Whether he’s tapped as Mitt Romney’s running mate or not, Sen. Rob Portman (R – Ohio) is sure to play a role in the race for president this fall. Literally.Yahoo News reporter Chris Moody has a fascinating feature story today about how Republicans have long turned to Portman for debate preparation, who has apparently nailed down the art of impersonating Democrats.
According to Moody, Portman’s past roles have included Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and, most recently, Barack Obama. (Portman says Edwards is the easiest to pull off.)
“He was not just the positions of Barack Obama — he became Barack Obama,” John McCain’s 2008 chief economic policy director Douglas Holtz-Eakin told Yahoo News. “Physical mannerisms, parsing of his voice, everything. He’s obviously the white guy from Cincinnati, but Obama has a particular set of vocal rhythms. Rob got all of that.”
In an interview with Yahoo, Portman described his approach to debate: “I don’t try to imitate the president, per se. Just take the policy positions and some of the same rhetoric,” he said. “It’s a good way to learn what the other side is thinking and how they approach problems.”
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