Governor Deval Patrick defends Elizabeth Warren in flap over Native American heritage

Governor Deval Patrick spent Thursday morning in full politicking mode, attacking Mitt Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts governor and defending Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren from critics who say she misrepresented herself as a minority to advance her academic career.

On his monthly radio show on WTKK-FM, Patrick, who endorsed Warren on Wednesday, called the controversy over Warren’s professed Native American heritage a distraction from what should be a more substantive debate between Warren and her Republican opponent, Senator Scott Brown.

“Frankly, if I were Scott Brown, I’d want this distraction, too — a distraction from his record,’’ said Patrick, a Democrat. “I don’t care about it. I think she’s answered every question she’s been asked, and we haven’t had enough conversation in this campaign about the things I think people do really worry about.’’


Pressed on the controversy, Patrick likened it to the discredited theory that President Obama was born in Kenya and is not a United States citizen.

“You going to ask for a long-form birth certificate, too?’’ he told Margery Eagan, a Boston Herald columnist, who co-hosts the radio show with Patrick.

“I don’t know how many times I can say it: I don’t care about it,’’ Patrick said. “I want us to focus on who is going to be the best partner for the people of the Commonwealth in the United States Senate.’’

Patrick also took to the morning cable television circuit as part of a new Obama campaign effort to criticize Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts.

In appearances on “Morning Joe’’ on MSNBC and “Starting Point’’ on CNN, Patrick hewed closely to the Obama campaign’s talking points, saying Massachusetts was ranked 47th of out 50 states in job creation when Romney was governor, and imposed millions of dollars in higher fees, despite Romney’s pledge not to raise taxes.

“He sold us, when he was running for governor, the very same lines he is offering now in his campaign for president, but it just didn’t happen,’’ Patrick said.


Both presidential campaigns are focused on Massachusetts this week.

The Romney campaign is planning a Thursday morning press conference on the State House steps to defend Romney’s record.

Ninety minutes later, David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political adviser, will hold his own press conference with Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray and other Democrats who will blast the Romney record.

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