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Government and Politics

Ohio's Sen. Portman: Don't read presidential ambitions into his speech at Romney's
Former GOP presidential candidate is matching donors and 2016 prospects this weekend in Utah

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M.L. Schultze
Portman called for "constructive conservatism" in a speech about poverty at the American Enterprise Institute.
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Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Rob Portman will be speaking to Republican donors at Mitt Romney’s Utah retreat this weekend in what’s viewed as a trial run for Republican presidential candidates. But as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, the first-term senator says don’t read too much into it.

LISTEN: Portman's speech themes

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Portman says he’s still writing the speech. But he knows it will detail ideas to stimulate the economy – as well as cautions about the need for his party to recognize that no matter how strong that economy is, some people will need help. 

(I’m going to) “talk about ideas and ways to combat poverty, talk about drug addiction in that context, but also the work I’ve done with ex-offenders. I’m going to talk about how we need a plan to grow this economy to put people back to work, and until the Republican party does a better job communicating that and many people understand that we do have serious and workable ideas, it’s difficult for us to win elections in a presidential year.” 

Portman was on Mitt Romney’s short list for vice presidential candidate in 2012. But he says nothing about his own presidential aspirations for 2013 should be read into this weekend’s appearance. He says his primary concern is seeing the GOP win control of the Senate this year.

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