Staff won't reveal Mass. governor's whereabouts

By Glen Johnson
AP Political Writer / July 20, 2010

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BOSTON—Gov. Deval Patrick's staff refused to reveal his whereabouts after a visit Tuesday to wounded troops in Washington.

The 11 a.m. appointment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the only one on the governor's official schedule Tuesday. His campaign staff also did not issue its usual schedule of any political events on his calendar.

The mystery appeared likely to continue into Wednesday. The governor's staff released on Tuesday evening an official schedule that said simply there were "no public events scheduled" for the coming day. And the campaign staff did not issue any schedule for the second consecutive day, which it usually does even when Patrick has no political events.

The absence came at an unusual time for the Democratic governor, who is running for re-election this fall. The Legislature is locked in a debate about a casino gambling bill he said he wants passed before the House and Senate complete business for the year next week, and his chief political rival, Republican Charles Baker, launched a series of attacks on him about his administration's proposal to change the state's public school curriculum.

Patrick responded only through statements issued by his campaign press secretary.

Asked about the governor's whereabouts, Communications Director Kyle Sullivan told The Associated Press in an e-mail Tuesday evening, "We'll be updating the schedule (Wednesday)."

Patrick's chief local campaign strategist, Doug Rubin, would only say Patrick had been at Walter Reed "and some other meetings."

Earlier in the day, Sullivan similarly remained evasive about Patrick's whereabouts. And more junior staff members said they had no idea of the governor's location.

In response to questions, Sullivan said there was no meeting planned between Patrick and President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat who shares the same top national political adviser, David Plouffe.

Sullivan also said Patrick had no campaign fundraisers planned while in the capital. Assorted members of the state's congressional delegation said they had no meetings planned with the governor in Washington, nor were they aware he was in town.

Sullivan did say the governor didn't have a medical issue.

Patrick travels virtually everywhere, both in Massachusetts and out of state, with a State Police security detail. When he is out of state or incapacitated, as he was for three days last fall when he had hip replacement surgery, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray serves as acting governor.

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