Rob Portman’s Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Week

COLUMBUS — Sen. Rob Portman’s congressional recess in Ohio is off to a terrible start.

He’s faced blistering criticism from protesters and editorial boards for refusing to consider the Supreme Court nominee and damaging revelations of hypocrisy about his past statement that it is a “solemn responsibility” for the Senate to consider judicial nominees. And now Portman’s facing a developing scandal about his advocacy for a company that sold dangerously defective helmets to the U.S. military. To make matters even worse, the Cook Political Report just downgraded his chances for re-election, calling the race a “Tossup.”

See for yourself:

Cook Political Report: Ohio Senate Race Moves to Toss-Up. Sen. Portman’s chances at re-election were downgraded, as the the rating of the race was changed to “toss-up” from “lean Republican.”

The Huffington Post: GOP Senator Touts Work For Company That Allegedly Sold Faulty Helmets To Army: Rob Portman made sure it was able to bid for another helmet contract. “Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is touting his work on behalf of ArmorSource… What the ad doesn’t say is that earlier this month, ArmorSource paid $3 million to settle allegations that helmets it previously sold to the U.S. military…’Equipment that fails to meet performance standards not only cheats taxpayers, but can put lives at risk,’ said Benjamin Mizer, head of DOJ’s Civil Division…’”

Columbus Dispatch: Rob Portman and helmets. “‘The Republican lawmaker recalls how he intervened on behalf of ArmorSource… ,’ Huffington Post’s Christina Wilkie writes. “What the ad doesn’t say is that earlier this month, ArmorSource paid $3 million to settle allegations that helmets it previously sold to the U.S. military ‘did not conform to contract requirements and failed to meet contract performance standards.’” Americans want Senate to vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Portman keeps saying no. “A national poll shows most Americans want the U.S. Senate to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Sen. Rob Portman disagrees… This puts the Ohio Republican senator at risk of alienating large swaths of voters.”

Toledo Blade: Portman said considering judges a “solemn responsibility” of Senate in 2010. “In a debate six years ago, Rob Portman said confirming judges is a ‘solemn responsibility’ of the U.S. Senate… It’s a statement that former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said is at odds with the stance Mr. Portman has taken…”

Columbus Dispatch editorial: GOP blunders on nomination. “Once again, [Republicans like Sen. Portman] are making it easy to portray them as obstructionists… it is illogical to argue that the president already elected has less right to seat a new justice than a president who has yet to be elected.” editorial: Portman can take the highroad on Garland nomination. “Locked in a tight re-election battle this year, Sen. Rob Portman has decided to fall in line with Republican Party leaders in their sharply partisan and uncompromising stance on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination. That would be a mistake.”

Cincinnati Enquirer editorial: Reject Supreme Court gridlock, senators. “The Enquirer editorial board urges Portman, who’s up for re-election, and McConnell to reconsider their opposition to hearings for this nominee who has previously received bipartisan support. We elect our leaders to run government, but increasingly they seem to spend their time raising money for the next election, running for office and/or shutting down government to make a point.”

Toledo Blade editorial: Give judge a hearing, vote. “The Republican-controlled Senate — including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — has no justification for refusing to give the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland a fair hearing and a yes-or-no vote… If Senator Portman maintains his lockstep partisan obstructionism, Ohio voters will need to keep that in mind this Election Day.”

Associated Press: Rallies Urge Portman to Back Supreme Court Vote. “The protesters delivered copies of the U.S. Constitution to the senators… [Ted Strickland’s] criticism of Portman for opposing the confirmation hearings has been unrelenting.”

WSYX (ABC Columbus): Protesters want Portman to vote on Supreme Court pick. “A couple dozen protesters rallied outside Senator Rob Portman’s office Monday afternoon demanding he hold a vote in the Senate for President Barack Obama’s pick to the Supreme Court.”

Cincinnati CityBeat: Strickland Hits Portman on Refusal to Consider SCOTUS Nominee. “The political war over the next U.S. Supreme Court justice continues, and it could make a big impact in Ohio’s Senate race.”

WKYC (NBC Cleveland): “With a rising chant, protesters rallied outside Senator Portman’s Cleveland office… A flyover plane echoed protesters’ message.”

WKYC (NBC Cleveland): “The battle over President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination is now a big issue in Ohio’s Senate race… Outside Senator Rob Portman’s Cleveland office [protesters chant: “Do your job, Rob!] chanting protesters demanding Portman back hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.”

WSYX (ABC Columbus): “Protesters are telling [Portman] to do his job. They want a hearing on President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court… They came with signs and, of course, a bullhorn.”

WBNS (CBS Columbus): “Central Ohioans are making their voices heard… A group of about 50 people protested outside of Senator Rob Portman’s downtown Columbus office this afternoon. They called on him to fulfill his constitutional responsibility.”

WCMH (NBC Columbus): “Republican opposition to holding hearings on the President’s Supreme Court nominee is likely to become a significant campaign issue for some Senators, including Ohio Republican Rob Portman. Several dozen protesters holding a rally outside Senator Portman’s Columbus office…”

WLWT (ABC Cincinnati): “More than two dozen people took part in the ‘Do Your Job’ rally in Columbus today,” targeting Senator Portman.

WKRC (CBS Cincinnati): “Senator Rob Portman’s Columbus office was one of the 50 places at which protestors showed up today.”

Columbus Dispatch: Free trade is key issue in Ohio race for U.S. Senate. “In the clearest electoral choice in Ohio on international trade in a decade, Portman and Strickland will clash sharply over… free international trade… The voting records of Strickland and Portman are polar opposites…. Portman voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico and for Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China…”