Ohio's Rob Portman Ponders 2016 Presidential Run

Image: Ohio's Rob Portman Ponders 2016 Presidential Run

Monday, 14 Jul 2014 11:19 AM

By Andrea Billups

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If none of his GOP colleagues step up to credibly challenge Hillary Clinton in a 2016 presidential bid, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman says he might make his own run, The Washington Post reported.

"I’m not particularly eager to do it myself, and having been involved in six presidential campaigns, I know what it’s like. But if nobody running is able to win and willing to address these issues, then I might have a change of heart," Portman told the Post.

The senator, 58, told Bloomberg News that a more moderate candidate needs to step up from his party. He added that Hillary Clinton has swung from liberal to mainstream in what is expected to be her second go-round for the White House. He wondered if she had not overshot her political mark.

"The Democratic Party is more populist and more liberal than it was when she ran last time, and yet she’s more mainstream. It is no longer the party of Bill Clinton," he said.

Portman, speaking in the wake of the Republican National Committee selecting Cleveland for its 2016 nominating convention, said his party needs to increase its broader outreach, including attracting younger members.

"You can’t become a national party unless you do a better job reaching those between 18 and 30. They are the voters of tomorrow, and we want them to listen to us on jobs and Obamacare," he told the Post.

"We need a broader party. If we’re not doing better with millennials and women and Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans and others, we will have a tough time being a majority party at the national level," he told Bloomberg.

Portman, served as a U.S. representative from 1993 to 2005 before returning to Capitol Hill in the Senate in 2011. He has fiscal experience and hails from a swing state, but also has come out in support of same-sex marriage after learning his own son was gay — an issue for younger voters. He is also thoughtful but open-minded to sensitive issues, holding the line on new taxes while in Washington, but offering a plan to tie the federal minimum wage standard to inflation, The Fiscal Times reported.

Portman, who has noted his concern over not displacing close allies like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, in making any decisions, earned praise from former presidential nominee Mitt Romney as a "very credible" candidate, should he choose to run.

"Rob has demonstrated a kind of practicality that is appealing," Romney told the Post. "There is a stream in my party that is anxious to fight but not as concerned with winning, and I think that’s the minority stream. I don’t think that kind of Republican is going to be the nominee. I believe the nominee will be a mainstream, practical Republican."

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