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Deficit Panel Was 'Very Close' to Deal: Sen. Portman
CNBC.com | January 12, 2012 | 12:49 PM EST

Politics killed any deal by the congressional deficit-cutting "supercommittee" after it came "very close" to an agreement, one member told CNBC Thursday.

"A month before the deadline we got pretty close. We touched gloves then went back to our respective corners," said Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican.

"It was tough because Democrats have a very different point of view on taxes and Republicans wanted to be sure we did something pro-growth" including corporate tax reform.

Portman, a member of the Senate budget and armed services committees, said he, too, was "disgusted, or maybe frustrated is a better word" the committee of 12, formed when a deal was reached last year to raise the debt ceiling, was unable to find a way to cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years by its Thanksgiving deadline.

"You've got to work together. You have to find common ground," said the senator, who has been touted as a potential running mate for Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Politics on both sides had a role in the failure, he said. But he singled out the role not played by President Barack Obama.

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