As President Obama starts a two day campaign swing through Colorado, one of Governor Romney's strongest surrogates and possible running mates is shadowing the president's trip with a counter campaign. Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman is holding five events on behalf of Mitt Romney, zigzagging across the crucial swing state Wednesday. The latest Quinnipiac / New York Times / CBS News poll shows Romney leading Obama by five points in the Centennial State.
Portman is on the short list for Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, expected to be announced in the coming weeks if not days. The Ohio Senator is a favorite for the ticket among Republicans who see Portman as a strong, do-no-harm candidate. But his geographic advantage can't be ignored. No republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio. Portman won his senate seat in 2010, defeating democrat Lieutenant Governor Lee Fischer with 57% of the vote.
Portman is popular in the Buckeye state, holding several high dollar fundraisers for the Romney campaign earlier this week. He had no trouble fundraising two years ago, out-raising Fischer by more than $5 million; a skill that will surely be put to use in the coming months by the republican ticket, whether it features Portman's name or not.
However the Ohio statesman served in the George W. Bush administration as both trade ambassador and budget director. Some republicans see that connection as drawback, something the Obama campaign would use to attack and blame Portman directly for the policies of the Bush administration.
Next week Portman will campaign with Romney in Ohio as part of a bus tour through several swing states, including Virginia and Florida. Other possible vice presidential contenders on Romney's short list, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, will also participate on the campaign trip.
Portman is not the only potential VP pick stumping for Romney Wednesday. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, also rumored to be at the top of Romney's running mate list, is holding events in the battleground state of Michigan. As of now, the Romney campaign has not confirmed whether Pawlenty will take part in next week's bus tour.