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Obama stirs speculation about Patrick’s future

President Obama and Governor Deval Patrick arrived at Logan International Airport aboard Air Force One on March 5.

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

President Obama and Governor Deval Patrick arrived at Logan International Airport aboard Air Force One on March 5.

Governor Deval Patrick has ruled out a 2016 presidential campaign so many times -- with a sufficient lack of ambivalence -- that he has begun showing signs of annoyance with those who keep pestering him about it.

That didn’t stop a mini-flurry of speculation late Wednesday, after President Obama, a close friend of Patrick heaped praise on his record as governor.

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Obama, asked during a White House interview Wednesday about the prospect of Patrick jumping into the 2016 race, which could include Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, and former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, opened the speculation spigot on Patrick’s political future. Barely.

“Deval would make a great president or vice president,” Obama said Wednesday when asked whether he would like to see Patrick seek national office in two years. “But, you know, I think, based on me talking to him, it sounds like he would like to take a little bit of a break. He’s still a relatively young man.”

Obama continued, “He’s done a great job for the state of Massachusetts. And, you know, when you look at everything he’s been able to accomplish, and the strength of economic growth and job creation, the reforms that have taken place around education and improvements in transportation, Deval’s done a great job, and I think signals that he could be very successful at the federal level as well. I suspect, knowing his wife I as I do, that they’re going to be taking a little bit of time off, but it’s wise for him not to foreclose it, because he’s an enormous talent and I know he still has a lot of energy and vision left in him.”

Patrick, who is not running for re-election, has not closed the door on future runs for office.

Obama, who addressed Patrick’s political future during an interview with NECN, praised New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who is facing a potential challenge from former Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown.

“If Scott Brown wants to move down to Texas, we could always use some moderate Republicans in other parts of the country,” Obama said, echoing the Democratic line of attack that Brown has been willing to swap states to advance his political career.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @josreports.
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