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Obama: Deval a man of integrity

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Obama: Deval a man of integrity

Excerpts from President Barack Obama’s speech before Gov. Deval Patrick’s fundraising reception at Westin Copley

There’s a core integrity about Deval, a sense that he wants to do the right thing and he is going to be tenacious in pursuit of the right thing; that he’s going to speak truth to power; that he’s not going to back down; that besides being extraordinarily gracious and just a good man, he’s somebody who has a vision for the future that can excite people.

And so I slowly watched here in Massachusetts as this incredible grassroots movement began to build and people from all walks of life and all corners of the Commonwealth started to converge and say, you know, we thought Patrick was Irish. He’s not, but we like him anyway.

And now what you’ve seen in addition to an extraordinary campaigner and an extraordinary campaign culminating in victory, are the fruits of that labor.  The fact of the matter is, is that since Deval took office he has performed extraordinary things under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.  There’s not a tougher time to be governor than right now.  And yet without losing his cool, without losing that steady inner calm that he has, Deval has gone about the business pushing through historic ethics reforms here in Massachusetts, working with his terrific lieutenant governor he’s made sure that education isn’t shortchanged, that this Commonwealth ends up being a leader in clean energy and biotech and all the innovative areas that are ultimately going to determine how well we’re able to compete around the world.

And as a consequence there really should be no doubt that this guy gets a second term.

But having said that, let’s be honest — this is going to be a tough race. Reelection is not a foregone conclusion, because times are tough and Deval is the first one to acknowledge that there are a lot of people hurting out there.  And although he and I are partners in making sure that we are continuing to fund basic research and we’re continuing to fund education and we are implementing health care reform in a way that works for ordinary families, the fact of the matter is, when people look at a high unemployment rate and they look at tough budget decisions that have to be made — the argument that, “Well, things would be a lot worse if it weren’t for Deval” and “things are going to be a lot better as a consequence of Deval” — that argument is a tough one to make.

It’s a lot easier to be irresponsible.  It’s a lot easier to push off tough decisions.  It’s a lot easier to just say, let’s just manage the status quo as best we can and spend a lot of time pointing fingers and blaming others for why we’re not getting things done.

And so the question I guess that I’m going to have for some of the core supporters and early investors in Deval’s vision, the question I have for you is: Were you in this just for the glamour and the excitement? Were you along for the ride just when it was easy?  Or did you really believe in what Deval was talking about?  Did you really believe that, you know, there was a gap between what could be accomplished in this state and the status quo and an understanding that it was going to take an enormous amount of effort and there were going to be a lot of ups and downs in order to close that gap.

 It’s going to take a lot of work.  We’re going to have to make sure that the same kind of excitement, the same kind of energy that was displayed the first time around is replicated.

And I am absolutely confident that as a consequence of the tough decisions that this governor is making right now, Massachusetts five years, 10 years, 15, 20 years down the road is going to be a much better place.  And that’s what we’re fighting for.   

 So I just want all of you to understand that the road between now and next November is going to be long, there are going to be lots of ups and downs.   But if all of you recognize that his core vision is right, that his integrity remains intact, that he is not tired, he’s energized, he’s ready to go, he’s still fired up — if all of you have that same spirit, then I’m absolutely confident that this team right here is going to win.