15 Genuinely Interesting Things About Rob Portman

The US Senator from Ohio would be the leading candidate to be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential choice, if he wasn’t widely viewed as a stiff. Actually, according to a Portman ally, he’s kind of a badass.

1. He learned Spanish from Mexican cowboys while working on a border ranch. He worked on three cattle ranches in high school and college.

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2. He wrote a chapter in the book “First Descents. In Search of Wild Rivers” about his experience smuggling a kayak into China in the 1980s to kayak the Yangtze River.

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3. He has a titanium collarbone from a mountain biking accident in 2010. He dislocated his shoulder this year whitewater kayaking.

This is not actually Rob Portman’s collarbone, just an example.

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4. He assembled a chicken coop for his wife’s Christmas present this year and he gave her four chickens that live in their backyard. They lay four eggs a day.*

This is not actually Rob Portman’s chicken coop, just an example.

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5. And he does a great impression of a chicken.

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6. He once kayaked the entire 1,900 mile length of the Rio Grande River.

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7. He’s a lifetime hunter and fisherman who bagged a turkey last month on first day of hunting season.

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8. Portman and his siblings own the oldest continuously operated business in Ohio, the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio, which has been visited by 12 Presidents since 1803.

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9. His wife Jane, who is now a Republican, was once a Democratic Congressional staffer and once worked for Tom Daschle.

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10. He wrote a book about the history of the Shakers and their community near Lebanon, Ohio.

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11. He has played the roles of Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama in debate preparation.

Gerald Herbert / AP
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12. He coached his daughter Sally’s soccer team and still coaches indoor soccer today.

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13. He wrote 12 pieces of legislation that were signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton.

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14. He met his wife on a blind date.

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15. He’s been a canoe racer his entire life and will race again this year in the Ohio River race, where his son and him have won their division three times.

Cincinnati Inquirer

ID: 282149

CORRECTION: Portman’s chickens lay roughly four eggs a day total, not per chicken.

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Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at

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