Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are at the top of Mitt Romney's vice presidential list, but Portman's ties to former President Bush's trade and budget policies are raising red flags in Boston that picking him would open the doors to attacks from Team Obama that Romney is just a Bush clone.
"The American people made the decision on Bush and they rejected him in 2008," said a campaign associate. "That would just remind voters of Bush and what they didn't like about him."
In 2005, Portman became Bush's trade czar at a time when the administration was bragging about how jobs outsourcing would have a positive economic benefit. He later became Bush's budget director at a time of growing deficits.
The Obama campaign has not been directly tying Romney to Bush, but has eagerly looked for ways to suggest that the Republican wants to return to Bush-era policies. They have been pointing out that Romney's tax plans were tried under Bush and didn't create the promised jobs. But, they say, picking Portman would change that narrative.
That worries some Romney associates. "They can make it sound like we're Bush all over again and it puts us on defense," said another campaign associate. They note that Bush has decided against attending the Republican National Convention in part because he doesn't want to revive any remaining animosity toward him and his policies.
A Portman associate, however, said that he remains at the top of the VP list because he does have a good record from the Bush years to brag on, and is a popular senator from a state Romney needs to win. What's more, Portman beat back similar charges in winning his Senate seat in 2010.
Gay lobby hits Chick-fil-A truck
The nation's largest gay lobby, the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, Thursday joined the growing protest movement against the Chick-fil-A fast food chain for opposing gay marriage.
"Consumers should have all the facts about Chick-fil-A's anti-LGBT history, and then make informed decisions about whether they want to continue to support a business that proudly touts its connections to discriminatory groups," said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz.
The group stood by the new Chick-fil-A food truck in downtown Washington with several posters reading, "My boyfriend used to like your waffle fries," "Dear Chick-fil-A stop making unicorns cry," "Your chicken sandwich comes with a side of homophobia," and other lines.
The view of the restaurant's management has drawn sneers from the mayors of Boston and Chicago, though Washington's political establishment hasn't taken a position.
Scalia: TV in court would 'mis-educate" Americans
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who once supported having TV cameras in the courtroom, explains in a new interview that it would instead "mis-educate" Americans on court happenings and snippets would be taken out of context by news stations.
"I am sure it will mis-educate the American people," Scalia told C-SPAN's Brian Lamb, who has spent years pushing to put his cameras in the Supreme Court.
Scalia, in an interview to be broadcast Sunday as part of C-SPAN's "Q & A" program, said televising public court sessions wouldn't really show how judges make decisions. "They wouldn't see all of that," he said.
Lamb challenged Scalia, saying that as an advocate of the First Amendment he should be supportive of cameras in the courtroom. But Scalia said that the First Amendment "doesn't require us to televise our proceedings."
C-SPAN provided Secrets with excerpts of the interview, in which he also said that the judges all get along despite being politically divided. And when asked about a recent call from Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne to step down for his vote in a recent immigration case, Scalia asked, "Who?"
Paul Bedard, The Examiner's Washington Secrets columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears each weekday in the Politics section and on washingtonexaminer.com.