Opening Act: Portman

Ohio Senator Rob Portman and a supporter of US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney attend a campaign rally at Avon Lake High School in Avon lake, Ohio, on October 29, 2012.

Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

All other news of conservative rebranding is on pause for a few hours. Sen. Rob Portman, a runner-up for the 2012 vice presidential nomination, has announced that 1) his son is gay, and that 2) he, Rob Portman, now supports gay marriage.

Portman acknowledged that his support for same-sex marriage is a “change in my position that I have had in Congress and also here in the Senate the last couple of years.” But he said that change “came about through a process” after Will, now a junior at Yale University, told his parents in February 2011 that he is gay.


“It allowed me to think about this issue from a new perspective and that’s as a dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister have,” Portman said.


Up to now, a lot of the Republicans making bold strides toward gay marriage were consultants (whose corporate work would benefit from the stance) or retired pols. Portman is one of the acknowledged thought leaders of the congressional party.

Brian Beutler gets a read-out from the president’s meeting with Senate Democrats, where he asked them to “address the issue” of stalled and filibustered nominees.

Lost in the headlines this week, the downfall of Florida Lt. Gov Jennifer Carroll is worth reading up on. The GOP wasn’t exactly overflowing with black female military veteran politicians, and Carroll had been groomed for big things since at least 2000.

At CPAC, Republicans worry about blowing the Senate again.

My colleague John Dickerson tells the story of the first presidential press conference, and it’s (unsurprisingly) delightful.

And while the Assault Weapons Ban is doomed, this Cruz-Feinstein video will last as a Rorshach test of your Second Amendment allegiances.