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Gov. Deval Patrick's recent travels and U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's history as a fashion model added some of the fodder to the annual St. Patrick's Day political roast Sunday, as Massachusetts' political heavyweights gathered to trade barbs and celebrate the state's Irish-American heritage.
The most popular butt of jokes was Patrick's recent trade mission to Israel and England.
Brown, the only Republican member of Congress from Massachusetts, handed Patrick a cell phone in which he said he'd preprogrammed with the phone number for Fidelity Investments, a reference to Patrick's complaint that the company failed to let his administration know in advance of their plans to move more than 1,000 jobs out of Massachusetts.
Brown said he programmed the country code into the phone number, just in case Patrick was overseas when the call came.
Brown, who left the event early, also quipped that in the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo would be driving in a car "where the previous speaker made the license plates."
Three former Democratic Massachusetts House speakers have been convicted or indicted on criminal charges, including Thomas Finneran, convicted of obstruction of justice charges; Charles Flaherty, convicted of tax evasion; and Salvatore DiMasi, who has been indicted on corruption charges.
Patrick sang a version of the old standard "Danny Boy" with new lyrics that poked fun at DeLeo's push to license "racinos" - slot machines at local racetracks.
"Oh Bobby Boy, the slots, the slots are calling, from Wonderland to down by Raynham Way," Patrick sang. "Those racinos in love with which you're falling while I as gov won't see the light of day."
DeLeo responded by poking fun at Patrick's travels.
"Just to let you know, spring break is usually just one week, not two," DeLeo said.
He then handed Patrick an Evergreen Solar necktie, noting that it was "made in China," a reference to the solar power company's decision to export hundreds of jobs from Massachusetts to China after receiving tens of millions in tax and other benefits from the state.
Senate President Therese Murray handed out gag Oscar awards including one to DeLeo and Patrick for "Next Stop Wonderland" and another to Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray for "Home Alone." When Patrick is out of town, Murray serves as acting governor.
Democratic state Sen. Jack Hart, who represents the city's South Boston neighborhood, hosted the event and offered one-liners targeting those in the room.
He noted how the breakfast helped mark the end of what was a particularly snowy and cold winter in Massachusetts.
"It was so cold that I saw a picture of Sen. Scott Brown in Cosmopolitan Magazine - with his clothes on," Hart said, referring to Brown's decision to pose nude in a photo in the magazine while in law school.
Brown took a jab at his colleague in the Senate, Democrat John Kerry, saying that "thanks to a tip from Sen. Kerry" he's decided to register his famed pickup truck in Rhode Island, a reference to Kerry's much maligned decision to dock his $7 million yacht in tax-free Rhode Island. Kerry later said he always intended to pay taxes on the boat in Massachusetts and would write the state a check for about $500,000, regardless of whether he owed the money.
The yearly event gives veteran lawmakers and political novices a chance to test their skills at delivering political jokes and belting out traditional Irish songs like "Wild Colonial Boy" and "The Wild Rover" in between chowing down on corned-beef hash and scrambled eggs.
Many of the jokes fell flat this year as politicians tried to steer clear of any long-term criticism for especially cringe-worthy quips.
This program aired on March 20, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.
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