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Republican Charlie Baker’s tearful debate story Tuesday night about a fisherman from New Bedford and his two sons may go down, win or lose, as one of the more memorable moments of the 2014 campaign for governor.
But in the post-debate rehashing of Baker’s emotional moment on stage, it became clearer that the encounter between the candidate and the unidentified South Coast fisherman occurred when Baker was running in 2010 against Gov. Deval Patrick, not this most recent go-around.
Baker became overwhelmed with emotion during Tuesday night’s final televised debate against Democrat Martha Coakley when the candidates were asked to share the last time they had cried.
For Baker, voters got to witness the answer live on television.
“I got asked the other day to tell somebody some interesting stories of people I’ve met over the course of the campaign and I told a story about a fisherman that I met in New Bedford down on the docks…,” Baker began.
He proceeded to explain how the fisherman, whose name the campaign has declined to provide, told him how his two sons had turned down football scholarships to college at his behest to enter the family business.
“I ruined their lives,” Baker said, quoting the father.
As it turns out, Baker told the same story four years ago when asked by Boston Globe columnist, and now editor, Brian McGrory what he had learned from the people of Massachusetts.
Baker told McGrory about a “sweaty” fisherman he had met who described his job as a “cancer” and regretted bringing his two sons into the struggling industry, using the same adjective to describe the man that he did during the debate Tuesday night.
Baker’s campaign said the candidate often recounts the story on the trail with similar emotion.
Asked about the outpouring after the debate on Tuesday, Baker said, “I’ve always been a passionate guy. I will always be a passionate guy. And I’m a passionate guy about the people of the commonwealth and about the opportunity that I think I can have as governor to make things better for people. That’s why I got into the race in the first place.”
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