What They’re Saying: Portman Named An RNC “Loser”

What They’re Saying: Portman Named An RNC “Loser 

COLUMBUS, OH -- The press coverage for Senator Portman over the last four days of the Republican National Convention has been nothing short of brutal.

Three storylines have been front and center: Portman’s support for job-killing trade deals, his unabashed support for Trump, and the glaring contrast between Portman and Republican Gov. Kasich when it comes to backing the most toxic and divisive presidential nominee in modern history.

Capping off the week, Portman’s hometown newspaper just named him a Republican National Convention “loser.”

See for yourself: 

WATCH: The Strickland Campaign’s New Video: Rob Portman's RNC Nightmare

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Cincinnati Enquirer: RNC Loser: Rob Portman. “He tried to define himself apart from Trump, but at the same time he told a divided Ohio delegation Thursday that Ohio Republicans need to get behind the nominee. Portman, who’s in a close re-election race against former Gov. Ted Strickland, is caught in a no-win situation. He has often been considered a moderate Republican who can work across the aisle, and standing with Trump threatens that image just when he needs to win a general election likely to attract more Democratic voters than usual. It’s going to be a tough year for Rob Portman, as this week demonstrated.”

Politico: HEADLINE: Portman walks into Trump buzzsaw — in his own backyard. “As if that wasn’t tricky enough, on Day One the buttoned-down Portman was dragged into a spat between the Trump camp and Ohio Gov. John Kasich over the vanquished presidential contender’s decision to steer clear of his home-state convention because of Trump — forcing Portman to defend his close ally.”

National Review: HEADLINE:Rob Portman’s Home-State Convention Bind. “Ohio senator Rob Portman hadn’t even set foot in the arena where the GOP convention is being held before he found himself embroiled in a controversy...Portman epitomizes the establishment against which Trump has railed for this entire election season.”

Real Clear Politics: Portman “Got Thrown For A Loop Almost Immediately.” “Portman’s effort got thrown for a loop almost immediately Monday morning when Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, slammed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for refusing to participate in the convention, calling him an ‘embarrassment’ and dragging Portman into the mix [...] Strickland and Ohio Democrats have crashed the Republican’s nominating party to heckle Portman and hammer the narrative that he’s inextricably tied to Trump...Strickland explicitly used Kasich’s refusal to back Trump and participate in the convention to knock Portman.” 

Bloomberg: HEADLINE: “In Trump Convention Shadow, Ohio’s Portman Faces Trade Backlash.” “Trump’s appeal to workers and business leaders whose industries have been decimated by foreign competition may also help Strickland exploit Portman’s record as a supporter of free-trade deals...If Trump’s anti-free trade rhetoric isn’t awkward enough for Portman, the party’s split in Ohio is an additional complication...It gave Strickland an opening to contrast Portman’s endorsement of Trump with Kasich’s “moral courage and fortitude.”

Roll Call: HEADLINE: “Trump's Trade Agenda Dogs Portman in the Cleveland.” “Former U.S. trade representative and incumbent Sen. Rob Portman is in the fight of his life to keep his seat. He's at odds with Trump on trade, and the issue followed him around Cleveland this week.”

Roll Call: Home State Republicans Keep Distance As Trump Comes To Town. “Portman’s Cabinet position as the younger Bush’s chief trade negotiator could make for some awkward moments at the Republican convention. Trump has blasted the trade deals the United States has made in the last few years… [Portman’s] record on free-trade deals is extensive and out of step with Trump’s evisceration of trade deals that he says ‘stink.’”

Columbus Dispatch: Portman’s RNC Gift Made In China. “And, yes, amid the GOP furor over trade agreements and deficits, we checked. ‘Made in China’ marked the loot from Taylor, Johnson, Portman, Mandel and Yost’s coozie. The origin of the other items was not marked.”

Politico: Portman Struggles To Align Message On Trade. “A longtime advocate for multinational trade deals, Portman has struggled to align his message with Trump’s calls for sharp slowdowns in foreign trade and renegotiations of existing deals.”

WVXU: HEADLINE: ”Portman Makes It Crystal Clear – He's Backing Trump.” “Portman, has been the object of barbs from his re-election opponent, former Gov. Ted Strickland, and Ohio Democrats for wanting to have it both ways when it comes to Donald Trump...But Thursday morning, Portman came to the Ohio delegation breakfast at the Doubletree Hotel on the shores of Lake Erie and made what was his strongest public statement yet on Trump's candidacy.”

  • PLEASE CLAP: "The Trump-Pence ticket is going to be the right ticket to win in November,'' Portman said to the Ohioans to less-than tumultuous applause.”

Roll Call: HEADLINE: Portman, Kasich Head in Separate Directions on Trump. “Rob Portman fell into line behind Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday, telling the Ohio delegation here that it was important that the billionaire become president, a position that puts some distance between himself and his fellow GOP statewide officeholder, Gov. John Kasich...Portman has been put into a difficult situation by the contentious presidential nominee.”   

Medina Gazette: Portman Says “We’re Better Off With Donald Trump.”“‘The choices are clear. I think we’re better with Donald Trump,’ [Portman] said.” 

Ohio Public Radio: Ohio Republicans Worried Trump May Drag Down Portman. “Some Ohio Republicans are worried that Donald Trump’s controversial candidacy may drag down Portman’s chances to beat Democratic former Governor Ted Strickland.”

Columbus Dispatch: Portman Refuses To Condemn Trump On NATO. “Two Ohio Republican lawmakers shied away from outright decrying Republican nominee Donald Trump’s comments questioning whether the U.S. should automatically defend NATO allies if they are attacked.”

Roll Call: Reporters Want Answers From Portman On Trump. “But when the rally ended, the reporters who surrounded Portman didn’t ask about his campaign’s voter-outreach effort or his position on trade. They wanted to know what Portman thought of the comments of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort earlier in the day, when he suggested Ohio Gov. John Kasich was ‘embarrassing his state.’”  

Columbus Dispatch: Rob Portman balancing Donald Trump's effect on Senate candidacy. “When it’s time for reporters to ask about his campaign, all they want to talk about is Donald Trump. Welcome to Rob Portman’s 2016”

Enquirer: Portman Spent Monday Fielding Questions About Trump -- Again. “Monday morning, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort told reporters that Portman was “upset” with Kasich for hurting Portman’s campaign...That meant Portman spent time at his Monday volunteer rally fielding questions from reporters about Trump – again.”

The Hill: Strickland Cites Kasich To Knock Portman. “Ted Strickland this week cited Kasich skipping the convention to knock incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R). Portman is one of the GOP's most vulnerable senators this year and endorsed Trump shortly after Kasich ended his own bid. ‘Portman does not have the courage that John Kasich has,’ Strickland said.”

WKBN: Democrats condemn Sen. Rob Portman for supporting Trump. “The Democratic party is using fighting within the GOP as an opportunity to discredit Donald Trump and all of the candidates who support him.That includes Senator Rob Portman, who is in a dead heat with democrat Ted Strickland.” 

Foreign Policy: Strickland Turns Trump Into “Albatross Around Portman’s Neck.” “It’s not clear he’s avoided the baggage, or that it will be enough to help Portman stave off Strickland, who has worked to turn Trump into an albatross around Portman’s neck, forcing him to defend the nominee’s controversial positions on national security and immigration…’On Monday, the Strickland campaign unveiled a large banner downtown near the convention hall reading, “If Rob Portman Can’t Stand Up to Donald Trump, Portman Won’t Stand Up for Ohio,” and on Tuesday, it rolled out a veteran surrogate to answer the senator’s kayaking event. ‘There’s no river Senator Portman can hide in to avoid his unfortunate reality: Portman is all in for Trump,” veteran and Cleveland City Councilman Terrell Pruitt said. ‘He’s continuing to support Donald Trump — the most toxic and divisive nominee in modern history, who has disparaged America’s war heroes and is unfit to lead our country.’” 

Toledo Blade: Ohio Democrats Highlight Portman’s Support For Trump With Banner. The Ohio Democratic Party, supporting former Gov. Ted Strickland for the Ohio Senate seat, hung a banner on a downtown Cleveland building Wednesday accusing Mr. Portman of showing less courage than Mr. Kasich. ‘If Senator Portman lacks the courage to stand up to Donald Trump like Republican Governor Kasich has, then there’s no way Portman can stand up for Ohio in the Senate,’ said David Bergstein, a Strickland campaign spokesman.”

New York Times: Rob Portman’s Alternate Universe Convention. “Outside the auditorium where Mr. Portman was speaking, the Ohio Democratic Party protesters wore judge-like robes, to highlight Mr. Portman’s decision to not vote to have a hearing for Merrick B. Garland, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. Another one held up a big blown up portrait of Mr. Portman’s head sporting a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat.” […] ‘Donald Trump’s campaign in many ways is Rob Portman’s worst nightmare,’ said David Pepper, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. ‘If you really are troubled by him on all these issues, then to me, you own up to it like John Kasich does and simply say, ‘I can’t support him.’ That’s what leadership looks like.’” 

Wall Street Journal: Sen. Rob Portman Treads Lightly Around Republican Convention. “A pillar of the Democratic Senate campaign has been to wrap Mr. Portman around his party’s nominee. Mr. Strickland’s campaign launched a convention week website,PortmanAllInForTrump.com, and a web video replays a clip of Mr. Trump at a recent campaign appearance praising the senator.”

Buzzfeed: The (Other) Sideshow At The Republican Convention. “The day before, in a press conference on Sunday, Strickland, flanked by two union workers who had recently been laid off, welcomed Portman and Trump to Cleveland, taking every opportunity possible to name the senator and the presumptive nominee in the same sentence. ‘It’s important that we call attention to the vast differences between Donald Trump, Rob Portman and the needs of Ohio’s working people.’ Strickland said.”

  • “Strickland’s key issue to target Portman, who served as trade representative under President George W. Bush, is international free-trade agreements. His campaign and outside groups backing him have labeled Portman ‘the best senator for China’ and called Portman’s skepticism on trade agreements on the campaign trail ‘an election year conversion.’”

New York Times: Ignoring Donald Trump, Republican Senators Orbit Their Own Worlds. “‘Trump is a total nightmare for Rob Portman,’ said Rebecca Pearcey, Mr. Strickland’s campaign manager [...] “Mr. Strickland, his opponent, wants voters to hear more about Mr. Portman’s stint as the country’s top trade negotiator under President George W. Bush. ‘The Best Senator China Ever Had,’ the Strickland campaign labeled Mr. Portman.”

Cleveland.com: Ted Strickland, Dem leaders slam Rob Portman, Donald Trump. “Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Ted Strickland on Monday offered some of his sharpest criticism yet of Republican opponent Rob Portman, calling him a ‘weak person’ who ‘does not have the courage to call Donald Trump out.’" 

Elyria-Chronicle Telegram: Strickland, union officials criticize GOP, Rob Portman. “Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and union officials came together Sunday on the eve of the Republican National Convention to criticize both presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati.”

Dix Newspapers: Strickland criticizes Trump and Portman at Cleveland union hall. “‘In Cleveland, Ohio, this week, we have two candidates, Donald Trump and Rob Portman, who are running together, and they are both anti-worker, they're anti-good trade policy and they have records which I believe make them incompatible with Ohio's working families,’ Strickland said. ‘Cleveland is a working-class community, and Ohio is a working-class state. And we're sick and tired of the Washington insiders, the power brokers, the multi-national corporations dictating our policy. I'm here to say to you that Rob Portman is in fact the best senator that China has ever had. And that's going to be exposed this week.’” 

WKSU: Former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, Heads to Cleveland as the RNC Begins. “Speaking at Building Laborers’ Union Local 310 near downtown Cleveland, Strickland called Portman ‘the best Senator China ever had,’ saying that country’s currency manipulation has hurt jobs and working families in Ohio. He went on to add that he supports a $12 minimum wage at the federal level.”

Cleveland.com: Ted Strickland attacks Rob Portman on trade in RNC-week Cleveland appearance. “Strickland, the former Democratic Ohio governor who is running for Portman's senate seat, criticized Portman for voting for the North American Free Trade Agreement, the 1994 deal signed by then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. Strickland, a former Ohio governor, as a congressman voted against the bill, which he said has cost Ohio 300,000 manufacturing jobs.”

Daily Kos: OH-Sen: Strickland (D) Hits Portman (R) On Free Trade In Cleveland Right Before The RNC Kicks Off. “Ted Strickland at a campaign appearance in Cleveland on Sunday attacked Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman for his record of staunchly supporting international free trade deals that he said have hurt Ohio workers.”

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