Sen. Portman talks Trump, Kasich and re-election

January 15, 2016: US Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to talk about the landscape of presidential election and his own re-election campaign in 2016.

CLEVELAND -- Senator Rob Portman is on the campaign trail running for his second term.

Friday included stops at the Cleveland Clinic, the Boat Show at the I-X Center and a visit to Channel 3 for a wide-ranging interview.

Portman raised eyebrows last fall, declaring he would support Donald Trump if he were the Republican nominee.

That has not changed. But Portman still does not think Trump will top the GOP ticket.

"I don't think he's going to be the nominee...It looks like he's not going to win in Iowa....At the end of the day, people are going to vote for someone who they think can actually do the job...people don't just want a bunch of hot air and speeches," he said.

He strongly supports Ohio Gov. John Kasich's bid for the Presidency. And he thinks if Kasich's second place New Hampshire poll numbers hold up, he says he'll get a lot of momentum and attention that could build into a possible path and "catapult" Kasich to victory in other states.

What impact would Donald Trump or Ted Cruz lead Republican ticket have on Portman's race?

He claims regardless of the standard bearer, he will run on his own record and priortiies.

"What you have to do is just be yourself, " he said.

That means voters will hear a lot about job creation, balanced budgets, less regulation, tax reform, helping ex-offenders and tackling the heroin problem.

Perhaps surprisingly, he believes Congress can make headway on some of these issue in a big election year.

Portman plans a series of activities around the Republican Convention, including working on a Habitat for Humanity House, set himself apart from the main event and speeches.

He spoke about President Obama's State of the Union address.

"I think he's living in a different world than a lot of us, " he said.

He expressed concern about the growing dangers of terrorism.

" I think we're in danger, right now, of another terrorist attack in this country and that threat will not be diminished unless we change the way....we're leading around the world, specifically taking on ISIS," he said.

He is not advocating sending a big wave of ground troops, but says , " We need to send bombs and airplanes first."

Supporting John Kasich, conveniently segues into a chance to go after his likely opponent and Kasich's predecessor Ted Strickland who presided over a struggling economy.

He says voters will have a clear choice.

He is for repealing and replacing Obamacare and against most proposed gun regulations. Some may think his expressed support for background checks is a slight  "softening" of his strongly Pro-NRA positions.

And going from political football to just plain football, he weighed in on the Browns' new coach Hue Jackson.

Portman's a passionate Cincinnati Bengals fan. He says Jackson is the "right guy" to turn around the Browns and the Bengals loss is the Browns gain.


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