Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, one of the Republicans believed to be on Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential shortlist, is used to reporters chasing him around.
But late last month, Portman turned the tables on one unsuspecting TV embed assigned to track him around the clock.
Portman’s been known to come out of his house to greet the NBC producer who now shadows his every move. He is the rare politician who seems to really like reporters.
“He was on a plane with me going back to Washington last Sunday,” Portman said. “And he gets on and he’s in first class, because he probably flies all the time from D.C. and has plenty of miles, while I go to the back. . . . Partway through the flight, I get up to go talk to him and he’s sound asleep. So I just wrote a note, saying, ‘I was going to tell you whatever you wanted,’ and I left it with my card on one of those little pillows.”
It’s not the first time Portman has played a joke on a reporter assigned to cover him. One day last month, as he arrived in the near-empty waiting area of the Cincinnati airport after 1 a.m., Portman was greeted by an ABC News producer tasked with shadowing him.
The next day, asked at a campaign event whether he expects to win the V.P. nod, Portman responded by joking that he would have told the producer the answer — if only he’d asked him when they met at the airport.