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Political Circuit

Mississippi governor has Red Sox connection from high school days

April 17, 2011

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Who knew?

Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi claimed a New England connection last week as he confessed to being a Boston Red Sox fan on the strength of his longtime friendship with a former team catcher.

Stopping by a frequent political haunt, Chez Vachon in Manchester, Barbour told a table that included Mayor Ted Gatsas that he played on a two-time state high school championship team with Jerry Moses.

He said that he cemented his bond as Moses moved onto the team.

“We had always been Red Sox fans, Ted Williams,’’ Barbour said.

Moses, as it turned out, showed up at Barbour’s event that night to cheer him on.

— Glen Johnson

No disclosure for Patrick group?Governor Deval Patrick likes to tout his commitment to transparency.

But a new advocacy group he launched last week was set up in such a way that it will be allowed to collect unlimited corporate and union donations without having to disclose them publicly.

Such groups have proliferated following the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last year, a ruling that opened the door for that unlimited spending and has been decried by Democrats, including President Obama. Karl Rove and the Koch brothers, among others, have backed groups that use the same tax structure as Patrick’s group, Protect Your Care.

Patrick, however, expressed no concern about the lack of disclosure by his organization, which may run ads and lobby against efforts to weaken or repeal the president’s health care law.

“You should ask the organizers about that, actually,’’ he said on Friday. “I think they’re going to reach a little further than the law requires.’’

But the group’s spokesman, Eddie Vale, indicated that was not the case. He said Protect Your Care’s policy is to comply with the law and added that “I can’t presume to speak for the governor’’ about Patrick’s suggestion that the organization may voluntarily disclose its donors.

Patrick himself made no commitment to disclosing the source of his group’s money. “I want all the rules to be respected,’’ he said when asked about disclosing donors. Federal rules, of course, do not require any disclosure.

— Michael Levenson

Menino has upper hand in familiar budget battleJousting over Boston’s annual budget began last week over quiche and sausage links as Mayor Thomas M. Menino pitched his spending plan to the City Council.

The council will hold some 30 hearings over the next few months, dissecting every number in the budget. But one city councilor could not wait to make his feelings known. Menino saw it coming.

“Yes, Charles,’’ the mayor said, giving the floor to Councilor Charles C. Yancey.

The two men have been sparring over the city’s budget for 28 years, since they were both freshman district councilors in 1983. Yancey politely thanked Menino’s staff members for their hard work, but made it clear he was not happy with proposed cuts that would close schools and pull staff out of community centers.

Menino smiled and offered a not-so-subtle reminder of who really controls the city’s purse strings.

“Councilor Yancey has a really nice library in his district,’’ Menino said, referring to the $16.7 million Mattapan branch that opened in 2009.

“Yes,’’ Yancey said with a grin. “And I thank you for that, Mr. Mayor.’’

— Andrew Ryan

Tweet of the weekPlenty of invective was spewed at the liberal activists who showed up to protest the Tea Party rally on Boston Common Friday. And the activists did their share of shouting back. But according to a Boston Tea Party (@BostonTeaParty) tweet from the scene, the two sides banded together for one brief instant:

“Bizarro moment: both union thugs and teapartiers join in chanting: “USA! USA!’’

Well, not exactly togetherness, but it’s a start. Sort of.