* Budget: Mention Portman’s name to any — literally, any — Democratic operative and they will immediately note that he was Bush’s budget director — he served from June 2006 through August 2007 — even as federal spending was shooting through the roof.

Democrats have already test-driven the budget/spending attack on Portman. During his 2010 Senate campaign, Portman was attacked by Democrats in an ad for overseeing “a spending spree that doubled the deficit.” (Portman won the race easily but that was due in large part to just how bad a candidate the Democratic nominee turned out to be.)

PolitiFact, a non-partisan fact-checking service, noted that the 2008 budget process, which Portman oversaw, projected a deficit of nearly $459 billion — more than twice the $161 billion fiscal 2007 deficit.

Wrote PolitiFact of the Democratic ad: “While we acknowledge that Portman isn’t the only factor — nor, perhaps, even the primary factor — in the course of both economic trends, we do think that in the middle of a campaign, challenging an opponent on his record in office is fair game.”