CINCINNATI (AP) — Getting passed over for Mitt Romney's running mate hasn't kept Ohio Sen. Rob Portman from being a key player in the presidential race.
Portman gets a lot of credit for getting the Republican nominee ready for the debates that recharged the race, and he has been a leading surrogate on Sunday TV talk shows and in rallies.
Now Portman is dedicating himself to a mission that could be crucial for Romney — winning Ohio.
The senator has taken the lead in trying to counter President Barack Obama's criticism of Romney on the auto industry bailout. And he plans to work hard for Romney around the state.
A Romney victory likely would mean speculation about a Portman role in his administration. Defeat likely would mean second-guessing for not picking Portman.