CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Speaking to viewers around the country, Gov. Deval Patrick used his unique vantage point as Mitt Romney’s successor to cast the Republican candidate as a chief executive who left the state with a host of problems.
“Roads and bridges were crumbling. Business taxes were up, and business confidence was down. Our clean energy potential was stalled, and we had a structural budget deficit,” Patrick said last night from the stage at the Time Warner Arena at the Democratic National Convention. “Mitt Romney talks a lot about all the things he’s fixed. I can tell you Massachusetts was not one of them. He’s a fine fellow and a great salesman, but as governor he was a lot more interested in having the job than doing it.”
The themes and the language of the speech were similar to others Patrick has made, but Tuesday’s speech delivered at around 10 p.m. reached a larger audience than most others Patrick has given. In it, Patrick, his pitch rising and falling, delivered praise for President Barack Obama and a harsh critique of Romney.
Near the end of his speech, the noise of the arena crowd on its feet almost drowned out the governor’s words. Past and current Democratic officials in the arena said Patrick’s speech struck the right chords.
“I particularly like his focusing on Romney’s economic record," said Michael Dukakis, the former Democratic governor. "Look, that’s a story we in Massachusetts know. It’s one of the reasons he’s 20 points behind Obama in Massachusetts, but people across the country don’t know it."
Dukakis, who was the Democratic nominee for president in 1988, used the basis of Patrick’s speech to launch his own criticisms of Romney.
“This is a guy who tells us he understands the economy. But look, he’s told us the same thing when he ran for governor. He was a business guy, he understood the economy, and we ended up fourth from the bottom, so the notion that we ought to trust the economic future of the country to this guy, I think is preposterous,” Dukakis told the News Service. “And it’s a story that has to be told in the next two months.”