Sour on Field? CNN Yearns for Deval Patrick to Be a Top Tier Candidate

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There have been five Democratic primary debates and nine candidates have already dropped out. But not long after the conclusion of Wednesday's Democratic debate, CNN analysts saved some of their loudest praise for a candidate that didn’t even make it onto the debate stage. In fact, the candidate didn’t announce his candidacy until last week. The candidate many of them were gushing over was former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

The first time Patrick’s name popped up was when CNN host and liberal activist Van Jones was trying to understand where a so-called “moderate” like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg would fit into the race. “Where is the room for the moderate to come in? And then Biden blows four tires in the last ten minutes. And you’re like -- If you're Bloomberg you start looking,” he quipped.

To that, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger threw Patrick’s name into the mix and it piqued Jones’ interest. “Or Deval Patrick. If you’re Deval Patrick, you look at that and you say, ‘how many times can Biden do that and survive,’” he wondered

Host Anderson Cooper brought up Patrick again, a few minutes later, saying they were talking about him during the commercial break. Cooper went again to Jones, who opined about how Patrick could “fix” the country like a progressive and “heal” the country like a moderate:

You want somebody who can fix the system but also heal the nation. We got the progressives right now. They're going to fix it. They're going to fix it. They don't seem very healing. The healers don't seem like they can fix it. I think that, for me, I think that a Deval Patrick, if all the cards fell his way, could be a somebody that could fix the system and heal the nation.

 

 

Former Obama adviser David Axelrod boasted about working on Patrick’s 2006 gubernatorial come from behind victory over the “establishment.” “And he was not the choice obviously of the political establishment there and he went town to town and he built a movement and he stormed that thing and he won the primary going away. He's a very charismatic person. He is a healing figure,” he proclaimed.

Axelrod warned that Patrick had a late start but still thought “it's possible.” “If he did well in New Hampshire, then he would be in a position to go to South Carolina where 60 percent of the electorate is African-American and he may be able to get something going,” he explained.

Next to sing Patrick’s praises was former White House adviser David Gergen. He thought Patrick’s challenges were his quietness and a lack of “spark.” But there was a silver lining to that, according to Gergen: “But he's very likable for that. You have a lot faith in him, you have a lot trust in him.”

Well, I've known Deval for a long time and admired him as governor. I think he was very good,” he added. “You know, he's got to move things quickly. He’s got to get people emotionally engaged.”

Then there was senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, who found Patrick to be “very warm and compelling and he seems humble. And it sort of translates I think on TV in a way that could do him some good. I think the issue is it's so late.

Eventually, they would opine about how good of a vice-presidential candidate Patrick would be if he didn’t get the nomination. But given that we’re this far into the Democratic primary process and they’re yearning for someone not even on the debate stage, it says something about what they think of the field.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s DNC Post Debate Analysis
November 21, 2019
11:24:04 p.m. Eastern

(…)

VAN JONES: If you take away those last stumbles, if I'm Bloomberg and I'm watching, I say to myself, you got Biden doing pretty well, you got Pete doing pretty well. Where is the room for the moderate to come in? And then Biden blows four tires in the last ten minutes. And you’re like -- If you're Bloomberg you start looking.

GLORIA BORGER: Or Deval Patrick.

JONES: Or Deval Patrick. If you’re Deval Patrick, you look at that and you say, “how many times can Biden do that and survive?”

(…)

11:29:57 p.m. Eastern

ANDERSON COOPER: So, just in terms of—we’re talking about this during the break a little bit. Just in terms of Deval Patrick or Bloomberg, what is the lane, what is the play that they see?

JONES: I would love to hear David on this. But from my point of view, I think, we have two extraordinary progressives in Warren and in Bernie. We still don't have an extraordinary moderate. You see Pete trying to get there. Klobuchar has signs of it sometimes. Biden still, he's beloved but not doing it. So, there's still room for somebody to do what you were talking about earlier, David Gergen.

You want somebody who can fix the system but also heal the nation. We got the progressives right now. They're going to fix it. They're going to fix it. They don't seem very healing. The healers don't seem like they can fix it. I think that, for me, I think that a Deval Patrick, if all the cards fell his way, could be a somebody that could fix the system and heal the nation.

DAVID AXELROD: Well, look. Full disclosure, I worked with him in his governor's race in 2006. He started off at three percent in Massachusetts, a state that is overwhelmingly white. And he was not the choice obviously of the political establishment there and he went town to town and he built a movement and he stormed that thing and he won the primary going away. He's a very charismatic person. He is a healing figure.

(…)

But it is very late. It is very late. He would have to do very well in New Hampshire. He's from the neighboring state. It's possible. But I think that the candidates who are in it have a toe hold there. And then, if he did well in New Hampshire, then he would be in a position to go to South Carolina where 60 percent of the electorate is African-American and he may be able to get something going.

(…)

DAVID GERGEN: Well, I've known Deval for a long time and admired him as governor. I think he was very good. I think one of the challenges he has, he's rather quiet. He’s not someone who has great spark. But he's very likable for that. You have a lot faith in him, you have a lot trust in him. But whether he can galvanize and move -- You know, he's got to move things quickly. He’s got to get people emotionally engaged.

(…)

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: And he's very warm and compelling and he seems humble. And it sort of translates I think on TV in a way that could do him some good. I think the issue is it's so late.

(…)

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Cable Television CNN Video David Axelrod David Gergen Nia-Malika Henderson Deval Patrick Van Jones

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