Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Portman mentioned for veep

Bunning boosts Ohioan

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Vice President Rob Portman?

Rob Portman
        The Republican congressman from Terrace Park may not be on George W. Bush's short list of possible vice presidential candidates. But U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning put Mr. Portman among his top recommendations for vice presidential candidates for Mr. Bush to consider.

        “Rob Portman is high on my list,” Mr. Bunning, a Southgate Republican, said Tuesday during a Washington conference call with reporters.

        “He has been an effective congressman for the southwest part of Ohio ... and he would do a good job as vice president.”

        Mr. Bunning was one of about 450 Republican elected and party officials asked to submit recommendations on a vice presidential running-mate to the Bush campaign.

        “I've always had a lot of respect for Jim Bunning's judgment,” Mr. Portman said Tuesday, “but now I'm starting to wonder.

        “Seriously, I'm honored Jim would think that much of me, but I think I have a better chance of managing the Cincinnati Reds this year than being named a vice president candidate.”

        Mr. Portman is close to the Bush family.

        He served in the White House under former President Bush and has acted as a campaign adviser and fund-raiser for George W. Bush's presidential campaign.

        But his name does not typically come up in media reports and political discussions about Mr. Bush's potential running-mate.

        Tucker Eskew, a spokesman with the Bush campaign in Austin, Texas, said he could not comment on any speculation about a vice president being named or considered.

        “The governor is seeking a great deal of information from a wide circle of friends and allies, but all deliberations are being conducted privately,” he said.

        Also on Mr. Bunning's list of recommended running-mates for Mr. Bush were “any governor who might assist him” in winning the presidency, such as Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin or Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.


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