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Kerry Healey reassumes her role as Mitt Romney’s defender, pit bull

Jessey Dearing for The Boston Globe

Former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and, behind her, the State House, where she used to work.

TAMPA - Kerry Healey today reassumed her role as Mitt Romney’s defender and pit bull, imploring members of the Massachusetts delegation to the Republican National Convention to evangelize about her former running mate’s record to the media and their fellow delegates.

“Let’s get the record out there. Let’s tell the truth. We can be the truth-tellers here at this convention. Span out,” the former Massachusetts lieutenant governor told the delegation as its members noshed on a continental breakfast at their hotel.

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Healey accused “Obama,” referring to President Obama, of distorting Romney’s job-creation record both on the stump and in his campaign advertising.

Instead, Healey noted the deficit she and Romney assumed upon taking office in 2003, and their record of cutting taxes 19 times and reducing the state’s unemployment rate to 4.7 percent by the time they finished their term in 2007.

“So, if anyone has anything to say to you about things they’ve heard on the television, those ads that the Obama campaign put out there about Mitt Romney's job creation, remember, when he left our state, unemployment was under 5 percent – full employment - and we were doing just fine.”

The breakfast was open to members of the Massachusetts media after reporters complained Sunday about plans to seal off the delegates’ lodging - the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina - from anyone who was not a registered guest.

Bay State reporters typically stay with the delegation at party conventions, but they were sent to separate quarters in Tampa after Romney secured the Republican nomination and with it convention housing in the Marriott.

He was able to bring the Massachusetts delegates along with him, but the remainder of the rooms were reserved for major GOP supporters.

Refusing admission to the hotel to anyone but guests would have prevented coverage of the delegations activities, including their daily breakfast meetings.

Party officials decided to relax the rules at least until Ann Romney arrives Tuesday for her scheduled convention speech.

Also addressing the delegates today were Mitt and Ann Romney’s youngest son, Craig, and senior campaign adviser Beth Myers.

Craig Romney told the story of how his father once shut down Bain Capital so its employees could help search New York for the runaway daughter of a co-worker.

“My Dad has achieved tremendous things in his career,” said Craig Romney, ticking off his achievements at Bain, at the 2001 Olympic Winter Games, and as governor, but he said the search showed particular human compassion.

“I think raising our family, I consider to one of his greatest accomplishment, but I think even greater accomplishments await him - and they await him in the White House,” Craig Romney said.

Myers, who was Romney’s gubernatorial chief of staff and spearheaded his vice presidential search, also broke protocol by openly speaking about polling between Obama and her boss.

She cited a new Washington Post poll showing the two in a statistical tie, but with Romney at 47 percent and the president at 46 percent.

“That’s a great place to be going into the convention,” Myers said. “We’ve got the wind at our backs; we need to bring this home.”

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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