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Portman admits he smoked pot

Now it can be told: Sen. Rob Portman inhaled.

Portman, R-Ohio, sitting for an interview with Buzzfeed last week, admitted to smoking pot when he was younger, though he said he’s now very involved in drug prevention.

The news isn’t entirely new – it was reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2005, and Portman at that time said smoking marijuana was “something I regret.” Other politicians, including President Barack Obama, have copped to smoking weed as part of their youth, so the admission hardly makes Portman an outlier.

But what may be unusual is how seldom he’s been asked in his lengthy political career.

“I think I’ve been asked that now, in 20 years, three times,” he told interviewer John Stanton of Buzzfeed.

No tee time with President Obama

As part of his plan to woo members of the GOP, President Obama recently invited Portman to golf with him, but the Ohio senator was unable to go because of a prior commitment.

Portman said his absence was probably good for both the president and the golf course.

“I am so bad,” Portman said of his golf game during an appearance at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Tuesday. “I’m such a hacker.”

Portman, who was among the guests appearing before the foundation Tuesday, said he has high hopes that an upcoming need to increase the country’s debt limit might spark a long-term agreement on debt and deficit reduction. He said many of the big budget agreements during recent years, such as the 1990 budget deal and the Gramm-Rudman deal of 1985, occurred as a result of negotiations over the debt limit.

He said some in his party don’t have much urgency over reaching a deal, and are considering holding off until the 2014 or 2016 elections.

“I don’t think the country can wait,” he said.

Turner behind push for unmanned planes

Rep. Mike Turner this week led a letter of support signed by the Ohio congressional delegation supporting the selection of Ohio and Indiana to be one of six test sites for unmanned aircraft systems.

The Federal Aviation Administration is required to select the sites under a law passed last year. Turner, R-Dayton, and other lawmakers argue that selecting Ohio and Indiana would be an economic boon to the region.

The letter, which was sent to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood last week, argues that Ohio and Indiana already offer restricted air space as well as the logistical and technical advantages that the Federal Aviation Administration needs for its test site.

They also argued that existing FAA partners including the Air Force Research Laboratory, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Glenn Research Center, and the Naval Surface War Center Crane Division would be useful partners for the development of unmanned aerial systems.

“Our states are dedicated to strengthening existing partnerships with the FAA in seeking solutions to the integration of UAS into the national airspace,” the group wrote.“The United States can be the leader as these technologies emerge, and Ohio and Indiana want to lead the way.”

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