Portman Dismisses Talk of Joining McCain Ticket

Posted April 3, 2008 at 10:38am

Former Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman (R) said he doesn’t see himself on the presidential ticket this cycle.

In a phone interview Wednesday evening, the popular former Ohio Congressman all but but ruled out his chances of being on the GOP ticket with Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

“I’ll be frank with you,” Portman said. “I think there are a lot of great choices out there and I think he’s got plenty of other people to call first. I just don’t think about it much because I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

The former Ohio Congressman often has been mentioned as a possible candidate to complement McCain because he is very popular in his home state, which is almost certain to be a major presidential battleground once again this cycle. Some Republicans believe Portman’s relatively young age, 52, his background in budget issues and his home state could help the GOP win Ohio and turn out conservative voters across the country.

After serving in Congress for a dozen years, Portman spent a year as President Bush’s trade representative and another year as OMB chief.

But these days, Portman said, he’s just happy being back in Cincinnati.

“I am happy being home,” he said. “I don’t aspire to go back to Washington right now. But it’s an honor to be on anybody’s list right now, but I think he’s got a lot of other really great choices.”

Portman, who also is mentioned as a potential candidate for governor in 2010, said he is teaching, practicing law and speaking to local Republican organizations. The former Member from the 2nd district also demurred when asked about a gubernatorial bid.

“My current thought is that I’m really happy to be home and to be able to focus on being a better dad, son and husband for a while,” he said. “I have three teenagers and an 85-year-old father who I haven’t had so much time to spend with the last couple years. I’m not sure I’m ready to jump back into that level right now.”