The Fix: Rob Portman

Jay Leno on Rob Portman's gay marriage shift (VIDEO)

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) "said he loves his son he and doesn't care who his son marries -- as long as it's not a Democrat," quipped NBC's Jay Leno:

2016 is a complicated year for many GOP presidential hopefuls

2016 is a complicated year for many GOP presidential hopefuls

On Friday, The Fix debuted its list of the top 10 contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

For most of these politicians, though, running for president in 2016 would be complicated -- specifically, it would be complicated by their day jobs. Just about all of them will either be up for reelection in 2016 or will be in the middle of their terms as governors, which is hardly ideal for launching a presidential campaign.

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Portman wont seek NRSC chair, clearing way for Moran

Portman wont seek NRSC chair, clearing way for Moran

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has decided not to pursue the chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, paving the way for Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) to become its next head, two GOP aides confirmed to The Fix.

Moran has long expressed interest in the job and has said he has secured enough votes to get it, but Portman's name popped up last week.

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Winners and losers from the Paul Ryan VP pick

For the better part of the last two months — and for some of us far longer than that — the Republican vice presidential sweepstakes has dominated the thought of any political junkie worth his or her name.

Now that we know the identity of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick — it’s Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, in case you have been in a news blackout since Friday night — the last major piece of the 2012 presidential puzzle has been fit into place.

Given the high stakes of the veepstakes, now that it’s over we thought it would be worth sorting through the entrails to come up with some winners and, of course, some losers from the process that was.

Our picks are after the jump. Have some winners/losers of your own? The comments section awaits.

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The Fix’s Final Five Republican VP picks

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney continues to offer few clues about the identity of his vice presidential pick or the timing of the announcement — “I don’t think I have anything for you on the VP running mate,” Romney told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday — but with the Republican National Convention just 17 days away, we know the decision is close.


U.S. representative (R-WI) Paul Ryan attends a vigil in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August 7, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress

Despite the tight-lippedness (is that a word?) of Romneyworld when it comes to the veepstakes, it does now appear that the short list is getting shorter.

Below are our rankings of the five men — yes, they are all men — most likely to get the nod from Romney. These rankings are a combination of reporting, buzz and gut — all in relatively equal measure.

The number one ranked candidate is considered Romney’s most likely VP pick. To the Line!

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The vice presidential pick is overrated. Here’s why.

The political world — up to and including this blog — is consumed at the moment with trying to divine the identity of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick. Travel schedules are pored over, public statements are parsed, Wikipedia is consulted.


Lyndon B. Johnson (second from left), the last VP pick that really mattered - CREDIT: ASSOCIATED PRESS.
Given that level of attention, you would think that the pick is of the utmost importance in the presidential race, that a look back at past picks reveals make or break moments centered on the identity of the presidential nominee’s ticketmate.

Not so much.

The simple reality is that the vice presidential pick — viewed through the lens of recent history — has almost no broad influence on the fate of the ticket and, to the extent the VP choice has mattered, it’s been in a negative way.

“VP picks can provide a temporary burst of excitement to a ticket, but pretty soon things settle down and the race is once again about the man at the top,” said Ari Fleischer, a former Bush Administration official. “With communications reaching everywhere for the last few decades, the race is about the presidency, not the vice-presidency.”

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The case against Rob Portman for vice president

Earlier this week, we made the case that Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is the perfect vice presidential pick for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Today we argue the opposite case — a case that can be summed up by three “B’s”: Bush, budget and boring. (If you want a much longer case against Portman, be sure to check out the Democratic super PAC American Bridge’s briefing book on him.)

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The case for Rob Portman to be vice president

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign unveiled an app — you can download it here — this morning that will be the first place where they announce the former Massachusetts governor’s pick to be his vice president.

That means one thing: We are getting close.

With the day of reckoning rapidly approaching, we continue our “case for/case against” treatment of the top contenders for the VP pick. (If you missed our case for and case against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal make sure to check them out.)

Today we make the case for Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the presumed frontrunner for the veep slot. Later this week, we’ll make the case against him.

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What you need to know about Rob Portman (VIDEO)

Is Sen. Rob Portman the odds-on favorite to become Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate?

That certainly seems the be the emerging conventional wisdom in Washington, where a recent informal poll of insiders by National Journal showed 58 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Republicans thought Romney should pick the Ohio senator.

But while insiders know plenty about Portman, many of you probably don’t. In that case, we urge you to check out BuzzFeed’s great list of “15 Genuinely Interesting Things About Rob Portman.”

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Why a vice presidential candidate’s home state doesn’t matter (much)

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have a leg up in the GOP veepstakes, the logic goes, because they come from extremely valuable swing states.

It’s certainly a fair argument; but it’s also over-sold.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

If history has shown us anything, it’s that the home state of a potential vice presidential nominee shouldn’t be over-estimated as a factor in the process. In fact, it’s relatively rare that a presidential nominee picks a running mate from a swing state with an eye toward picking up that state’s electoral votes in November.

Over the last 40 years, only three vice presidential picks (out of 15) have come from legitimately competitive swing states, and the last one came in 1992 when Bill Clinton picked then-Sen.Al Gore and went on to carry Gore’s home state of Tennessee twice. (And Tennessee wasn’t really considered all that much of a swing state back then.)

Before that, the last two swing-state VP nominees were Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (D-N.Y.) in 1984 and Texan George H.W. Bush in 1980, when their states were more competitive than they are today.

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Stephen Colbert on Republican veepstakes (VIDEO)

The Fix is a big fan of Stephen Colbert. (And, yes, this is a blatant ploy to get on the “Colbert Report” when the “Gospel According to the Fix” comes out in July.)

Colbert — along with partner in crime Jon Stewart — do more politics than almost anyone else on cable television and, yes, they have influence.

So, we thought it worth flagging to Fix readers that Colbert did an entire segment on the Republican vice presidential sweepstakes — and specifically Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — on Wednesday night.

Here’s the segment:

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Vice President Rob Portman?

If you didn’t know by now, The Fix is skeptical that political endorsements matter much. If they matter at all. But if there’s one that has mattered in the 2012 presidential race to date, it might be that of Rob Portman.

The freshman Ohio senator and former Office of Management and Budget director during the Bush years is getting plenty of kudos for his work to help former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney win narrowly in the Ohio primary on Tuesday.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (C) tours Gregory Industries with Executive Vice President Matt Gregory (R) and U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) during a campaign stop in Canton, Ohio, over the weekend. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

And for a guy who got a fair amount of vice presidential buzz four years ago, it’s likely that Portman will be a major player in the veepstakes as the year goes on. (The Portman chatter is starting already.)

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