Rob Portman, a possible VP pick, knocks Obama for lack of ‘presidential leadership’

Chris Moody
Political Reporter
The Ticket

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who many speculate is on Mitt Romney's vice presidential short list, took a shot at President Barack Obama on Tuesday for what he called a lack of "presidential leadership" during deficit reduction negotiations last year.

Portman served on the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction in 2011, which was established to create a plan to reduce the federal government's budget deficit. The so-called "super committee" ultimately failed, and Portman said Tuesday that Obama shares the blame.

"It's about presidential leadership, and partly—frankly—it's providing cover to your own party," Portman said at a fiscal summit hosted by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in Washington, D.C., in response to a question about difficulties coming to an agreement on deficit reduction. "I will say that Democrats needed a little help in terms of the super committee. We didn't have that. In fact, what we had was a veto threat. It wasn't done just the way President Obama wanted it done, and that's not leadership."

Portman conceded later that he thought Republicans were "partly" to blame for the ballooning budget deficit for supporting rising spending during the Bush administration and failing to reform entitlement spending.

"Both Democrats and Republicans are partly to blame because they took their eye off the ball," he said. "And again, some of it was understandable—after 9/11—but that doesn't mean it was the right thing to do."

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