn't Presdient Obama supposed to be impeached for ending the illegitimate Iraqi war and saving trillions of dollars and protecting the lives of our troops? Wasn't President Obama supposed to be impeached for restoring our image worldwide? Wasn't Presdient Obama supposed to be impeached for sending in our Navy Seals to get OBL? Wasn't Presdient Obama supposed to be impeached for not demanding an apology from all those who has disrespected him and his family and called them all sorts of hateful and degrading names for four years? So why isn't Mitt Romney, the greatest thing to ever happened to America not yet leading by twenty points in the polls? Heaven help the black man and black woman in this place called the United States of America.

    August 27, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  13. Larry L

    Will he ask Mitt why he flip-flopped on every issue? Will he ask how he became a pro-choice/pro-life candidate? Will he ask him why he now hates the very healthcare plan he invented and bragged about for years? Will he ask Mitt to explain "self-deportation" – which started as a joke from a political comedian? Will he ask him how he plans to pay for ANY of his promises – low taxes, reduced deficit, huge defense budget, terrific healthcare... but no bill payer? Will he use magic from the Planet Kolob?

    August 27, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. GuyinVA

    Hey Southern Snottie, Pete is right. The president is just too smart. Once YOU have visited all 57 states, then you can talk.

    August 27, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  15. Certainly Not News

    Paul Rayn said that “the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life”. Why is this not in the news?

    August 27, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. Veteran For Obama

    What in the world can Anyone do to "prep" Willard M. Romney for a "debate" with someone who's 100 times smarter and a 1,000 times more articulate than him?? Answer: Nothing. It should be quite the show.

    August 27, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  17. lies from the left but mostly hate

    I just feel bad for Portman. His arguements will go along the line of " know... Well i'm a good president because republicans are racist and hate women and I won't list any good examples! Ha ha! I'm smart!

    August 27, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  18. ᾨ CHE ᾨ

    The Black Messiah WINS hands down.

    Pres, Obama 2012!

    GOP eat your hearts OUT and enjoy the RIDE!


    August 27, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |

    Yawn. Obama will win. You read it here first.

    August 27, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  20. works4me

    IF the Republicans had been part of TEAM USA instead of "making sure President Obama is a one term President", IF they had been for the people and not heavily just for the Party and IF they weren't sooo angry that, dare I say it, a black man may actually help this Country after the pile of crap that Bush left on the carpet of the White House we would be a lot better off than we are now.
    We're starting to move ahead in the economy and the spirit despite these GOP slugs standing on his nuts at every turn he was trying to make. All the GOP really cares about is for the Party. Team GOP is their way.They really don't give a damn about for the PEOPLE! It's crystal clear they don't want a Team USA.

    President Obama, AGAIN 2012

    August 27, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  21. sjlucas

    I wonder if Gov. "I'm not a racist" Romney will ask Rep. Portman to wear black-face?

    August 27, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  22. Hank

    Forget Obama and Romney!
    Vote Jill Stein!!!

    August 27, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  23. Rob Portman

    My first question will be.

    I fact checked everything you have said about The Affordable Healthcare Act. And it turns out that you haven't said one factual thing about it. So if Obama care is so bad, why do you continue to lie about it. Why can you support your position with facts instead of lies?

    August 27, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  24. DERASA

    He will need more than that. Maybe two or three more capable. He is confronting the best pound per pound...

    August 27, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  25. Liz the First

    All the top repugs together couldn't equal the brainpower of Obama. can't wait for the real debates when he totally eats RMoney's lunch AND supper. i wish he would just come out and say that the rethugs are traitors for refusing to govern for his whole first term, instead spending it trying to destroy his presidency, not caring one whit that the American people are suffering. i can't fathom how anyone whose IQ is even a few points above a rock haven't figured this out. we watched it happen. the Party of NO blocked every effort Obama made to further our recovery. these thugs don't deserve to hold any office, much less the presidency!

    August 27, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
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