Democratic Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick predicted in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt,” airing this weekend, that President Barack Obama will win re-election Nov. 6.
(This is not a legal transcript. Bloomberg LP cannot guarantee its accuracy.)
AL HUNT: Welcome back. We’re now joined by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who is a co-chair of the Obama campaign. He joins us from Denver, Colorado.
Governor, thank you for being with us. We’re going to start with the jobs report that was out -
GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Thank you for having me.
HUNT: The jobs report showed OK growth, but the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, higher than when Barack Obama took office. Mitt Romney says it’s a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill.
PATRICK: Well, you know, it’s a - it’s a sad commentary on - on the governor’s campaign and on his approach that he would take positive job growth as - as bad news. In fact, we’ve had 25 or 26 straight months of job growth, 5.5 million private-sector jobs in that period of time, more than George W. Bush added in eight years in office. We’re moving in the right direction. And I think in the second term, we’re going to move even faster in that direction.
HUNT: Romney says that under President Obama Washington is bitterly partisan and dysfunctional. And he’s running ads right now in the key states saying that in Massachusetts, with an 87 percent legislature, he worked across party lines and got things done, and that’s what he would do in Washington.
PATRICK: Well, they tell a very different story in the legislature back home, I can tell you that. The leadership talk about how, you know, he went through the motions mostly, that he was more interested in having the job than actually doing it, with one profound exception, and that is the health care reform bill, where he was engaged and he worked with the Democratic legislature, a Democratic United States senator, Ted Kennedy, a broad coalition of business and labor and patient advocates and industry, and he - he signed a bill that expanded access. It took effect the day I took office. And we’ve been working toward universal care. We’re nearly there, at 98-plus percent. It’s something he is proud of, and he ought to be proud of it.
HUNT: You don’t think that’d be a model for what he would do as president?
PATRICK: I think it was a model for health care reform. But I don’t think he has shown very much interest or showed very much interest in working with the legislature when he was governor. In fact, because he moved against priorities that the legislature had, and cut education, and stymied innovation, and cut infrastructure, we slipped from 36th in job creation to 47th in the nation when he was governor. We turned that around, because we’ve turned those policies around, and the policies we’re pursuing have been supported by the president.
HUNT: Governor, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg - who I should say owns Bloomberg LP - endorsed Obama this week, but said, while coming into office as a problem-solver and a consensus-builder, the president has, unfortunately - this is quoting Mayor Bloomberg - “devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists and has not uplifted the country around the message of shared sacrifice,” end quote. Why?
PATRICK: I’m not sure I agree with all of that, but I will say that the president’s message of common cause and common destiny is exactly the message that I am hungry for. It’s the message I think that Mayor Bloomberg is hungry for. And it’s a radically different message from what we’re hearing from Governor Romney.
I do think that we’re at a time in this country where we need to turn to each other, rather than on each other, and that if we’re going to be a nation of opportunity, as we have been at our best in our history, then we have to have growth, and growth requires investment in education, innovation and in infrastructure. And that is exactly the opposite from what Governor Romney is proposing.
So I’m very excited and enthusiastic about a second term, Al, because I think the president has - has us on a good course and on a course that can accelerate and, with the mandate that will come from re-election, will accelerate.
HUNT: Governor Patrick, you are close to President Obama and his top aide, David Axelrod. You talk to them a lot. What do you think they’ve learned? What lessons have they learned about governing these past several years?
PATRICK: Well, you know, it’s interesting. It’s so - so similar in some ways, on a much smaller scale, to my own lessons at home, how important it is to - to bring voices into the conversation and to do so early, to make sure that, as you’re trying to look for compromise, you are thinking about the things that are on the minds of the people whose compromise you need, that may not relate to the subject right in front of you, some of the sort of care and feeding, if you will, of legislators and other partners.
HUNT: And we would look for more of that?
PATRICK: And I think they’ve learned that. And I think they’ve gotten stronger.
HUNT: We’d look for more of that in the second term?
PATRICK: Count on it.
HUNT: - Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama, and Romney surrogate John Sununu said he did it because of race. Has the Romney campaign tried to inject race into this campaign?
PATRICK: Well, I don’t know what that comment was about. I mean, I don’t think that - that anybody has asked John Sununu whether race was the reason why he - he endorsed Governor Romney. I think that was just a silly comment, approached and appreciated by most as just that.
HUNT: If the president does win next Tuesday, a prime candidate to be secretary of state would be your senator, John Kerry. Now, if he were picked, under your law, you would have to have another Senate election in about six months. Given those variables, would you -
PATRICK: I know.
HUNT: - would you recommend to the president that he tap Senator Kerry?
PATRICK: Well, you know what? I don’t want to get ahead of anything. The first thing that has to happen, Al - and I respect your question - but the first thing that has to happen is that the American people have to choose which path we’re going to take as a country, what kind of country we want.
HUNT: Would John Kerry be a good secretary of state?
PATRICK: I think he’d be great. I think he’s a great senator, so it’d be a huge loss for us, but let’s get to that after Tuesday. First things first.
HUNT: OK. You’ve got a high-powered race for the other Senate seat in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown.
PATRICK: That’s right.
HUNT: The latest Boston Globe shows it’s dead even. What do you expect?
PATRICK: It’s a tough race. I think Elizabeth Warren is going to win. Scott Brown has not been a particularly distinguished senator for Massachusetts, but he’s a very effective campaigner and politician. I think Elizabeth Warren has gotten stronger and stronger. And more to the point, her policies are exactly what we need. She will be a senator for the people of Massachusetts all of the time, not just some of the time. And I’m excited about her candidacy. I’m looking forward to stumping with her.
HUNT: All right, Governor, it’s D-Day. It’s decision day. It’s only a couple days away. Tell us on Tuesday what you expect in the popular vote and the Electoral College.
PATRICK: I think the president’s going to win. I think he’s going to earn this win. And I think he’s going to come right back to work on Wednesday, working not just for Democrats and those who voted for him, but for everybody, because he understands that if we’re going to have a true national community, where we lift everyone, then people have to understand, by his example, that we have a stake in our neighbors’ dreams and struggles, as well as our own.
HUNT: I’m going to try to pin you down one more time. Do you expect a big victory - do you expect a victory in the Electoral College and in the popular vote? And how big?
PATRICK: I don’t know, Al. I think it’s going to be a victory that enables us to have a second term of the Obama administration. We’re going to see even better and stronger results in that term -
HUNT: All right. Governor Deval Patrick, thank you very much for joining us. And when we come back, the political impact of those October jobs numbers, and Kate and Margaret make their final election predictions. The last word, right after this break.