A bill to expand gambling is still possible, governor says

He’s still talking about issue with top legislators

'I hope and I believe that the American people are bigger and better than this,' Patrick said of the Obama birthplace debate. "I hope and I believe that the American people are bigger and better than this," Patrick said of the Obama birthplace debate.
By Noah Bierman and Glen Johnson
Globe Staff / April 29, 2011

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Governor Deval Patrick said yesterday that he believes he and leading lawmakers will “find our way to something’’ on an expanded gambling bill, but “we’re not there yet.’’

Patrick said he, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, and Senate President Therese Murray continue to negotiate on the issue, which ended in finger-pointing last year when they failed to reach agreement on bringing casinos to the state, something they all said they supported.

DeLeo, nonetheless, held out for slot machines at the state’s four racetracks.

“We’re talking,’’ Patrick said during his monthly “Ask the Governor’’ segment on WTKK-FM yesterday. “The only agreement we have . . . is to resume the hearings and refresh some of the data that we have.’’

Patrick said that expanding gambling is “much higher’’ on DeLeo’s agenda than on his, but that he continues to support it.

On the same radio program yesterday, the governor said questions about the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate — and thus his legitimacy as the country’s leader — represent “a new low in American politics.’’

“I hope and I believe that the American people are bigger and better than this,’’ said Patrick, a close friend of the president.

Asked whether he felt the questions about Obama’s birthplace and his academic record were motivated by race, Patrick — like Obama, the first African-American to hold his job — said:

“I have no idea, but whatever is motivating it, it feels like a new low in American politics, particularly when you consider the extraordinary challenges facing this country and this president, that we would spend our time on stuff like that and attempts to marginalize our president.’’

The governor said that while Obama is “a proud Democrat, he is serving as the president for all of us, for the people who voted for him and the ones who didn’t.’’

Donald Trump, the New York real estate tycoon, has vaulted into the spotlight among prospective Republican presidential contenders by raising questions about the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate and his qualifications to attend both Columbia University and Harvard Law School.

This week, during his first visit to New Hampshire as a potential presidential candidate, Trump claimed credit for forcing Obama to release a full copy of his birth certificate, rather than the standard short form that Hawaii officials gave him.

The certificate shows the president was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961.

On the radio yesterday, Patrick said of Trump: “How many bankruptcies has he presided over? Please, let’s move on.’’

Noah Bierman can be reached at; Glen Johnson at