Skip to comments.Massachusetts Gov Says Obama Discussed Kennedy Replacement
Posted on 09/20/2009 8:46:31 AM PDT by IbJensen
Richmond, Mass. (AP) - Gov. Deval Patrick said Friday that President Barack Obama had personally talked to him about changing the Senate succession law in Massachusetts, and White House aides were pushing for him to gain the power to temporarily replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy amid the administration's health care push.
A month after a White House spokesman labeled the issue a state matter, Patrick said he and Obama spoke about changing the law as they both attended Kennedy's funeral in Boston last month. He also said White House aides have been in contact frequently ever since and pushing for the change so they can regain their filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate.
"He and his whole team have been very clear about that," Patrick told reporters after holding a Cabinet meeting near his Berkshire Mountains vacation home.
"It's out there that the Senate president and the (House) speaker are tyring to figure out whether this can be accomplished, and he fully understands, as do his aides, who I have talked to more about it, the importance of having the support for a change agenda down in Washington," Patrick added.
The governor spoke just moments after Republicans in the Massachusetts Senate temporarily blocked a bill allowing Patrick to name an interim appointment.
Democrats changed the succession law in 2004 to create a five-month special election campaign and block then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, from naming a temporary replacement if Sen. John Kerry had won his presidential bid.
To change the law now that there is a Democrat in the governor's office smacks of hypocrisy, the GOP says. The special election campaign is underway, with party primaries scheduled for Dec. 8 and the general election set for Jan. 19.
Sen. Bruce E. Tarr, a Gloucester Republican who raised the objection, said he assumes Democratic leaders believe they have the votes to pass the bill, yet he still holds out hope enough Democrats may be swayed to vote against it.
"I think there is some doubt about the ultimate outcome. Clearly the vote in the House was not a completely partisan vote," he said. "I'm not sure that anyone has an accurate count on who is on the yes side and who is on the no side."
Republicans, who hold just five of 40 seats in the state Senate, objected to the bill being taken up without formal notice. Under Senate rules, the objection means the bill can't be debated until the next formal session.
The body will next meet in a formal session on Monday. Senate President Therese Murray, a Democrat, has been tightlipped about the bill's chances.
The delay came a day after the Massachusetts House voted 95-58 in favor of the bill, with 42 House Democrats joining all 16 Republicans in opposition.
Supporters, including House Speaker Robert DeLeo, a Democrat, said the change is needed to ensure Massachusetts continues to be represented by two senators until voters can choose a replacement in the special election.
Kennedy, in a letter sent to lawmakers before his death, urged the change in law in a letters to Patrick and legislative leaders shortly before his death last month of brain cancer.
He said, "It is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens."
Besides Obama and his team, others in Washington closely watching the debate include Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Massachusetts' all-Democratic delegation to the U.S. House.
Obama presidential counselor David Axelrod has contacted Massachusetts officials and the Massachusetts branch of Obama's political arm, Organizing for America, has sent out e-mails advocating for the change.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. said Friday that qualms about whether to allow the interim appointment shouldn't be used to help defeat major policy issues like expanding Americans access to health care.
"Public policy questions important to everyone in America shouldn't be decided by a tragedy of death or some other non-electoral factor," Frank said.
The bill initially would have required the appointee be from the same party as the person who created the vacancy, a Democrat in the case of Kennedy's successor.
That requirement was stripped after critics in the House raised constitutional concerns and noted that more than half of voters in Massachusetts aren't enrolled in any party and would be barred from consideration.
Patrick has said he would extract from the appointee a promise not to be a candidate in the special election.
Yep, now they are saying the WH is telling Patterson not to seek re-election in NY, oh now an update: They now deny discussing it with Patterson.
The Constitution is treated worse than toliet paper with this clown un-freakin-believeable...
Mandatory civics class for every person under the age of 16 so every person in America can see how this is highly illegal with the branches of government. Don’t wait until it’s a senior year class with morons being able to vote and not understanding how our government works.
I am in a political science class in college and I am dumbfounded at how many newly graduated freshman have NO CLUE about how our government works.
Of course our recent Republican president interfered with state politics too.
Bush made it clear to MA governor Jane Swift that she was to pack her bags and not run for re-election thus making way for Mitt Romney.
All politics is dirty.
shades of Burris/Blago debacle and more anti-democratic jazz from the Czar of Czars.
I believe the best graphic here...is a white board with the words “ Massachusetts Constitution” with an eraser and marker in the background.
Massatwoshits is involved a criminal conspiracy to defeat Republicans.
First they pass a law which denied a Republucan RINO Governor the right to appoint a Senator, then they want to pass another law allowing a Rat Governor to do what the Republican Governor couldnt.
This isnt just an accidental incident , it is a planned attack on Republicans.
A planned attack with the President of the United States in on the conspiracy.
When you place this outright attack on Republicans in direct context with the criminal voter frauds of ACORN in other states, and realise that Obama was also involved in the formation of the corrupt ACORN, ,Actually was their lawyer,even a blind mole can see that America is under attack by the Democrat party who seeks to stay in power no matter what criminal acts is involved.
I’m very against the president or federal congress getting involved. But I completely support the state doing whatever it decides whether or not I like their decision (as long as they do it according to their constitution).
I think it’s the state’s right to change their laws in any way, even (especially) getting the best federal representation for their citizens. If their citizens don’t like it, they can replace their governor and/or state reps. Other states and feds should not have a say (the issue I have here is that Obama is influencing it or trying)
If you are against this, would you also be against a state trying to change state law to get a republican appointed to to delay the appointment of a democrat?
Massacheusetts to change the law preventing a Republican from naming a successor but allowing a Democrat governor to do so. Must be what the Dems call nuanced.
For Chri$t$ Sake Impeach this Bass Turd!
Perhaps Gov. Patrick should talk to Blago. Doing Obama’s bidding won’t get him anything and if he fails to cooperate he will find himself under investigation by the FBI.
Yes and all this from this esteemed Constitutional Law “lecturer”
i.e., he was affirmative actioned into the position as he didn’t know enough or write scholarly enough . . .if at all . . .just looked the “right” way
Kennedy was probably unconscious when this letter was written on his behalf.
FNC this am implied the appointment of senator is a done deal.
They are talking about apointing the angry clerk, Dukakis.
The democrat party doesn’t recognize municipal, state, or national jurisdiction when it’s inconvenient for them. The Party’s advancement comes first, always.
Dear Mitt hater, Swift was very unpopular and Mitt would have crushed her. Furthermore, Swift would be packing her bags regardless in the general.
Swift did not have to listen to anyone to stay or bow out. She left because it was in her best interests to leave.
This reminds me of the opening scene in "The Verdict," where Paul Newman starts off as a drunken, fallen lawyer passing around his business cards at a stranger's funeral.
Meaning El Supremo Obamo is the state,