Gov. Deval Patrick relies on some diplomacy to get to the White House

WASHINGTON – Four years ago, Governor Deval Patrick and his wife, Diane, thought they had finished up their evening of post-inauguration parties around 1 a.m. Then, word came that they had been invited to the White House, to spend some time with the new president in his new home.

The governor, unable to contain his excitement, said he told his wife, “Guess what? We just got invited to the White House.”

She didn’t want to go. She’d been standing all day. Her feet hurt.

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“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” Patrick recounted in a Tuesday interview. “’If I sit in the back and massage your feet while we drive, will you go?’ She said yes. So I got in the car, massaged her feet, and we went up Pennsylvania Avenue.”

When they arrived, they asked President Obama where the First Lady was.

“He said, ‘She went upstairs. Her feet were killing her,’” Patrick said.

This year, Patrick came down again for the inauguration, and he had prime seats on risers that looked down on Obama as he took the oath of office (“Everybody seemed to know where Eva Longoria was sitting,” Patrick said. “So we were right behind her.”)

“It was big,” Patrick said of the speech. “It was a compelling vision of the American experience. He called us to do big things, to think in big ways. From history that we can achieve big things when we turn to rather than on each other.”

Four years later, the governor and his wife were again asked to the White House following the inauguration balls.

They entered and the musician Janelle Monae was singing and more than 100 people were partying in a more intimate setting at the White House.

“Everybody was dancing and having a good time,” Patrick said. He ran into a series of familiar Cabinet members – Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano – as well as some unfamiliar ones.

“I was talking to a charming young man and his girlfriend,” Patrick said. “John Mayer and…Katy Perry. I had to be clued in.” (For others needing to be clued in: Mayer and Perry are both musicians; Mayer’s attendance at Berklee College of Music in Boston gave them something to talk about).

“I met Ashley Judd,” Patrick said of the actress and possible US Senate candidate in Kentucky. “That was cool.”

He ran into James Taylor—who is a friend, supporter, and neighbor in the Berkshires – and talked briefly with Obama.

They stayed until about 2 in the morning, and later learned that a president – who said at a press conference last week, “I like a good party” – kept things going until around 3 a.m.

And how did Diane Patrick’s feet manage?

“We took preemptive action between every event,” Deval Patrick said. “I massaged her feet.”

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