Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) in an interview published by The New Yorker criticized his ally and friend former President Obama for being too eager to compromise with the GOP, saying he warned Obama’s team “don’t be a chump.”
Patrick’s latest remarks come as he weighs a possible 2020 presidential run, which he has previously said is on his “radar.”
Patrick told the magazine that he thought Obama was often too compliant with Republicans. He recalled a 2009 deal in which Obama agreed to include hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts to attract Republican support for a stimulus bill.
The former Massachusetts governor said Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told him the tax cuts were the “price” that needed to be paid to revive the economy.
“Rahm’s response was that the president wants the first bill that he signs to be bipartisan, and that was the price,” Patrick told The New Yorker. “That was the deal, and then not a single Republican voted for it.”
“And I remember saying, ‘Let this be a lesson,’ ” Patrick said. ” ‘This is how it’s going to go. Don’t forget your experience on the South Side. Don’t be a chump.’ I didn’t say that to [Obama] — this was to his team.”
Patrick has spent the last several months campaigning for Democrats in competitive districts across the country. He said he thought the midterms were mostly a success for Democrats, who took back control of the House, but he expressed remorse that there was “no political price paid” for racist attacks against candidates in Florida and Georgia.
Racist robocalls funded by white supremacists targeted gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum (D) in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia (D).
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The possible 2020 contender said Democrats lost in 2016 because they failed to engage voters.
“I would say we get the government we deserve in a democracy,” he told the New Yorker. “And if we want better government we have to engage, and a lot of folks have been disengaging for a long time, and not without reason.”
Patrick said his possible platform in 2020 would likely rest on voting rights, including proposals to make it easier to vote, according to the magazine.
Former Obama campaign chief strategist and current CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod told the magazine that Patrick and Obama are similar in their “principled” nature.
“Deval is a very genuine person, a very empathetic person,” Axelrod said. “He is a guy who makes people feel comfortable. He’s very principled, you can see that — just like Obama.”
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