U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, in New Hampshire to stump for GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown, made not one mention of Brown's potential Democratic opponent, Jeanne Shaheen, during a lengthy speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester on Tuesday morning.
Portman, R-Ohio, talked about the threat of ISIS, Burger King's potential move to Canada, and what it will take to turn America around. Much of his talk also focused on the importance of bipartisanship and civility in politics, which might explain his hesitance to call out Shaheen by name even while criticizing other top Democrats like President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Portman was set to appear with Brown later on Tuesday at an event in New Castle. He mentioned Brown by name during his speech at the New England Council's Politics & Eggs breakfast, saying he was happy to be invited to speak in the Granite State since he had been planning to campaign for Brown at some point anyway.
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Portman, who is said to be considering a run for president in 2016, struck a presidential tone as he spoke of the need to reach across the aisle to solve the country's problems. He twice quoted Ronald Reagan as an example of someone who was always willing to make the tough decisions.
"We're in deep trouble here at home," he said. "With this weak economy, the American Dream is really in trouble."
But he then struck a more optimistic tone, saying "I do think there is an opportunity to get back to the growth we're used to" by implementing a new energy strategy, increasing exports and reforming the tax code.
Portman also touched on ISIS and the recent execution of New Hampshire journalist James Foley, saying ISIS "truly is a national security threat to our country."
He spoke of the hotly contested 2014 Senate races as well.
"Let's face it, it's too close to call," he said. "It's going to be very close this year." But he said he remains confident that Republicans like Brown will prevail.