At his Saturday night press conference in Concord, NH, would-be VP choice Rob Portman answered a bunch of (mostly political) questions from a mix of Granite State and national reporters.
See my exchange with him from the end of the presser above.
I think the following points can be entered into veepstakes evidence:
- There is no one in public life who is more consistent in the tone he uses to answer media questions — no matter what the topic — than Rob Portman. One underrated element of his personality is his sense of humor, which he flashes without warning.
- He knows more about the rhythms of presidential politics than your typical United States Senator, including some who have run for president before. If Romney picks him, there’s nothing about the process that would surprise Portman in the least.
- He can do the Romney-style, more-in-sadness-than-in-anger over President Obama’s record as well as anyone in the party.
- He can pivot deftly off of criticism of Bain, the overall Massachusetts record, and other criticisms of Romney. (Although he avoids a direct response to the issue of Romneycare, as do many in the GOP, since they apparently can’t really explain why it doesn’t amount to European-style enslavement.)
- It is unlikely in the extreme that Portman would get rattled on a ropeline, with the media, or in a debate. He’s from the Obama/Cheney school of public life: never too high, never too low, never get shaken or stirred.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of Portman’s friendly relationships with a lot of Democrats, including in the Senate. Many Democrats who work themselves into an acrimonious lather over Romney will have a great deal of trouble doing the same over Portman.
- The amount of affection and respect for Portman in RomneyWorld is exceedingly high, and Portman knows it. That extends to Ann and Mitt.
- If the goal of the Romney campaign is to pick a running mate who sends a message about Romney’s judgment and reassures voters that a Romney White House would have experienced, serious adults in charge, Portman makes as much sense as any other option.