Sen. Rob Portman called Republican Sen. John McCain a “true hero,” and said he was “blessed for having known” the Arizona senator who died last weekend at age 81.
Joining other senators from both parties as they paid tribute Tuesday to McCain on the Senate floor, Portman, R-Ohio, said McCain “lived the motto” of his 2008 presidential campaign against Democrat Barack “which was simply: Country First. Always.”
Portman told the Senate about how he played the role of Obama as McCain prepared for the presidential debates. Portman joked that he took that “role very seriously – maybe too seriously” at times. Portman’s job was to “get under” McCain’s skin during the practice debates and acknowledged at times he did.
“Needless to say, he wasn't happy with me during those debate sessions,” Portman said.
Two years later when Portman was elected to the Senate, McCain would jokingly tell reporters that Portman was “the jerk” who played Obama.