Ohio’s junior US Senator – who’s the candidate many experts are betting on as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick – is back in the US after a trip to the Middle East. Republican Rob Portman talked with reporters yesterday from the United Arab Emerates before he was to board an overnight flight back to Washington. Portman said the trip had been planned a while ago as part of his responsibility as a Senator, and had nothing to do with the talk that he might be the GOP’s VP.
Portman said this might be the last opportunity to see troops in Afghanistan before 23-thousand of them are withdrawn this fall. While two Congressmen joined him on the second half of his trip, Portman met on his own with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, which some have seen as a surprising assignment for a freshman Senator. Portman says he talked to Barak about a tank that’s being produced in part in Lima (leye-muh). The Obama administration has proposed cutting back production that that plant.