Senator Portman: "I intend to stay where I am"

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Senator Rob Portman responded to questions Friday about a possible run for Vice President, the latest jobs report, and the ongoing fight in Washington over student loan interest rates.

Portman spoke to reporters before appearing at a Queen City function Friday featuring businessman Steve Forbes.

When asked about whether he would consider a run for Vice President, Portman denied any interest in leaving his current role as U.S. Senator.

"I intend to stay where I am and make the biggest difference I can," Portman said.

Going on to say that Mitt Romney has "a lot of great choices" to choose from around the country.

"I think I'm in the right place to be able to serve and help our state and help our country," Portman added.

FOX19 asked Rob Portman if he felt Romney could afford not to choose him as a running mate considering historically, no Republican candidate has made it to the White House without the support of Ohio.

"There are lots of important states," Portman responded. "He was in Virginia yesterday, he's in Pennsylvania today, he was in Florida recently."

While he recognized Ohio is one of the critical swing states at stake, Portman argued he can be just as useful to the campaign in his current role.

"I'm going to work my heart out for him in Ohio," Portman said. "I don't need to be on the ticket to be able to help [Romney] in Ohio."

Portman also touched on the ongoing issue of student loan interest rates and the frustration that some students feel as representatives "play politics" with the issue.

"I agree," Portman offered. "As you know Republicans in the House and the Senate agree with the President that there be another year of these relatively low interest rates 3.4 percent. The question is whether it's paid for or not."

When FOX19 questioned him about timing, Portman responded by saying he believes agreement can be reached before the clock runs out on the current rate.

"The [plan] that I think is likely to be supported by the Senate Republicans, I'm supporting it, is one that the President in the past and other Democrats have said that they could live with," Portman said.

He says he plan to funding is part of the President's healthcare bill, but says it is a part that was added to the bill in the Senate.

Portman also talked about the "disappointing" job report released Friday.

"You don't want to unemployment go down slightly because people are leaving the workforce," Portman argued. "You want it to go down because people are finding jobs."

Portman made sure to reference President Obama's visit to Ohio State University planned for Saturday.

"He'll give a good speech as he always does, but I think the voters of Ohio are looking, not too much for rhetoric, but results," Portman said. "And the results are disappointing."

Portman argued President Obama has not delivered on his previous campaign promises.

"Facts are stubborn things, but when you look at what's happened: we haven't cut the deficit in half as he promised, we haven't seen unemployment go under six percent as he promised. It's been disappointing. It's sad."

Portman went on to argue support for his own party's promises; standing firm in support of Romney.

"We need someone who is going to focus more on the next generation than the next election and that's why I'm delighted that Mitt Romney is our candidate," Portman said.

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