Governor Deval Patrick’s role as a much-vaunted surrogate for President Obama has largely been limited to party activist speeches like the one he will deliver tonight when he addresses South Carolina Democrats.
But his higher value may be on display Sunday, when he appears on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” to discuss President Obama’s gay marriage pronouncement this week.
Patrick leads Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage. His younger daughter, Katherine, is gay.
And his predecessor as governor, Mitt Romney, opposes gay marriage and is now Obama’s opponent as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Patrick has previously appeared on CBS, as well as Sunday-morning talk shows on NBC and ABC. Yet this weekend’s stint on national television will have him representing Obama after a tumultuous week in his presidency.
Vice President Joe Biden kicked it off this past Sunday when he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage.
The president himself announced on Wednesday that he now supports the right of gays and lesbians to marry. Patrick issued a statement of support little more than an hour later.
“President Obama has once again affirmed that we are a country that stands for the basic values of equality and opportunity,” the governor said.
But his statement also hinted at his unique perspective.
“Since 2004, same-sex couples in Massachusetts have had the security of knowing that their families have the same rights and protections as every other family, including health care benefits and hospital visitation rights,” said Patrick.
Harking back to the “Hope” theme that underpinned Obama’s 2008 White House campaign, the governor added: “The president’s words today give same-sex couples across the country still awaiting those rights a powerful reason to feel hopeful.”
Also joining Patrick on “Face the Nation” are Ted Olson, a Republican and former US solicitor general who fought against California’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, as well as Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition.Glen Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.