Governor Deval Patrick is making a two-pronged appeal for President Obama’s reelection today in Iowa and Wisconsin, a pair of battleground states.
The Massachusetts Democrat penned an op-ed column that was printed in this morning’s edition of the Des Moines Register, Iowa’s largest newspaper. And he was following that up with a pair of appearances in Madison, Wis., and Milwaukee, both in the homestate of Mitt Romney’s new running mate, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.
While campaign aides say the confluence of activity is coincidental, it underscores the high value the Obama campaign places on Patrick’s surrogate work, and a steady ratcheting up of his appearances on behalf of the president.
Patrick will travel out of state next week on Obama’s behalf, as well, and on Monday organizers announced that the governor would also address the Democratic National Convention. It is being held in Charlotte, N.C., from Sept. 4 through Sept. 6.
To date, the governor has largely made television appearances on behalf of the president or spoken to the party faithful at fund-raising events. Obama campaign officials, however, have expressed an interest in him doing more for the president, aides said.
“Governor Patrick and the president share a vision of America where we grow our economy from the middle class out, hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded,” said Obama campaign spokesman Michael Czin. “Patrick’s close relationship with the president, personal story, and experience as governor following Mitt Romney gives him a unique perspective and voice speaking on behalf of the president across the country.”
Czin added: “With Governor Patrick on the trail, it also means that there’s someone on the trail from Massachusetts who’s willing to discuss the state’s groundbreaking healthcare law that paved the way for Obamacare.
Patrick spokesman Alex Goldstein also focused on the health care issue.
“I think the governor is one of the strongest—if not the strongest—surrogates in the country on health care,” Goldstein said. “This is a good contrast on Representative Ryan’s overall record and views on the budget, his focus on Medicare, and ending Medicare as we know it.”
In his op-ed today, the governor explained why he plans to vote for Obama—and not against Romney, his predecessor in the Corner Office—and cited health care as the No. 1 reason.
“The president’s record is long, impressive, and barely told,” Patrick wrote. “This is the president who delivered access to affordable health care to every American in every corner of the country after 90 years of trying.”
The governor went on to cite the president’s work on the auto industry bailout, ending the “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military, killing Osama bin Laden, and cutting middle-class taxes.
“The president’s record is even more impressive when you consider that he has governed in the face of Republican leaders who openly declare that unseating this president [by denying him legislative victories] is their top priority,” Patrick wrote.
Aides said the governor wrote the column personally and asked Goldstein to find a venue for it. They said the Register agreed to publish it a week ago and coincidentally chose to print it today.
In Wisconsin, Patrick made a stop in the capital city of Madison for a roundtable discussion with senior citizens about health care and the impacts of the proposed Romney-Ryan budget.
This afternoon in Milwaukee, the state’s largest city, he planned to visit a regional Obama for America field office and then conduct interviews with local reporters to offer his perspective on Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor.
Patrick has unique perspective both as the first Democrat to serve as governor after 16 consecutive years of Republican leaders, including Romney. He also has been charged with enacting the state universal health care law that Romney signed into law in April 2006—about nine months before the Republican left office and launched his first run for the White House.
A gubernatorial aide said Patrick believes the choice of Ryan as Romney’s running mate clarifies the choice confronting voters across the country when they go to the polls on Nov. 6.
The governor touched on it in a statement issued Aug. 11, the day Romney revealed his choice for the Republican vice presidential nominee.
“Congressman Ryan was the chief architect of a budget that would decimate education funding and end Medicare. He and Governor Romney believe that each and every one of us is on his or her own, and that government has no role to play in making a better future for the next generation,” he wrote.
Patrick added: “We know better—that government does have a role to play, not in solving every problem in every person’s life, but in helping people help themselves. The very character of our nation, and the American Dream itself, are at stake in this election.”Glen Johnson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.