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. Patrick

    I'm sorry for being so crass....but you know I go through and read these comments and something is painfully clear...The division between Obama supports and Romney supporters isn't world views, isn't necessarily social class, isn't race or all those other things you might assume are easily applicable. The defiing attribute seems to be IQ level/and how well informed people are. (There was even a collegiate study concerning FOX news watchers that supports this. FOX News watchers were the worst informed Americans, google it.)

    Seems as if Romney supporters just accept what Rush Limbaugh, Romney, FOX news, etc.. say as fact. And when someone begins to question what they believe to be truth they just point fingers and say "evil doers". It's sad really, because most of the people that are defending and supporting Romney are the same ones that he will rape and pilfer if he ever got elected. It's kinda like a dog wagging his tail and licking his veterinarian right before he is euthanized. There is nothing more painful than listening to the rants of those with really strong opinions based on very limited information/facts.

    Please Romney supporters, stop trusting everything you hear. Do you research, educate yourself before you vote.

    August 27, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. 1Joyce

    Jackson: So how many years of tax returns did Mitt Romney request of his opponents? Romney has released one year, and will release the latest one as soon as it is finished. I hear the deadline for extensions is in October.

    August 27, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  3. Squigman

    Get this and get it straight. Most of our current economic ill's were the result of mismanagement by republicans. Don't think for one minute that the truth can be buried as easily as you think it can. Your party is made up of liars, and snake oil salesmen. The sad thing, you've started holding the bible up as a shield. There's a place in hell for politicians, and republicans make up the majority of the population. Don't like it, sit on it and spin.

    August 27, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. southernwonder

    i want to see romoney's tax returns. it is not smart at all to take politicians at face value. i believe in trust but verify principle. i believed obama's birth place was hawaii only after he showed us his birth certificate on the web after the republicans demanded it and got it. romney needs to reciprocate in the same spirit democrats' request.

    August 27, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  5. LameStream

    They must be training Mitt to run out the clock.

    August 27, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  6. etesot Obe

    What a waste of time! Having held a polyna of positions on multiple issues, Mitt Romney is stretching his would be debate coach. The greatest anxiety for the coach( Portman) is that the student (Mitt Romney) will stick to the debating tips. He may well- and there is no way of us knowing this-that mitt romney will reverse/turn his back on Portman's advise especially in the heat of the debate. And you don't fool around with a season debator like Obama. Portman–you have a venture with an unstable student. I will have a basin of pop-corn as I watch. Will be interesting indeed!

    August 27, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  7. pogojo

    Will Obama be using his telepromptor during the debate? If not, these will be good debates.

    August 27, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    I find it appalling that they can even contemplate a " rehearsal for a presidential debate" with anyone.
    First off that assumes the questions the moderators my put will be known in advance to the Debaters and second those areas or times where they can ask each other questions or criticise thier stance cannot be answered properly with out multiple rehearsals.
    If they do not understand thier own and own thier own basis of thiers especially and thier respective parties political positions well enough they are not presidential material in my opinion.

    August 27, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  9. jaimie

    Romneyhood ............. Give to the rich take from the poor

    August 28, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  10. J

    Romney should debate himself, but then take his previous position on every issue prior to his move to the far right. That would be like debating Obama. Plus, he wouldn't be whining because old Mitt would never attack new Mitt on the issues.

    August 28, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  11. waikikijohn

    not even

    August 28, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  12. Realitybites

    This guy doesn't have enough brain cells to mimic Obama.

    August 28, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  13. ValarMorghulis

    A most unlikely person to play Obama. This goes to the heart of the Republican party which cannot find a foil that is representative of the president.

    August 28, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  14. CBR

    There are so many false stories going around and some are downright degrading. Facts are being lost as politicians continue to take a few words out of context and make a scene. Where are the women in this country? Democrat or Republican – it makes no difference. Are we going to allow the men to tell us what we can or cannot do with our bodies? Are we allowing new definitions of rape which is the single most traumatic experience that any woman can have? We, as women, do not have to be pro-life, anti-abortion or free choice. We must make sure that our daughters and granddaughters rule their own bodies.

    Women need to support each other. We need to make decisions with the people who count most in our lives. But, we need to stick together on this one issue.

    August 28, 2012 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  15. CPhase2

    That whole "the other side is blind and brainwashed" argument is a bit old. To suggest that someone with differing values and perspectives is somehow ignorant is, in itself, ignorant. Democrats and Republicans, quite simply, want different things. The issue is that each side believes that what it wants is exactly what America needs.

    August 28, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  16. Wynter

    Using Portman? That's like having Romney talk to himself in a mirror. He should at least have someone that can challenge him. Portman would just applaud and say "Good job, Mitt!". The real debate should be really fun to watch!

    August 28, 2012 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  17. db

    The GOP ala Reagan/Bush-I/Bush-II sets the national house on fire. They overspent by $12 trillion and counting. We're still paying for StarWars, Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq, the tax cut, the Great Republican Recession.

    The country called Fireman Obama to put out the fire and save the house.

    As soon as he arrived, the GOP in Washington began stabbing the fire hoses, letting the air out of the fire truck's tires, and turning in false alarms (death panels, birth certificate, Kenya, socialist indoctrination of children, closet Muslim, Rev. Wright, etc.).

    Now the GOP are saying that we should blame the fireman, not the guys who set the fire in the first place.

    August 28, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  18. chuck

    Ryan is the new Palin-keep it in mind folks....

    August 28, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  19. Marie MD

    Good, maybe they both will fall asleep! That should be as interesting as watching grass grow (which would be more fun).
    I love the speakers at the convention that will lose viewers thanks to Hurrican Isaacs. If you were going to waste your time. mcdonnell (VA governor unwarranted sonograms/va gi nal probe of pregnant women); his daughter (whoever/whatever she is but her brothers go to work/she goes to grandmas house) who will NOT bring the women vote; mcnasty (we already know what he thinks about the economy and picking that useless mutant from AK did him in); fat boy from NJ (another bully they can use to hold up those books they are trying to keep from classrooms with the flip flopper on the other end).

    August 28, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  20. nobodytothoserepubs

    Y do all the republicans seem to have evil n the eyes Thy just look evil demons the children of the fallen live n Thay r republicans all but Ron Paul

    August 28, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  21. quinLee

    Aint gonna work. Portman doesn't look like a Kenyan Muslim. Romney's going to need more realism to morph....well maybe not. Romney’s an expert at morphing.

    August 28, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  22. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    I find it amazing that anyone wants to vote for Romney-he is a proven liar on his taxes while running for Mass governor with no there there-an etch a sketch say whatever the audience I am in front of wants to hear. He only beleives in the 1% and not the middle class, women, gays, blacks, or Latinos He thinks women will not remember that he wants to end abortion even to save the life of the mother and wants to end most forms of birth control. If the Republicans are elected rape will end because women will bear the children of their rapists Like I said I cannot beleve that anyone in this country would vote for Romney Ryan.

    August 28, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  23. Anders Perillo

    All Romney has to do is turn over the mic to Obama and ask him to explain his economic policy to America. Game over.

    August 28, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  24. julie

    @ USS Columbia..........what was the point of that OR IS that your Point..just asking.........were you testing them to gauage the hate............did you detox before you came in here

    Obama 2012

    August 28, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |

    Guess they couldn't find a black guy in the GOP.
    Alan West just isn't smart.

    August 28, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
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