In this four-way field that is the governor's race, both the major party candidates crisscrossed the state in one final push this weekend.
WBUR's Fred Thys spent the weekend with Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, while WBUR's Anthony Brooks spent the weekend with Republican Charlie Baker.
Bob Oakes: Start with the message. What were the candidates saying as they tried to motivate voters one final time? Anthony, tell us about Charlie Baker.
Anthony Brooks: Well, Charlie Baker is really trying to reach voters who are worried about the economy, who have that sense of insecurity, they're worried about jobs, and Baker sounds mad when he gets on the stump, and he tries to channel that anger. You know, as Patrick sees the glass half full, it's Charlie Baker who sees the glass half empty. Again and again his message is, 'if you like the way things have been going for the past four years, vote for Gov. Patrick,' but he says if you want change you need to change the people in charge. Here he is speaking Sunday in Beverly:
Now we know what we’re going to get with four more years of Gov. Patrick. We’re going to get exactly what we got for the last four years because he thinks it’s working. We lost 20,000 jobs in September –- the largest single month of job loss in 20 years. And the governor says, 'hey, the economy’s moving in the right direction.' We have a $2 billion budget deficit that the governor is handing to the next governor.”
Okay that was Charlie Baker's message. Fred Thys, what was Gov. Patrick saying, what was his message?
Fred Thys: Well one of the things he's saying, Bob, is that while Baker is, in the words of the governor, 'trying to bring down Massachusetts by talking it down,' he wants to talk it up. I have to tell you since I've been covering him, I haven't seen him on fire like this since maybe the beginning of his term, since his inauguration. He's really found his voice again, and he is presenting himself now as the defender of the American dream. Throughout this weekend, Patrick kept bringing his message back to the unemployed:
What they want to know, is that we see them. That we're worried about them. That what we are doing is about helping them help themselves. So if you believe that government is about people, not abstract policy, that government is about neighbors, not numbers, this is your team.
Fred Thys: Pretty clear, how he's trying to establish the difference here between himself and Baker.
Those were the messages — two very different messages. But what about the crowds? Who was listening? Fred, there was one set of hands clapping behind the governor there.
Fred Thys: Well, there were a lot of people at most of the events that he attended, I would say about 100-200 people. Largely they were committed Democrats already out volunteering for the governor. There were occasionally the curious neighbors, but already people who were pretty sympathetic to him. The difference in the crowds for Gov. Patrick and the crowds I saw for Martha Coakley last January is that these crowds, not only are they large, but they are far more enthusiastic. I did not, however, anybody who's not already a committed Democrat near these events. So there was no curious voter who's being swept into the Patrick tide.
Okay, Anthony, what about the Baker rallies?
Anthony Brooks: The crowds were big, they were enthusiastic. But I was struck by how many independents I saw. Here's an example:
I don’t think we’re going in the right direction with the proper speed. I mean, I own my own business – it’s a small business – and you’ve gotta have fiscal responsibility to run the business. If you don’t, you go belly up. And the government doesn’t go belly up, they just add to the tax base. I think Charlie is fiscally responsible, where he’ll get the state in fiscal shape.
This program aired on November 1, 2010.