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In 2012 re-election bid, President Obama to follow Deval Patrick's lead

Posted by Rob Anderson  December 8, 2010 03:11 PM

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obama and patrick.jpgThe White House will model President Obama's re-election bid after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's comfortable win over Republican Charlie Baker earlier this year, according to this report by The New Republic's Noam Scheiber. "The way the president’s inner circle sees it," Scheiber writes, "the re-election of Patrick — a longtime Obama pal and former client of his message guru David Axelrod and campaign manager David Plouffe — affirms the president’s bias against desperate reinventions. '[Patrick] may be a model for Obama in 2012,' says one strategist close to the White House. 'Let them write you off for dead, say how stupid you are' — while you remind voters why they fell for you in the first place."

According to Scheiber's sources, the White House was particularly impressed with Patrick's decision to hammer home the same messages he ran on the first time around, and his instinct not to run away from Democrats in the state legislature:

Patrick’s handlers recommended that he distance himself from liberals in the state legislature—and, above all, downplay the tax increase. The governor overruled them. His first commercial highlighted the “combination of deep cuts and new revenue” he’d accepted to close the state’s budget shortfall. “He all but said, ‘I raised taxes.’ Jesus Christ,” recalls one still-traumatized adviser. “He thought the way to do it was to be true to what he ran on [in 2006]”—the belief that voters will support someone who levels with them, even if they don’t love every decision. In the end, Patrick and his “politics of conviction” won by a comfortable seven-point margin. It’s not hard to see the appeal of this narrative in Obamaland, whose principal also fancies himself a teller of hard truths.

Over at the progressive blog Blue Mass Group, blogger SmallTownGuy reacts with an interesting question: If Obama really does plan on following Patrick's playbook back to the White House, why would he lash out so vociferously against Democrats this week? "Sure, Patrick and Obama both ran as progressives and have governed as technocrats," he writes, "but Patrick has never disappointed, criticized and alienated his supporters the way Obama seems bent on doing over and over."

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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