(ASHLAND, Ohio) — There are few moments that change a politician’s life as dramatically as being picked to be a presidential running mate.
The scenario goes something like this: The call comes asking you to join the ticket. If you accept, your world as you once knew it changes in an instant. You are descended upon by a robust Secret Service detail and almost entirely new staffers who work together to seal you off from a life you once considered “normal.”
You are now an integral part of a sprawling national campaign. The press core you know by name expands exponentially to include dozens of people you’ve probably never seen in your life. And with that new group comes the searing glare of the national news media. From the moment you are announced until Election Day, you life is a sprint through swing states, a blur of speeches, and baby kissing.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, however, says he hasn’t spent any time thinking about the way his life might change if that call comes from Mitt Romney.
“The truth is we live our lives as if it will never happen. We really do,” Portman said when asked whether he and his family were ready if the call comes. “In our Senate office, we’re continuing to work for Ohio and promote legislation as if we’re going to stay in the Senate. We really don’t think about that and we’re not planning on that.”
Portman, 56, held a volunteer appreciation event Monday in Ashland, Ohio, with Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, where he rallied a crowd of about 40 supporters around Romney and other Republicans on the Ohio ticket in November.
Portman said all the stumping he has done in recent months on behalf of Romney was an “honor” and an opportunity to get “get the message out.” He campaigns for Romney, he says, because he thinks the former Massachusetts governor has “the right answers,” not because he wants to be his running mate.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN