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Entries in Rob Portman (28)

Monday
Mar252013

Sen. Rob Portman's Son Writes About Coming Out

Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Two weeks after his Republican senator dad announced his support for gay marriage and one day before the Supreme Court is to hear arguments on the issue, 21 year-old Will Portman penned an editorial in the Yale Daily News describing how he came out as gay.

“In February of freshman year, I decided to write a letter to my parents. I’d tried to come out to them in person over winter break but hadn’t been able to. So I found a cubicle in Bass Library one day and went to work. Once I had something I was satisfied with, I overnighted it to my parents and awaited a response,” Portman writes.

“They called as soon as they got the letter. They were surprised to learn I was gay, and full of questions, but absolutely rock-solid supportive. That was the beginning of the end of feeling ashamed about who I was,” he continued.

In his piece Will Portman discusses the difficulty of coming out about his sexuality as his father was being vetted for the vice presidency. Though he admits that his coming out prompted he and his father to begin talking about the policy issues surrounding marriage for same-sex couples, Portman writes that he did not want his sexual orientation to become an issue during the presidential campaign.

“My dad told the Romney campaign that I was gay, that he and my mom were supportive and proud of their son, and that we’d be open about it on the campaign trail,” he wrote.

Portman continues, “When he ultimately wasn’t chosen for the ticket, I was pretty relieved to have avoided the spotlight of a presidential campaign. Some people have criticized my dad for waiting for two years after I came out to him before he endorsed marriage for gay couples. Part of the reason for that is that it took time for him to think through the issue more deeply after the impetus of my coming out. But another factor was my reluctance to make my personal life public.”

That “rock-solid support” that Will attributes to his father was made evident earlier this month when Sen. Portman publically reversed his opposition to gay marriage.

“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman wrote in an op-ed that ran in the Columbus Dispatch.

Portman came out in support of gay marriage at a crucial time. This week the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Proposition 8 and DOMA, two potentially transformative cases regarding the very issue that Portman’s son had been urging the senator to consider since he came out during his freshman year of college.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar242013

Karl Rove: ‘I Could’ Imagine Next GOP Presidential Nominee Supporting Gay Marriage

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Fox News contributor and former Bush deputy chief of staff Karl Rove said Sunday morning on This Week that he can imagine the next Republican nominee for the White House supporting gay marriage.

“I could,” Rove said on the This Week roundtable.

Rove’s comments came days after Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, whom Mitt Romney considered as a running mate in the 2012 election, announced that he had shifted his position and supported gay marriage. The vast majority of Republicans in Congress do not support same-sex marriage. Portman is the only sitting senator in the GOP to support same-sex marriage.

The Powerhouse Roundtable also addressed gun violence-prevention measures now being discussed in Congress. Rove said that universal background checks would not have stopped the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that left 20 children dead in December.

“Let’s be clear about this, this was prompted by the Sandy Hook murders.  Those guns were legally purchased with a background check,” Rove said. “This would not have solved something like that.  Let’s be very careful about quickly trampling on the rights of people.”

Former Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina pushed back, arguing the importance of background checks.

“Look, 40 percent of all gun sales currently don’t go through background checks.  The background checks have stopped two million people from getting guns they shouldn’t get,” Messina said. “But we know there are loopholes all over the place. And Karl, just saying no, which is what the NRA and your party is doing right now, isn’t moving us forward.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar152013

Sen. Rob Portman Reveals He Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A longtime opponent to same-sex marriage has dramatically changed course.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio now says he supports marriage for same-sex couples two years after his college-aged son, Will, revealed he was gay.

In an op-ed appearing in Friday’s Columbus Dispatch, Portman says he had “to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister.” 

Ultimately, Portman says the Bible teaches love and compassion for “all children of God.”

The senator adds that he now supports repealing parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that he backed, saying same-sex couples who marry legally in states where it's allowed should get the federal benefits that are granted to heterosexual married couples.

Portman says that he told 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney about his gay son while being vetted last summer as a possible running mate and claims that fact wasn't a deal-breaker. 

He also discussed the issue with former Vice President Dick Cheney, the father of a gay daughter.  Cheney’s advice to Portman was “Follow your heart.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct152012

Sen. Rob Portman: Romney ‘Probably’ Could Win Election Without Ohio

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking to ABC's Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper Sunday morning on This Week, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney could “probably” win the White House without a victory in the Buckeye State, a feat that no other Republican has accomplished.

“Look, you can probably win the presidency without Ohio, but I wouldn’t want to take the risk.  No Republican has.  And we’re doing great in Ohio,” Portman said.  “If you look at the average of all the polls, it’s about dead-even in Ohio right now.  And importantly, the momentum’s on our side.  It’s been terrific.”

Portman was responding to a recent poll Tapper asked him about that showed Romney trailing the president by six points in Ohio.

Tapper also asked Portman -- who is helping prep Romney by playing Obama in mock debates -- what voters should expect on Tuesday, during the second presidential debate.  He predicted that Obama would come out “swinging.”

“I think President Obama is gonna come out swinging.  I think he’s gonna have to compensate for a poor first debate, and I think that’ll be consistent with what they’ve been doing this whole campaign, Jake, which is running a highly negative ad campaign,” Portman said.  “They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars around the country, including a lot in Ohio, mischaracterizing Gov. Romney’s positions and misrepresenting him.  And I think you’ll see that again at the debate on Tuesday night.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep252012

Romney Jokes Portman Plays Obama Too Well in Debate Prep

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(VANDALIA, Ohio) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joked Tuesday that Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio., plays President Obama so well in their debate prep session that afterwards he wants to “kick him out of the room.”

“He plays Barack Obama, he plays him well, too,” Romney told the crowd gathered for a rally at the Dayton International Airport where Portman appeared with him Tuesday. “After the, you know, hour and a half or so is over, I’m like, I want to kick him out of the room he’s so good.”

Romney insisted that Portman claims that it is actually him who wins their practice debates.

“When he gets finished he said, ‘You beat me again. You beat me again,’” Romney added of Portman, “Well, he likes my arguments, you see. He’s the better debater, but he likes my arguments better. He knows they’re right.”

The first of three presidential debates is Oct. 3 at the University of Denver.

Tuesday’s event, with both Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, served to launch the first event of Romney’s two-day, four-city bus tour throughout Ohio.

Ryan said Portman gave him a lucky Buckeye to help them in the crucial swing state.

“It means we are going to win Ohio,” Ryan said. “I will tell you the other reason we are going to win Ohio. We are going to give you, our fellow citizens, a clear choice.”

The “clear choice” is the catchphrase of the so-called reset of the Romney campaigning this week as they launch into the final six weeks of election. Romney advisers indicate the candidates will be offering a starker -- clearer -- comparison of the candidates on the days ahead.

The candidates added a bit of gusto to their economic message, expanding their arguments Tuesday. While arguing that China has “cheated,” as he often does on the campaign trail, Romney used an example of a counterfeit Apple store in China.

“They got a store, an Apple store, selling Apple, you know, iPads and iPhones, except it’s not an Apple store, it’s all counterfeit,” he exclaimed. “This cannot be allowed. We cannot compete with people who don’t play fair and I won’t let that go on, I will stop it in its tracks.”

Absentee ballot applications were at the event site Tuesday, and Portman noted that early votes are important to the campaign.

“The best thing we can do right now is bank votes,” Portman said, “So vote absentee, take advantage of it and be sure you’re getting the word out to your friends, your neighbors, folks you go to church with, people you are seeing in your neighborhood who may or may not even want to vote. Tell them we need their vote and we need it now.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Romney Will Practice Debating this Week with Obama Proxy

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Last week was all about Mitt Romney.  This week, it's all about him preparing to face President Obama for a series of three debates planned for October.

The Republican presidential nominee is not ruling out making some speaking appearances in several of the battleground states while Democrats renominate Obama during three-day Democratic National Convention.

However, a senior Romney adviser says the campaign will probably take it down a few notches so that the candidate can get ready for his one-on-one debate battles with the incumbent, commencing Oct. 3.

The site of the debate practice sessions is the Reading, Vt., home of former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who worked for then-Gov. Romney.

Romney will play himself and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who has been described as doing a spot-on impersonation of Obama, will repeat his mimickry that won raves when he did the same for former GOP presidential nominee John McCain in 2008.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug092012

Rob Portman Sees Obama in Passing Motorcade in Colorado

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(PUEBLO, Colo.) -- It happened at the corner of Frontage Road and Bonforte.  As the Romney campaign bus, full of Colorado Republicans and vice presidential short-lister Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, rolled towards its fifth and final stop on Wednesday, there it was.

What at first appeared to be a blocked street soon revealed itself to be something far more exciting: The president’s very own motorcade.

“So we pulled this big, beautiful bus right up along the road next to where President Obama was coming in just so we could have a proper welcoming for [him] to Pueblo!” Portman told a revved-up crowd of around 150 Republican volunteers.

Portman, who revealed more details after the event, was delighted.

“They asked me to come to Colorado to bracket the president, and I thought that just meant doing events around the state where you speak, you know, after the president speaks or before or in the same media market.  But it turns out it was a physical bracket today,” Portman told ABC News.

When asked if he got out of the bus to wave as the motorcade went by, Portman emphasized he minded his manners.

“I was respectful.  I stayed in the bus as he went by and just waved,” he said

It is unlikely the president could have missed the bus, itself -- but is it possible Obama might have spotted Portman?

“I don’t think so,” Portman said.  “But I saw him, though.  It looked like he was pretty deep in conversation.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug082012

VP Shortlister Rob Portman Comes Out Swinging in Colorado

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(JOHNSTOWN, Colo.) -- Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, arrived right on time at Johnson’s Corner this morning for his first event of the day bracketing President Obama in Colorado.

With the Romney bus behind him, the Ohio senator greeted supporters before popping inside the gas station and restaurant briefly where he greeted diners and ordered four cinnamon rolls.

“These are world famous right?” Portman asked the cashier as he checked out.

Portman kicked off his remarks outside highlighting a new Quinnipiac University-CBS News-New York Times poll that shows Romney out up on Obama, 50 percent to 45 percent.

“Guess what’s going to welcome President Obama to Colorado today? Some new polls that show Romney up,” Portman said. “They’ve outspent us but they can’t out work us because of people like you.”

When asked about today’s new ABC News/Washington Post poll that shows 49 percent of American’s view Romney unfavorably, Portman pointed to a tough Republican primary and the negative attack ads of the Obama campaign.

“President Obama has been attacking relentlessly,” Portman told ABC News.  ”In 2008 he said that if you’re out of fresh ideas you use stale tactics against your opponent – you try and make your opponent unacceptable and that’s what he is trying to do.”

Portman again pointed to polls out today showing Romney up in Colorado saying, “Today is a good day for Governor Romney here in Colorado. You’ll see we’re trending in the right direction.”

While President Obama is in Colorado today touting his health care law, Portman has come to what he calls the “ultimate swing state,” on a five-stop bus tour to highlight what he called the president’s failures in addition to promoting Mitt Romney’s plan for the middle class.

Portman told the crowd of around 50 at Johnstown the economy was weakening, largely because of Obama’s failed policies.

“Things are not getting better. They are getting worse,” Portman said. “We need to elect Mitt Romney to turn things around.”

Portman pointed to a number of “compelling promises” Obama made to bring the country together.

“And that’s probably why he won,” Portman said. “He said he’d bring the country together. Did he do that?”

“No!” the crowd yelled back.

“The president said his economic plans are working. When he pushed through that trillion dollar stimulus package, he promised unemployment would be at 5.6 percent. That didn’t happen either,” Portman said.

Portman ripped the president on his health care law, reminding his audience of the president’s promise that health care costs would drop under Obamacare.  Portman noted recent numbers out from the non-partisan Congressional Budget office that show the cost of health care increasing for families $2500 on average.

“Promises made. Promises not kept,” Portman said.

Portman will make stops in Thornton, Lakewood, Denver, and will finish in Pueblo where President Obama is slated to make his last stop as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug062012

Portman Isn't Thinking About Being Picked As VP

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(ASHLAND, Ohio) -- There are few moments that change a politician’s life as dramatically as being picked to be a presidential running mate.

The scenario goes something like this: The call comes asking you to join the ticket. If you accept, your world as you once knew it changes in an instant. You are descended upon by a robust Secret Service detail and almost entirely new staffers who work together to seal you off from a life you once considered “normal.”

You are now an integral part of a sprawling national campaign. The press core you know by name expands exponentially to include dozens of people you’ve probably never seen in your life. And with that new group comes the searing glare of the national news media. From the moment you are announced until Election Day, you life is a sprint through swing states, a blur of speeches, and baby kissing.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, however, says he hasn’t spent any time thinking about the way his life might change if that call comes from Mitt Romney.

“The truth is we live our lives as if it will never happen. We really do,” Portman said when asked whether he and his family were ready if the call comes. “In our Senate office, we’re continuing to work for Ohio and promote legislation as if we’re going to stay in the Senate. We really don’t think about that and we’re not planning on that.”

Portman, 56, held a volunteer appreciation event Monday in Ashland, Ohio, with Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, where he rallied a crowd of about 40 supporters around Romney and other Republicans on the Ohio ticket in November.

Portman said all the stumping he has done in recent months on behalf of Romney was an “honor” and an opportunity to get “get the message out.” He campaigns for Romney, he says, because he thinks the former Massachusetts governor has “the right answers,” not because he wants to be his running mate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul302012

Portman Punts When Asked if Ready to Be VP

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- It was just last week Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, received the endorsement of House Speaker John Boehner, who said he was “partial” to Portman when asked who his pick would be Mitt Romney’s running mate.

This week, Portman punted when asked if he would be ready if the call came asking him to join the ticket.

“I’ll let the Romney folks talk about readiness,” Portman told ABC News Monday. “Governor Romney has a lot of great choices. There are a lot of people out there who can do the job and ultimately I think people vote for the president, not the vice president.”

Portman has long been rumored to be on Romney’s short list of running mates  and has appeared often on his behalf in states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and his home state of Ohio.

Today Portman rallied a group of 200 plus Republicans for Romney in Lancaster County, Pa., telling the crowd he “had a good feeling” the crucial swing state would land in the red column this election cycle.

Portman spent the majority of the speech ticking off what he called President Obama’s “fumbles” since taking office. Pointing to health care, the poverty rate, the debt, and deficit, Portman infused his standard stump speech with a bit more fire, charm, and humor. The Ohio senator had the crowd laughing and cheering throughout much of his speech and received a standing ovation as he left the stage.

Asked after his speech about Romney’s apparent fumbles over the past week during his overseas trip to England, Israel, and Poland, Portman called his time abroad, “strong.”

“I think it’s great that he’s over there touring not just three important countries, but three of our most important allies in the world,” Portman said. “I think that shows people he does have a lot of foreign policy interest and background and so he is going to stand with our allies.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio