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Michael Dukakis calls Mitt Romney a ‘fraud’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Former Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis, in his famously blunt speaking style, today labeled Mitt Romney a “fraud” as governor, said that Elizabeth Warren’s US Senate ads have been disappointing and will be changed, and declared that Raymond L. Flynn had abandoned his political past by endorsing Scott Brown.

“We know better than anybody what a fraud this guy is," Dukakis said of Romney - now the Republican presidential nominee - as he addressed the Massachusetts delegation to the Democratic National Convention.

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Noting Massachusetts was 47th in job creation while Romney served as governor, said: “If every American voter hears that story, he’s gone, absolutely gone, because it’s the only thing he’s got left.”

Dukakis, appearing at the first party convention in the South since the 1988 meeting in Atlanta that made him the Democrats’ presidential nominee, implored the delegates to spread the word about Romney’s political record and then return home committed to working at the precinct level to organize voter turnout on behalf of Warren.

The Harvard Law School professor and consumer advocate is making her first bid for elective office by challenging Brown. The Republican incumbent is seeking his first full Senate term after staging an upset to win a 2010 special election to replace the late Democrat Edward M. Kennedy.

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“Folks, this is a tough campaign, but it’s very winnable,” Dukakis said. “Yeah, I know Elizabeth’s media hasn’t been as good as it should be, and she knows that, and I think you’re going to see some significant changes.”

A top Warren adviser later denied any such change in the ads, which are the product of media consultant and former Clinton aide Mandy Grunwald.

Yet hinting at the perceived potency of recent Brown ads featuring Democrats such as Flynn who have endorsed the senator, Dukakis took dead aim at the former Boston mayor.

“Let me tell you something: Ray Flynn hasn’t voted for a Democrat since he voted for George W. Bush in the year 2000,” Dukakis said. “You’re the folks who have to tell people this, because we know that.”

The former governor added: “The Ray Flynn that I worked with then, and I knew and respected, wouldn’t have given Scott Brown the time of day. … Tax cuts for the rich? Repealing Obamacare? Are you kidding me? Flynn? I don’t know what’s happened to him. … Change of life, I don’t know.”

Flynn was away from South Boston home, his wife, Kathy, told the Globe, and could not be immediately reached for a response.

Dukakis opened his breakfast speech by lauding Governor Deval Patrick for the speech he delivered at the convention Tuesday night. Dukakis said it was “the best I have ever heard him.”

The former governor said the part that “should be bottled by the Obama campaign and turned into a message from now until Election Day” was Patrick’s focus on his predecessor’s economic record while heading Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

Dukakis’s own presidential campaign was fueled on his economic record, which was labeled the “Massachusetts Miracle,” though he failed to win the White House and the state soon experienced an economic downturn that ignited a 16-year run of Republican governors ending with Romney.

“Massachusetts, under Romney, had the fourth-worst job-creation record of any state in the United States of America,” ticking off Michigan, Ohio, and Louisiana in the post-Hurricane Katrina era. “That’s the Romney record when it comes to job creation, this guy who just told us he’s going to create 12 million new jobs in the next four years.”

In a statement after Patrick delivered his speech, the Romney campaign defended the presidential candidate’s gubernatorial record.

“As governor, Mitt Romney presided over a historic turnaround of Massachusetts,” said spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “Under Governor Romney’s leadership, Massachusetts’ unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent, the economy created tens of thousands of new jobs, and the state’s rainy day fund grew to over $2 billion. If President Obama had half of Mitt Romney’s record, he’d be running on it.”

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