David Axelrod had no problem speculating on the Obama campaign’s conference call last night.A reporter asked about the potential of Ohio Sen. Rob Portman as Mitt Romney’s running mate in the fall. Axelrod spelled out exactly how the Obama campaign will attack him if he does so: tie him to the economic policies of President George W. Bush.
“The challenge with Senator Portman, is that Senator Portman was one of the architects of the last administration’s budget policies,” Axelrod said.
“And it’s just one more sign — if he does that,” Axelrod added of Romney picking him as the vice presidential nominee, “that he wants to go back to those policies.”
Axelrod unleashed specifics, hitting both Romney and Portman for their opposition to the automotive industry bailout. The auto industry, of course, is crucial to Ohio’s economy. He also said that Romney had “pooh-poohed manufacturing” during his time as Massachusetts governor. Manufacturing is another crucial industry in Ohio.
Did we mention Ohio is a swing state?
The Romney campaign was ready to counter almost immediately. At 8:50 p.m. last night — about an hour after the call with Axelrod and Obama’s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina ended — the Romney campaign sent out a statement from Portman grilling Obama on his own economic policies over his three-plus years in office.
“After three and a half years, it is clear that President Obama does not have a plan to get spending under control or our economy back on track. In less than two weeks, President Obama will be in Columbus, where he will argue for four more years of the same failed policies that have produced record unemployment and skyrocketing gas prices,” Portman said in a statement.
“Mitt Romney has a plan to create jobs, reduce spending, and restore America’s promise. Our country can’t afford four more years of President Obama – it is time to put a proven leader with the record to back it up in the White House. That is why I support Mitt Romney and why Ohio will support him in November.”
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