Vice Presidential contender and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has fired back at critics who say he’s too boring to be Mitt Romney’s running-mate.
“Well I like to think I am a serious legislator and trying to get things done. That’s my goal in life, to get things done. It’s not about sizzle for me,” Portman told Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier”.
In fact, sizzle might just be a liability.
“I mean, America made a decision in 2008 to go with a president who did have sizzle. And look, he was kind of a celebrity. He also had a very compelling message which was, remember this, I’m going to bring people together to solve problems. Didn’t happen. And it didn’t happen because he didn’t have the experience, he didn’t have the record, he didn’t have the policies to do it,” he said.
Portman made light of recent rips by comedians like Stephen Colbert, who at one point suggested Romney should run with a mannequin instead.
So is 2012 the year of the anti-sizzle? Portman said both Romney and his wife Anne are “dynamic” — and the more the American people get to know them, the clearer that will become.
When asked about his legacy as Director of OMB during the Bush administration, a time when the national debt ballooned, Portman defended his record.
“I was fortunate I guess to be part of some good fiscal discipline in the Bush administration. The budget I put forward was a balanced budget. And it was hard to do,” Portman said. “I’d love to have those times again. Unemployment was 4.5 percent.”
During his resignation speech from OMB in 2007, Portman joked that in addition to his title of “Director,” President Bush had bestowed upon him other names like “Budget Hawk, “Dr. No,” “Tight Wad,” ” Penny Pincher,” “and some not suitable for a television audience. ”
He says it was only after he left that revenues went down and spending went up. When asked about that economic climate that President Obama inherited, Portman conceded it was difficult.
“He inherited a tough economy no question about it. The question is what do you do with it? We’re five and half million jobs down,” Portman said. “I think, gosh, three and a half, almost four years later it’s sort of tough to still say it was the other guy.”
Portman showed a more personal side during his interview with Fox News, admitting his first date with his wife, Jane, was a bit bumpy.
“It didn’t go great. She thought I talked too much. She thought I’d make a good senator because I’d be able to filibuster in this place.”
After getting married, Portman left the Presbyterian Church to become a Methodist, where his wife belonged. He told Fox he is a “religious person.”
“I pray every day and it helps me. It may not work for everybody but it works for me. It motivates me and hopefully gives me a little direction,” he said.
When asked to name something that people may not know about him, Portman divulged that in the past year, he’s broken his collar bone mountain biking and dislocated my shoulder kayaking. It seems the Ohio Republican saves his sense of adventure for the open water and rocky trails.