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Deval Patrick tells convention that Mitt Romney failed Massachusetts

By Noah Bierman
Globe Staff / September 4, 2012
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In one of his most forceful rebukes of his predecessor, Governor Deval Patrick said that Mitt Romney “talks a lot about all the things he’s fixed, but I can tell you Massachusetts wasn’t one of them,” according to remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday night.

Patrick’s speech, about an hour before first lady Michelle Obama, sought to rally the party faithful at the Democratic National Convention.

Patrick has been performing a similar role in front of Democratic groups throughout the country, energizing party activists, increasing his visibility, and raising money for his political action committee. Patrick also appeared on cable news Tuesday morning and addressed the state delegation, making a similar argument against Romney.

But Tuesday night was an opportunity to showcase his close-up critique of Romney to a larger audience. He planned to call Romney “a fine fellow and a great salesman,” while adding that “as governor, he was more interested in having a job than doing it.” The lines are typical of Patrick, highly critical without sounding personal or angry, while offering a backhanded compliment.

“In Massachusetts, we know Mitt Romney,” Patrick said.

Patrick then included a list of charges against Romney’s tenure from 2003 through 2007: that Massachusetts was 47th in job creation; that household income was declining; that education was cut “deeper than anywhere else in America;” that “roads and bridges were crumbling;” and that the state had a structural budget deficit.

The speech was a stark contrast to Romney’s vision of his tenure, including turning a budget deficit into a surplus and holding the line on taxes, even as he increased some fees.

Patrick used the speech to compare the Romney years with his own five-and-half years as governor, an indication that Patrick may be aiming to improve his prospects for higher office, as some observers have speculated.

The speech also lists his own accomplishments, including investment in roads, bridges, and the biotech industry. He also talks about including labor’s voices while curbing public workers’ collective bargaining rights, a contrast to the uproar such fights caused in Republican-controlled states, particularly Wisconsin.

Patrick also was expected to list Obama’s major accomplishments, including the repeal of the military’s ban on gays serving openly, the health care law, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, and the auto industry bailout.

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