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Obama, Patrick, and the press

Barack Obama and Deval Patrick have some big things in common: race, David Axelrod, a reliance on a vague but uplifting message of unity and hope.

In the wake of Obama's election, though, he's handling the media much more savvily than Patrick did. Remember: less than a month after winning election as MA governor, Patrick upbraided the press--during a speech at the Mass. Newspaper Publishers Association--for their cynicism and their (alleged) collective failure to grasp the essence of his campaign. 

Obama, in contrast, is making a concerted effort to build strong relationships with the media. Today in the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz has a must-read piece on Obama's media charm offensive, in which the president-elect has wooed both the left and the right. 

Is it working? Consider the quote Kurtz got from Charles Krauthammer--who, as I noted yesterday, didn't exactly distinguish himself as an Obama sympathizer during the campaign: "Obama's a man who has demonstrated he is interested in hearing other views. I guess he wanted to continue that -- as well as co-opting the vast right-wing conspiracy." Michael Barone, meanwhile, told Kurtz that Obama is "an attractive person in a small setting. It's harder to hate someone you've had close contact with and who has pleasant characteristics."

The wisdom of cultivating the press post-election seems obvious. Two years later, I'm still not sure why Patrick took the tack he did. And I'm heartened to see Obama doing the exact opposite.

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