Governor Deval Patrick, continuing to ramp up his involvement in national politics, will be named today one of 30 national co-chairs of President Obama’s reelection campaign, according to aides to both men.
The title, which Patrick also held in Obama’s campaign in 2008, means the governor will advise the president on political strategy, host events on his behalf, and help organize Obama’s supporters in Massachusetts.
Patrick and Obama share roots in Chicago and political advisers in David Plouffe and David Axelrod, and consider one another to be friends. They often meet for dinner when the president is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard.
Patrick has already begun campaigning on the president’s behalf, speaking to Democratic activists in North Carolina, Colorado, and New Hampshire. He has opened a federal political action committee that allows him to finance his travel, and recently signed a deal to publish an e-book about “the nation’s liberal majority” in May, and another book in 2014. He has also become an occasional guest on the Sunday political talk circuit.
Taking on the role of co-chair is the latest indication that Patrick – who says he plans to return to the private sector when his current term expires in 2014 - is trying to raise his profile on the national stage, raising speculation that he may run for president in 2016, or take a job as a Cabinet official, if Obama wins a second term.
Critics have contended that Patrick, with his increasingly heavy load of political activities, risks losing focus on his job as governor -- a problem Massachusetts voters are all too familiar with, after governors William F. Weld and Paul Cellucci stepped down early to pursue ambassadorships. But Patrick insists he can juggle his gubernatorial duties, national political work, and the demands of his publisher.
“I am proud and honored to serve as a co-chair for President Obama’s reelection campaign,” Patrick said in a statement.
“Against extraordinary odds, President Obama has delivered access to health care to all Americans, revived the auto and financial industries, ended the war in Iraq and wound down the war in Afghanistan, and repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” he said. “But his work, and ours, is far from done. When other candidates assert that everyone ought to be on his or her own, the president has shown that he understands that we are in this together, and that there is no problem beyond our capacity to care about and to solve.”
Michael Levenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.