The Corner

Portman, the ‘Unsung Hero’ of Debate Prep

After weeks of relative silence, the Romney campaign is at last talking about debate prep on the record.

Senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tells NRO that Senator Rob Portman of Ohio deserves a lot of credit for helping the team. “He was the unsung hero,” Fehrnstrom says.

During the prep sessions, Portman was a master at parroting President Barack Obama’s views. “But he didn’t do a physical impression,” Fehrnstrom says. “He’s not Rich Little.”

A few feet away, I run into Portman. He says, firmly, that he is not the story. But he does acknowledge that debating Romney in empty Marriott ballrooms, and at a secluded Vermont estate, was fun.

Portman, who played Obama, got to pester Romney for hours. “There is no line,” Portman chuckles, when I ask whether he ever went too far. “You just try to be authentic and push him a little.”


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