Rob Portman in 2010 OH Senate Debates


On Free Trade: Pass more trade agreements to increase Ohio exports

On trade, Portman favors passing more trade agreements to increase Ohio exports and encouraging the Obama administration to get tough on China over currency manipulation. Fisher insists that trade agreements should be fair and accused Portman of not doing enough to enforce existing trade agreements when he served as President George W. Bush's trade representative.
Source: Dayton Daily News coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 13, 2010

On Health Care: Repeal new health reform; it's a job killer

On health care, Fisher supports the new health care reform law, while Portman wants to repeal it, calling it a big government approach and job killer that fails to contain costs.
Source: Dayton Daily News coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 13, 2010

On Homeland Security: Let the military decide on don't-ask-don't-tell

On Don't ask, don't tell, Portman says it should be up to the military to decide whether to repeal the policy on gays in the military. Fisher said if someone is willing to serve and risk their lives, Americans should thank them regardless of their religion, race or sexual orientation.
Source: Dayton Daily News coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 13, 2010

On Principles & Values: If you like the way things are going, support my opponent

Portman & Fisher tangled over jobs, gays in the military, tax cuts and who deserves the blame for Ohio's sluggish economy. They each pointed fingers at one another.

Portman said, "One thing we need to do is to not promote policies in Washington that he's promoting that makes it harder to get ahead in Ohio."

"In this election, you have a very, very clear choice," Fisher told debate viewers. "You can choose someone who has been on the ground in every corner of this state working to save jobs in the middle of this national recession and is just as angry as you are at the Washington insiders who caused this recession. Or you can choose my opponent, Congressman Portman, who the Washington Post calls Mr. Washington."

Portman said, "If you like the way things are going, think we're headed in the right direction, you should probably support my opponent. If you're ready for a change, if you believe there's a better way, I hope you'll join our cause."

Source: Dayton Daily News coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 13, 2010

On Tax Reform: Any tax increase would hurt the fragile economy

Portman painted Fisher as the status quo responsible for the economic woes. "The fact is, Ohio is losing ground and we need to catch up," Portman said.

"Let's focus first on what policies got us into this recession," said Fisher."

On taxes, Fisher supports extending tax cuts for the middle class but letting them expire for millionaires and billionaires. Portman contends that any tax increase would hurt the fragile economy.

Source: Dayton Daily News coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 13, 2010

On War & Peace: Arbitrary deadline for withdrawal lets enemy wait it out

On Afghanistan, Fisher opposed President Obama's plan to send more troops to Afghanistan and supports setting a deadline for withdrawal. Portman says an arbitrary deadline only allows the enemy a chance to wait it out.
Source: Dayton Daily News coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 13, 2010

On Corporations: More than 70 company tours & plant visits, to stay in touch

The two tussled over who is in better touch with Ohio businesses. Portman, as he frequently does on the campaign trail, touted the more than 70 company tours and plant visits he's made to illustrate that he is attentive to the needs of businesses. And he suggested Fisher let companies [leave Ohio] by not staying in touch with them.

He cited as an example the air freight company DHL which devastated Wilmington when it began shuttering operations in 2008. DHL shocked city and state officials when it announced plans in 2008 to discontinue ground delivery services, which led to the end of operations in Wilmington and the loss of nearly 8,000 jobs.

Fisher responded to Portman's criticism about company visits that he doesn't need to tour factories because he's has on-the-ground experience negotiating deals and saving companies.

Portman shot back: "Maybe you ought to visit some more of those factories because that's not what I'm hearing."

Source: Cleveland Plain-Dealer coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 8, 2010

On Free Trade: Served as trade representative under Pres. George W. Bush

The candidates challenged each other over jobs and taxes and who is best able to help revive Ohio's battered economy.

Fisher said Portman has backed trade policies that have sent Ohio jobs overseas. He repeatedly sought to tie Portman to economic policies of former President George W. Bush, in whose administration Portman served as trade representative.

Portman said Fisher's proposals would mean job-killing higher taxes. "You can't continue to raise taxes," he said.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland implemented a tax cut in 2005 that resulted in state income taxes that are 16.8 percent less than they were in 2004, said a spokeswoman for Fisher, Ohio's lieutenant governor [under Strickland].

Source: Business Week coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 8, 2010

On Jobs: High unemployment rate creates Ohio brain drain

Ohio's unemployment rate was 10.1% in August, placing it among the 10 states with the highest rates in the country. "People all around the state are mad," Fisher said. "They are mad as hell that we're giving tax breaks to large companies that send jobs overseas, but not giving tax breaks to companies that put their jobs right here."

Portman said the high unemployment rate is creating a "brain drain" for Ohio. "Ohio is falling behind," he said. "We're losing businesses to other states. Some of the bes and brightest young people in Ohio are leaving our state."

Fisher sought to deflect Portman's criticism that he wasn't personally involved in the effort to save jobs. He said you do so "one job at a time, one business at a time." He cited successful efforts to save jobs in his work with Gov. Strickland.

Portman said he is committed to direct involvement to save and create jobs and highlighted a recent encounter with an unemployed Cleveland mother looking for work.

Source: Business Week coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 8, 2010

On Principles & Values: A top adviser to President George W. Bush

Fisher opened his remarks declaring that Ohio voters are "mad as hell" over Republican tax, trade, and job policies.

Portman, a top adviser to President George W. Bush, stuck to his main campaign theme: Fisher and the Democrats are to blame for Ohio's nearly 400,000 job losses.

Both candidates argued that other was of more of a career politician and insider, which injected energy into the debate. Fisher referred to Portman--a former corporate lawyer--as a lobbyist, Mr. Washington, a rubber stamp and the chief architect of Bush policies.

Asked by a debate panelist to reconcile such claims with his own long career as a political insider, Fisher said, "The bottom line is not so much whether you serve, it's who you serve. I think he's serving the lobbyists and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the insurance industry and Wall Street," Fisher said.

Source: Cleveland Plain-Dealer coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 8, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Budget director for President George W. Bush

Fisher said Portman is responsible for the national recession due to his policies as budget director for former President George W. Bush. Portman says Fisher was in charge of job creation in Columbus when Ohio lost 400,000 jobs.

A big moment came when Fisher evoked the name of legendary Buckeye coach Woody Hayes when talking about saving jobs at plants like Cooper Tire in Findlay. "It means that we're going down that field, just like Woody Hayes did. Three yards and a cloud of dust, and we are not giving up," he said.

Portman responded by saying, "I think it's an insult to Woody Hayes' incredible record at Ohio State to somehow compare him to what's happening in Ohio the last four years. It hasn't been a successful game. We've been losing the game."

Source: WTOL-11 coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 5, 2010

On Corporations: More favorable policy: encourage business development

Fisher sought to tie his opponent to the Bush administration, reminding viewers of Portman's service as budget director and US trade representative. Under Portman's watch, Fisher said, the federal deficit ballooned and Ohio lost 100,000 jobs to China. " It's time that Congressman Portman took responsibility for his role in helping cause this recession," Fisher said. Portman dismissed the jab as a partisan attack and urged Fisher to answer for the 400,000 Ohio jobs that have disappeared over the past 4 years during Fisher's tenure as state development director.

Fisher called for more stringent trade and tax policies to discourage companies from moving overseas. Portman's economic solutions included more favorable tax and regulatory policies to encourage business development, more effective workforce training programs, and undefined spending cuts to lower the deficit. He said his health-care plan would include provisions to restrict malpractice lawsuits, a GOP priority left out of the new law.

Source: Washington Post coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 5, 2010

On Social Security: Bush's proposal was sound, but I'm not for privatization

Fisher and Portman sparred over jobs, Social Security and trade in their first of three Senate debates, drawing a stark contrast for voters as the state struggles to recover from the recession. Fisher sought to tie his opponent to the Bush administration reminding viewers of Portman's service as budget director and US trade representative.

Fisher rejected cutting Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age, although he does want a bipartisan commission to address the entitlement program's long-term fiscal problems.

Although the Bush administration had sought to create private Social Security accounts, Portman said it was "not true" that he supported privatizing the program. Fisher often quotes from a 2007 interview in which Portman called the Bush proposal "very sound."

Portman admonished Fisher to "stop scaring seniors" about Social Security. But he added, "We do need to look at reforming the system" to ensure that the entitlement program survives for future generations

Source: Washington Post coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate Oct 5, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Ohio Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Ohio Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Rob Portman.
Click here for a profile of Rob Portman.
Rob Portman on other issues:
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Jobs
Principles
Social Security
Tax Reform
Technology
War/Peace
Welfare
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Page last updated: Nov 01, 2010