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Political Circuit

Taking a few parting shots

Globe Staff / December 13, 2009

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It was billed as a unity event, but the two top Democratic vote-getters in Tuesday’s Senate primary couldn’t resist one last squabble, albeit a friendly one.

Victor Martha Coakley, speaking at an event Wednesday morning with her vanquished rivals, repeated a line she often used on the campaign trail.

“There is a big difference between me and the other candidates,’’ she said. “I am the only Irishman.’’

But US Representative Michael Capuano, never one to bite his tongue, interjected, “That’s not true!’’ (Capuano is half-Irish.)

“Almost,’’ Coakley said. “Almost.’’

The event, meant to be a lovefest, quickly became a yukfest reminiscent of another Irish-themed affair, the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast.

“All of you know that when [Senate President] Therese Murray is determined, you better get out of the way,’’ Coakley said at one point.

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo let out a big laugh and said, “I know that!’’

But the best line probably came from Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, recounting a humbling experience at the North Shore Chamber of Commerce.

“I introduced myself to a woman,’’ Tim Murray said. “I said, ‘My name’s Tim Murray.’ She said, ‘What do you do?’ ’’ -- MATT VISER

A dog-eat-dog race
On the morning after his Senate primary victory, Scott Brown held a press conference at his Needham headquarters, then braved the sleet on the Mass. Pike to make a couple of campaign stops in Holyoke. In between, he let the dogs out. (No euphemism intended.)

Sure enough, Brown detoured to his Wrentham home to let out his dogs, a petite Shih Tzu named Snuggles and an even tinier Yorkshire terrier named Koda.

“They’re a part of the family. You just can’t go on your day without taking care of your pets,’’ Brown said. “And, yes, I did name them, if you want to wreck my image.’’

Just goes to show there are no stereotypes in the dog world. Brown, a Republican lawmaker who drives a pickup, competes in triathlons, and holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the National Guard, owns a pair of dogs that could fit in a handbag. Coakley, the Democratic nominee, owns a couple of Labrador retrievers named for Confederate generals. -- ERIC MOSKOWITZ

Pagliuca still has game
Stephen Pagliuca launched his US Senate campaign almost three months ago like the NBA owner he is: with lots of sports analogies, rhetoric about teams and titles, an arena-friendly soundtrack, and hopeful references to the Boston Celtics’ 2008 championship season.

Pagliuca, who co-owns the team, ended his campaign Tuesday much the same way, though this time he sounded a bit more like the losing coach in a game that was never really close.

At his campaign party Tuesday night, Pagliuca, in a six-minute speech, made a point of mentioning the Celtics, who at that moment were putting the finishing touches on a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks across town at the Garden.

“So I’ll be one for two tonight,’’ he said. “Although I feel like I’m a huge winner because it’s just been a wonderful journey - working with you all, working with the people of Massachusetts, and getting the message out there that Massachusetts can be a leader.’’

In an interview with reporters, Pagliuca again chose athlete-speak when he dodged a question about whether he would run for office in the future.

“As in sports, take it one day at a time,’’ he said. -- ERIC MOSKOWITZ

Brown’s lesson from JFK
In the Democratic primary, the candidates were falling all over themselves to claim the mantle of the man they sought to replace, Edward M. Kennedy, making constant references in debates, ads, and campaign appearances to the legendary senator.

Now, even the Republican candidate, Scott Brown, is getting in on the Kennedy reference game. In a TV interview Thursday night, Brown suggested that he drew lessons from the too-short lives of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Princess Diana.

“What makes me tick is I like to work hard,’’ Brown said during an appearance on NECN. “I live every day like it’s my last. Especially when JFK Jr. passed away and Princess Di. They’re powerful, handsome, rich people, and they’re dead. And they can’t make a difference while I still can. I can work every day and try to make a difference.’’ -- MATT VISER

Tweet of the week
For this week’s entry, we choose a gracious Tweet from Coakley’s campaign, directed to her opponents in the Democratic primary: “Thank you @AlanKhazei, @capuano4senate, + @stevepagliuca for your support and the positive, strong campaigns you’ve run!’’