Healey turned in a solid debate performance Thursday night, but she whiffed on a softball question from NECN’s Alison King (demurring when King gave her a chance to criticize Romney for mocking Massachusetts around the country) and saw Patrick deliver the debate’s most quotable line (the “high horse” dig, which was delivered choppily but replayed endlessly the next day).
When you’re trailing in the polls with two weeks left, that’s not good enough — so Miller’s looking to give Healey a little help. First, he’ll play up the notion (belied by actual evidence from the debate, but whatever) that Patrick isn’t a non-threatening black man after all. “The real Deval Patrick is starting to come out,” Miller warns. “Now you see how Deval Patrick reacts when he doesn’t have a 69 percent lead [note: Patrick never had one]. Now you start to see him getting angry; you see him sulking; you see him getting pointed and getting a little nasty.” Spooky!
Also, Miller says, the press is ganging up on Healey: in addition to Patrick and Mihos and Ross, King and the other journalists on stage — the Globe’s Frank Phillips, Greater Boston’s Emily Rooney, moderator David Gergen — had it in for Healey, too. Hence King’s question, which (Miller says) was a “cheap shot,” not a softball; and hence Frank Phillips’s query to Patrick about the possible racial subtext of Healey’s ad.
To Miller’s credit, he regularly tangles with liberals who can forcefully argue the other side of the issue; today, he goes head-to-head with Warren Tolman and the Globe’s Steve Bailey. But he’s also got a pronounced juvenile streak, which (for example) makes him call Emily Rooney “Emily Looney” and use stupid voices to drive home the point. At one point, Bailey rips Miller for refusing to say one critical thing about Healey. Miller defends himself by saying he’s an “entertainer” — like Jon Stewart, but not as funny. “What I do is essentially the 21st-century version of a political cartoon,” he adds. Here’s the difference: if Jon Stewart were covering the Massachusetts governor’s race, surely he’d find something to mock Healey about — and he wouldn’t parrot Healey’s talking points.
John DePetro, 9 am–noon
Pro-Healey talking point: Healey deserves a one-on-one debate
DePetro seems to have given up on Ashley Mihos: he says her dad’s running a “vendetta race,” providing “comic relief,” and serving as a “frontman for Deval Patrick.” Healey deserves a one-on-one debate with Patrick, DePetro says. “It’s like trying to play a football game,” he adds, “and you’ve only got eight guys.”
The good from today’s broadcast: DePetro doesn’t bitch about the media being unfair to Healey during last night’s debate, and even acknowledges that Patrick has strategic reasons not to go one-on-one with Healey. The bad: he actually assumes the persona of the Healey campaign while defending Healey’s garage-rape ad. “That ad is a warning label on Deval Patrick, that’s what it is. Are we trying to scare you? No. It’s a reality women deal with.” The ugly: when a caller suggests, without a shred of evidence, that Patrick believes rape is just rough sex, DePetro responds as follows: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t speak for the man. That is quite a statement, but I can’t speak for the man.” That’s enough for today, John.