MINSTER, Ohio -- As President Barack Obama and chief rival Mitt Romney pumped the breaks on partisan politics today, a frontrunner believed to be on the shortlist to become the next Republican vice presidential nominee showed no signs of toning down his rhetorical attacks.
Rob Portman, widely acknowledged to be a top contender to become Romney's VP pick, critiqued the president for recently saying, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that" and accused the Obama campaign of running misleading ads. Though the Ohio senator released a written statement earlier in the day regarding the massacre in Aurora, Colo., he did not address the shooting until he received a question during a media availability Friday afternoon.
When asked if the recent violence at all sheds light on the pettiness that has recently defined the presidential race, Portman said, "It certainly shows what's really important which is our families." But he added that he was "concerned about the tenor of the Obama attacks" and that misleading ads have shown that the Obama campaign "is not worthy of the incredible problems we face as a country."
During brief remarks in Florida earlier in the day, Obama offered condolences to the families of the victims and told the crowd, "There are going to be other days for politics."
Similarly, a campaign event Romney had scheduled in New Hampshire turned into a brief statement from the presumptive Republican nominee. "Ann [Romney] and I join the president and first lady -- and all Americans -- in offering our deepest condolences to those whose lives were shattered in a few moments of evil in Colorado," he said.
The president, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michele Obama and Ann Romney all canceled events on Friday. The Romney campaign also canceled planned radio interviews.
“Jane [Portman] and I join all Americans in expressing our condolences to the families and friends of those whose lives were cut short by the senseless act of violence in Colorado last night. They are in our prayers this morning, as are those victims who were injured and a community now in grief," read the statement released from Portman's office.
Portman also expressed caution about any impact the shooting at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" should have on gun control laws. "Let's see what the situation was. I don't know what the details are. I don't think we should make it a political discussion at this point," he said.
The Buckeye State senator is spending Friday in the western part of his home state, spending time with local business leaders.
He'll attend a fundraiser for Mitt Romney in Lima, Ohio, tonight.