Republican nominee Mitt Romney “went out of his way to tell the president where he agreed with him,” Ohio Sen. Rob Portman told Newsmax TV, which is what undecided voters weary of personal attacks may have been looking for.
The Republican Portman, who helped Romney prepare for the debates, said the former Massachusetts governor “excelled in two ways: One, he did get it back to the economy and he, once again, was very effective and devastating in talking about the economic problems we face and the fact that he's got an agenda for the future.”
“Second: On the foreign policy front, in effect, he did the same thing.” Portman said. “He talked about some of the very real concerns we have, particularly in the Middle East right now — the chaos that's going on there, the rise of extremism — and he talked about a strategy and a vision going forward whereas the president was mostly on the attack.
“For an undecided voter in Ohio or in Florida, they're not looking for more attacks. They're looking for somebody who's going to talk about how to make their lives better and how to make the world safer,” he said. “So this debate built on the first two in a way that was very positive for Mitt Romney.”
Portman noted some distinctions Romney made were key, such as what he believes is the No. 1 threat to country — a nuclear-armed Iran.
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“I will say that Gov. Romney also went out of his way to tell the president where he agreed with him,” Portman said. “That was very refreshing to undecided voters who are tired of these political attacks. Gov. Romney was very frank. He said: 'Look, I'm glad you went after bin Laden. . . . But you know what? Killing senior leadership is not a strategy. That's not sufficient for us to deal with this problem.' Then he laid out a vision.”
Portman said the response was just Romney being himself.
“It's just what he does naturally,” he said. “He does it on the campaign; he does it on the stump. He's a guy who is thoughtful, he's knowledgeable, he understands what's going on around the world — that came through very clearly tonight — and he was reassuring. That's his personality. That's who he is. That's how he was a success in business, a success as governor working on a bipartisan basis, was a success at the Olympics.”
He concluded, “What the American people have seen in these three debates is the real Mitt Romney, not the Mitt Romney they've seen in Democrat attack ads. And that's why his numbers are better. That's why he's got the momentum on his side right now. That's why the president was on the attack so much because he sees this slipping away from him. So these debates, all three of them, have been a great opportunity for Governor Romney.”
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