Rob Portman is running for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat in 2010 that is being vacated by retiring-Sen. George Voinovich (R). But Portman is also running from someone. Portman, who spent 12 years representing Ohio’s 2nd Congressional district has a campaign website that wants Ohioans to know he grew up learning the value of “hard work, leadership, and fiscal responsibility.” Notably, however, there’s an important name missing from Portman’s biography: George W. Bush.
For a politician who served in President Bush’s cabinet and who spent “his entire career in the orbit of the Bush family,” it’s a notable omission. In 2005, Portman gave up his congressional seat to serve as Bush’s U.S. Trade Representative and, later, as Office of Management and Budget Director. The AP wrote of Portman: “For an administration that cherishes loyalty, it’s difficult to find a more faithful supporter [of President Bush] than Rob Portman.” Bush, in turn, showered his “good friend” with praise:
I am here to say goodbye to a good friend. … Recently, Rob Portman came and told me that after 14 years of public service in Washington, he’s ready to head home to be with Jane and the family. I’ve known him for many years. There’s no finer man in public service than Rob Portman. He’s been a trusted adviser, and Laura and I are going to miss him. … I thank Rob for his service and good advice and, most of all, his friendship.
Self-described on his website as a “budget hawk,” Portman’s record under Bush proves otherwise. Over the period of Portman’s tenure, the budget deficit “nearly doubled.” The nation’s unemployment rate ballooned from 4.6 percent to 7.6 percent by the time Bush left office. Only 26 percent of Ohioans approved of Bush’s handling of the economy in 2008.
Now, Bush’s “trusted adviser” doesn’t seem anxious to acknowledge all the “good advice” he gave to President Bush.