Patrick: Dems Need To Focus On What We're For, Not Who We're Against

Download Audio

Tuesday will be a big night for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick at the Democratic National Convention here. In a key speech, Patrick will make his case about why President Obama deserves another four years in office.

"Both campaigns spend a lot of time in the contrasting and talking about what's wrong with the other guy and so forth," Patrick said in an interview with WBUR. "I want to talk about what's right with this president, what's right with his agenda and his vision."

Despite a sluggish economy weighing on most voters' minds, Patrick said Democrats need to emphasize the president's record over the last four years on, such as: jobs added, health care reform and the auto bailout.

"I think that it's also important to acknowledge how much remains to be done," Patrick added. "Because I'm one who doesn't believe that anybody gets a second term as a reward for the first. It's gotta be about what the unfinished agenda is."

Even with that unfinished agenda, Patrick said the country is better off today than it was four years ago. He said the president and his supporters should acknowledge the accomplishments, but be honest about the work remaining.

On the campaigns themselves, Patrick said both are going more negative than he would like.

"I totally get the importance of contrast. I get that," he said. "But at the end of the day, I think Americans are an optimistic and a positive people. And we want reason to vote for, rather than just a reason to vote against."

However, Patrick said he will talk about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in his convention speech Tuesday night.

"I don't think that he is either a moderate or a conservative," Patrick said. "I think in practical terms he's been more of an opportunist, in the sense of having a different thing to say depending on the audience he was in front of."

When asked whether he thought that charge was a negative swipe against Romney, Patrick replied, "Well, that's the truth."

Patrick said Romney did "one profoundly important thing" as governor of Massachusetts: enacting the landmark 2006 heath care law.

But Patrick said Romney does not talk about the health care overhaul or much of his experience as governor because "it doesn't fit the storyline he's selling right now."

Still, Patrick said the ultimate focus for Democrats has to be on the positive: what they support rather than the Republican challenger.

Click the player atop this post for the full interview with Patrick.

This program aired on September 4, 2012.


More from WBUR

Listen Live