The ghost of Mitt Romney, a polarizing figure in the Massachusetts electorate, continues to haunt Bay State Republicans.
To wit: GOP gubernatorial candidate Charles D. Baker visibly grimaced and recoiled this week when Jaclyn Cashman of WWLP-TV in Springfield said during an on-air interview, "Some would say your career has mirrored Mitt Romneyís in some ways. Would you agree?"
"Really?" Baker said, sounding surprised. "Thatís interesting. No. I donít think so. I mean, Iíve spent most of my life actually in the public and nonprofit sectorÖ and I think in some ways, thatís important. I understand how Beacon Hill works. I understand how state government works. Iím not going to need to be educated on how to get stuff done on Beacon Hill, because I was there once."
Cashman asked Baker why he had bristled at the comparison. "I wish I could replay your response when I said that there were some similarities between yourself and Mitt Romney and a mirror in terms of your careers," she told Baker. "Why the shock by that kind of question?"
Baker said he just didn't see that many similarities with Romney, a former venture capitalist. (See the exchange here, around the 9-minute mark.)
"Mitt Romneyís a Republican; Iím a Republican," Baker said. "We both worked in the private sector. But past that, he was involved a very different way in the private sector than I was, and I came into this with eight years of serious experience in state governmentÖI just think in some respects my experience and his is pretty different."
Romney, of course, lost support in Massachusetts after he began hardening his positions to appeal to national conservative audiences during the 2008 presidential campaign. Baker, a socially liberal former top budget aide to governors William F. Weld and Paul Cellucci, more often points to those governors as inspirations. He did tell Cashman that he thought Romney was a better leader than Deval Patrick.
"Compared to the guy with we have now, he was a very good governor," Baker said. "He did a good job."
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