What They’re Saying: Portman Voted Against Stopping Terrorists From Buying Guns

When confronted by his hypocrisy, Portman “seemed confused,” “declined to say” how he would vote now

COLUMBUS, OH -- Senator Portman’s gun-safety press conference call on Tuesday yielded a stunningly brutal series of stories  -- as every news outlet highlighted Portman’s vote against stopping terrorists from buying weapons just last year. When Portman was confronted by his hypocrisy, he choked and “seemed confused.”

By the end of the call, Portman was backtracking -- he “declined to say” if he would vote for this proposal in the Senate and “did not give a direct answer.”

Here’s what they’re saying:

  • WCPN-FM Cleveland: “Last year Portman voted ‘no’ when a similar measure was proposed by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein as an amendment to an Obamacare repeal bill.”

  • Dayton Daily News: “In December, Portman opposed an amendment introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., which would allow the U.S. Attorney General to block the sale or transfer of a gun or explosive to a suspected or known terrorist.

  • Cleveland.com: “Portman voted against a proposal by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein [...] that would have allowed the U.S. attorney general to prevent any known or suspected terrorists from buying firearms or explosives.

  • USA Today: “Portman voted against a Democratic amendment [...] that would have barred suspected terrorists from buying weapons.

  • USA Today: “Asked if that was a reversal from his 2015 stance, Portman said no—and then he seemed confused about what the 2015 provision did and didn’t do amid further questions from reporters.”

  • Cleveland.com: “Portman declined to say whether he would vote for the Feinstein amendment now.”

  • USA Today: “How far the Ohio Republican would go on this hot-button issue, in this heated election year, is far from clear.”

  • Cleveland.com: “Portman initially maintained that the Feinstein amendment only applied to the federal no-fly list – a smaller list of people and had no due-process provisions. But after checking with an aide, the senator yielded that ‘maybe we had this wrong.’”

  • USA Today: “But asked if he would now support Feinstein bill, Portman did not give a direct answer.

  • Cleveland.com: “Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Ted Strickland also favors banning gun sales to people on the terror watch list. His campaign quickly jumped on Portman's mistake.”

  • Dayton Daily News: “Even before Portman spoke to reporters, his political opponents were leaping on the vote as an example of Portman giving in to gun rights groups at the expense of safety. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper called Portman’s December vote ‘reprehensible’ and ‘beyond disappointing. And former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat who is opposing Portman, wrote a blog post lambasting the vote. ‘I believe there can be no reasonable disagreement about making it more difficult for terrorists or those suspected of terrorist activity from obtaining weapons,’ he wrote.”

  • Wall Street Journal: “In Ohio on Tuesday, former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat running for the Senate, called on Republican Sen. Rob Portman to reverse his position on the watch list legislation from Ms. Feinstein. ‘The constant has been that these crimes are committed with guns—and that our leaders in Washington like Senator Portman are not taking simple, common sense steps to keep weapons out of the hands of those who would do us harm,’ Mr. Strickland wrote in a Medium post.”

  • Politico: “Ted Strickland used an op-ed to try to shame Sen. Rob Portman into supporting legislation barring people on the terror watch list from purchasing guns. ‘Can you look in the mirror today and say you have done everything possible to prevent the terrible tragedy that occurred in Orlando on Sunday?’  Strickland wrote. “If your answer is yes, then that is between you and your conscience. Ohio voters will offer their own judgment at the ballot box.”

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