Give Deval Patrick some credit as a surrogate for Barack Obama. Unlike Cory Booker, Patrick tried to attack Mitt Romney earlier today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He talked about a “structural deficit” of a billion dollars that Patrick claims he inherited from Romney as Governor of Massachusetts, and claimed that his record on job creation left the state near the bottom of the nation. Patrick also said that the Bain strategy from Team O has been “distorted” in the media. This clip gives the tenor of Patrick’s rather mild advocacy on Obama’s behalf:
However, when it came time to go after Romney, Patrick demurred:
If the Obama campaign had expected Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to be a ferocious attack dog on Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts record during a TV appearance on Thursday, they must be disappointed – the campaign surrogate defended Bain Capital and praised Romney’s personal character.
“Bain is a perfectly fine company. They have a role in the private economy, and I’ve got a lot of friends there,” said Patrick on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I think the Bain strategy has been distorted in some of the public discussions.” …
“He’s always been a gentleman to me, and the people who know him well and personally speak very warmly of him,” he said. “I haven’t had a lot of interaction with him, but the transition [to Deval’s governorship] was smooth.”
Yesterday, the Obama administration launched an attack on Romney’s record as governor, aiming at his ability to promote job growth. Patrick undermined that argument right out of the chute, however:
The governor also was asked about the unemployment rate in Massachusetts when Romney left office – and the answer left “Morning Joe” panelists musing about how low it was.
“I think when he left office, it was in the fours. I want to say 4.3 percent, about what the national average was,” Patrick said.
“That’s pretty good,” responded host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman.
“Yeah, not bad,” said Mike Barnicle, a former Boston Globe journalist, and frequent “Morning Joe” contributor.
Actually, 4.3% would have been below the national average in 2006, as the monthly rates never got below 4.4% according to the BLS, which is where it was at in December 2006 after Patrick’s election. We are a very long way from “the fours” now, and that’s the kind of perspective one would expect a Romney surrogate to supply.