Deval Patrick: Democrats lost because Obama can’t communicate

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — Outgoing Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts says President Barack Obama’s failure to communicate a clear, concise message leading up to the 2014 midterm elections was largely what led the Democratic party’s demise.

“I think it was a huge mistake,” Patrick said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“One problem the President has is he doesn’t tell the story well or regularly,” he said. “When Democrats … grow a backbone and stand up for what it is we believe, we win.”

In light of the midterm sweep, Obama himself admitted he has not always been the most proactive communicator-in-chief.

Citing a long list of the Obama’s accomplishments, the two-term governor expanded on that point, arguing the President should have made a greater effort to highlight his and his party’s successes ahead of the election.

“You know the importance of repetition is something I had to learn,” Patrick said. “It’s not to say that everything has been solved, we have reached the Promised Land. But we are better off than we were.”

But while Patrick blamed the President for his party’s losses nationally, the Massachusetts chief executive himself shirked responsibility for his own state’s failure to elect Democrats.

“I wasn’t on the ballot,” Patrick said. “I ran against the same — against the (Republican Governor-elect Charlie Baker) four years ago. We had a different outcome then. We had a good candidate who got better as she came closer to Election Day. Of course, (Democrat Martha Coakley) was outspent 9- or 10-to-1.”

Asked if he felt any responsibility for her defeat, Patrick said he was “sorry for that” but that “the outcomes of elections depend on the candidates, not the folks on the sidelines.”

Looking to the next election, Patrick had lovely things to say about fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton, but he admitted the thought of her as the inevitable Democratic candidate is bad for the party — a point he has been stressing for months.

“I think Hillary Clinton — Secretary Clinton — has been an extraordinary public servant and would be a terrific candidate for president,” Patrick said. “But I think that the narrative that it’s inevitable is off putting to regular voters.”

“I don’t mean that as a criticism of her. I just think that people read inevitability as entitlement. The American people want and ought to want their candidates to sweat for the job — to actually make a case for why they are the right person at the right time.”

Reflecting on his own political future, the outgoing governor says he’s thought about a 2016 run, but has ruled it out.

“I have thought about it,” Patrick admitted. But, he added, “I can’t get ready for 2016.”

“I didn’t run for the job (as governor) to get another job, just to do this job.”

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