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Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Patrick weighing 2020 White House bid

Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press | 3/11/2018, 11:33 a.m.
Former two-term Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says a 2020 run for the White House is on his "radar screen" — ...
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said that a run for the White House in 2020 is on his "radar screen." It's the firmest indication yet that the political confidante of Barack Obama is weighing a bid for the presidency. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

BOSTON — Former two-term Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says a 2020 run for the White House is on his "radar screen" — the firmest indication yet that the political confidant of Barack Obama and nation's second elected black governor is seriously weighing a White House bid.

Patrick has already begun casting himself as a more centrist Democrat compared to the party's liberal luminaries, including fellow Bay State resident Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

And while the self-described "pro-growth Democrat" says he's far from a final decision, his musings are already casting light on his strengths and possible vulnerabilities.

IS HE OR ISN'T HE?

After relinquishing the governor's office in 2015, Patrick kept a low profile, accepting a post at Boston-based Bain Capital, the firm founded by former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney.

In recent months, Patrick has been stepping back into the political landscape.

He campaigned for U.S. Sen. Doug Jones during Alabama's contentious special election last year, offered to help Democrats running in 2018 and made a brief appearance at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington, D.C.

"It's on my radar screen, but it's a huge decision," Patrick said during a Feb. 28 interview with KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri about a possible run. "It's a huge consideration, I think, particularly when I think, you know, I'm still a kid from the south side of Chicago."

TRUMP FACTOR

Patrick is no fan of President Donald Trump, but his criticism has been less pointed than other Democrats.

"I am old-fashioned in the sense that I think nobody should cheer for failure. We need our presidents to succeed," Patrick said, quickly adding, "I would like him to be replaced by a Democrat."

Patrick said he's particularly concerned about the tone Trump has set, including his "belittling of opposing points of view and the individuals who hold them."

But Patrick also said Democrats are partially to blame for Trump's election.

"The outcome of the 2016 election was less about Donald Trump winning than Democrats and our nominee letting him do so," he said.

A MIXED RECORD

Patrick's record as governor is mixed.

His successes include helping oversee the 2006 health care law signed by Romney that would serve as a blueprint for Obama's 2010 health law.

Another success is a 2008 initiative pushed by Patrick that committed Massachusetts to spending $1 billion over 10 years to jump-start the state's life sciences sector.

There were also rough patches, including turmoil at the state Department of Children and Families following the deaths of three children.

Patrick was also forced to publicly apologize for a disastrous effort to transition to the federal health care law during which the state's website performed so poorly it created a backlog of more than 50,000 paper applications.

A STRONG CAMPAIGNER

Patrick's successful campaign for governor in 2006 was all the more remarkable since it was his first run for office after serving as the top civil rights official at the U.S. Justice Department under President Bill Clinton and as an executive at Texaco and Coca-Cola.