Pair of political strategists praise Rob Portman for his role in Senate

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two prominent national political strategists, one Republican and one Democrat, said that the country needs more senators like Ohio’s Rob Portman — who announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2022 — and not fewer.

Both of them — David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, and Chris Christie, former New Jersey governor and adviser to President Donald Trump — said Portman’s value comes from him being a cooperative moderate. 

In announcing his decision to retire, Portman, 65, said partisan gridlock factored into his decision.

Could Portman be the start of a trend, especially after the Capitol riots of Jan. 6?

“I think if that’s the case, it’s the wrong reaction, really,” Axelrod said. “What we should do is take the events of the last few months and the events of January 6th and take a good, hard look at ourselves and our politics. 

“And I am talking not just about politicians but voters as well, and say, how do we demand something better of ourselves and each other. I think it would be a tremendous blow if the reaction from what we’ve seen would be for people to withdraw.”

Said Christie: “I would agree with David wholeheartedly there. The fact is, what we need are more Rob Portmans, not less. What we need now are people who want to get things done and who understand that disagreeing on issues doesn’t make you and does not need to make you someone who can’t be friends with someone on the other side — to admire their work even when you disagree with it. 

And I think there has not been enough of this of late. And I agree with David that the voters are responsible as well. They’ve sent the people to Washington who are doing this.”

Axelrod and Christie will be joining NBC4’s Colleen Marshall at the New Albany Lecture Series on Wednesday for a discussion on civil discourse and debate. The event is free but a reservation is required. To learn more, follow this link.

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