A Massachusetts running mate for Hillary?
By NBP Staff | April 25, 2016, 13:00 EDT
For months, rumors have circulated about the possibility that Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton might choose a Massachusetts pol as her vice presidential running mate. On Saturday, the New York Times added fuel to the fire when it reported that the Clinton campaign has begun drawing up a list of up to 20 potential vice presidential choices, and that former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is on the list.
Patrick, who served as President Bill Clinton’s Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and who has worked at Bain Capital since leaving the governorship in January, 2015, has repeatedly denied any interest in becoming anyone’s 2016 vice presidential running mate.
In January, 2014, while still governor, Patrick gave a firm “no,” when asked by the Boston Herald about a potential Clinton-Patrick ticket. More recently, in a December interview with NECN’s Alison King, Patrick ruled out joining a 2016 national ticket.
In 2008, Patrick endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama over Clinton for president. But if Clinton can forgive that transgression and convince the former Massachusetts governor to be her running mate, Patrick might well bolster Clinton’s candidacy in several ways. Perhaps most importantly, Patrick, who is generally well-liked, might help Clinton craft a more positive, sunny image. The former Secretary of State is currently viewed unfavorably by a record percentage of general election voters.
Patrick also could help Clinton’s efforts to get out the African-American vote in November, a key component of any Democratic electoral strategy, and might placate progressives in the party who are currently supporting Clinton’s rival, Vermont’s Democratic-Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The recent Times report notes that the Clintons and Clinton campaign advisers are currently discussing a list that includes, in addition to Patrick, President Barack Obama’s labor secretary Thomas Perez, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Virginia’s two Democratic senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and U.S. housing secretary Julián Castro.
Clinton campaign advisers also said Clinton is open to the prospect of a double female ticket, raising speculation that the former senator from New York might consider Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, though the report notes that Warren “has not been helpful” to Clinton’s campaign.
Not helpful is an understatement. Warren is the only woman in the Senate’s Democratic caucus, out of 14, who has not endorsed Clinton, and Warren has hinted on numerous occasions that she favors the policies promoted by Sanders.
Warren’s criticism of Clinton dates back several years. In 2004, Warren, then a professor at Harvard Law School, told Bill Moyers of PBS News that Sen. Clinton caved to Wall Street interests and supported an identical version of a bill that Warren had previously convinced her to oppose.
The obvious tension between the two women hasn’t stopped pundits from speculating about the possibility that Clinton might ultimately select Warren, whose progressive credentials might help Clinton deflect criticism of her ties to Wall Street and keep Sanders supporters within the Democratic fold.
The Times report suggests Clinton is looking to pick someone who can serve as an “attack dog” in the vice presidential debate, who will provide a strong ideological contrast to the Republican nominee, and who will shore up her support among key voting blocks, including women and minorities. Both Patrick and Warren seem to satisfy these criteria.
“They’re fielding ideas for a running mate, and a lot of people are suggesting names,” former Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts told the Times. “I’ve made some recommendations, but all I’ll say is that governing ability and winning the election are the fits that they’re looking for most.”
According to those close to the campaign, Clinton may wait to select her running mate until after the Republican nomination in order to pick the strongest candidate to rival her Republican competitor.