HEMPSTEAD, New York — In a visit with reporters before the second presidential debate here at Hofstra University, Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who has played Barack Obama in debate preparation sessions with Mitt Romney, said he doubts a “new” and “improved” Barack Obama will be able to even the score after losing the first debate on October 3 in Denver.
“They all say he’s going to come out swinging, he’s going to be a new Barack Obama — new, different, improved,” Portman said. “I don’t think style is his problem, actually. I think it’s more substance. I think he needs to have new policy proposals that he doesn’t have. I’ve been playing the role…I’ve actually been looking for what those great new ideas are for the next for years, to be able to use them in the debate prep. And I haven’t found them.”
On his own side, Portman said viewers should expect to see “a Mitt Romney who is like he was at the last debate.” Romney, Portman said, “is comfortable with his positions, who he is, comfortable not just with his record, but more importantly, he’s going to talk about what America can be over the next four years of his presidency.”