If you want to know how Democrats will react if Romney picks the Ohio Senator as his running mate, just read former Buckeye State governor Ted Strickland’s less-than-hostile take on the possible pick on “Face the Nation”:
Bob Schieffer: “Governor Strickland, of course Rob Portman just mentioned by Governor Rendell is the senator from your state. He’s a Republican. Would he be a good running mate?”
Ted Strickland: “Probably. He’s a very conservative fellow but he has really good manners, Bob. He’s not a bomb thrower. He doesn’t use overheated rhetoric. He would probably be a safe choice but Rob Portman has a couple of things against him. He was George Bush’s trade representative and the outsourcing of jobs and our trade policy is a big deal in Ohio and he was also the budget director at a time when we were careening toward the conditions that led to this recession. So I think he probably would be one of the better choices that Governor Romney could make. But I’m not sure he will be chosen. I think it’s going to be Governor Pawlenty. That’s my personal guess for a lot of reasons. Number one, former Governor Pawlenty has a connection to the evangelical community, which I think is important for Mr. Romney.”
Strickland is one of the Democrats’ leading partisan firebrands; if that’s the best he can do, well… In fact, one of the strengths of the Portman pick, beyond his qualifications to be president from day one, is the way it would disarm the opposition’s ability to attack the selection — and Romney for his judgment.