What to Expect from Deval Patrick at the DNC

deval patrickDeval Patrick speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Qqqqqq via Wikimedia Commons.

Just as it did during last week’s Republican National Convention, the state of Massachusetts is getting a lot of play at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. First to bat among the state’s speakers is Gov. Deval Patrick, who will talk at 9 p.m. Tuesday night. Here’s what people are expecting from his speech:

Hints at 2016: The Globe notes today that Patrick has been raising his national profile while campaigning for Obama this year, and this is his best shot at making a name for a potential 2016 run. Neera Tanden, domestic policy director for Obama’s 2008 campaign, tells the paper, “It’s the one time every four years you really show yourself to a large swath of people who are going to determine future elections, so it’s important to do well.” State Treasurer Steve Grossman tells the Herald: “It’s a great opportunity for the governor to … introduce himself to a national audience as somebody who after two terms of governor is the kind of person who is going to continue to play a significant role on the national stage over the next few years.” When someone is asked whether they want to run for president, answers tend to range from, “Absolutely not” to “let’s talk about something else,” so the fact that Patrick never rules out a run won’t do much to quell the 2016 subplot tonight.

Staying positive: “Both campaigns spend a lot of time in the contrasting and talking about what’s wrong with the other guy and so forth,” Patrick tells WBUR. “I want to talk about what’s right with this president, what’s right with his agenda and his vision.”

… Just kidding: Patrick will speak during a race where one of the candidates is a former governor of Massachusetts, so Mitt Romney is bound to come up. Patrick also tells WBUR, “I don’t think that he is either a moderate or a conservative. I think in practical terms he’s been more of an opportunist, in the sense of having a different thing to say depending on the audience he was in front of.”

Overshadowing: The networks won’t carry Patrick’s speech (cable news will), and it comes before San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, the keynote speaker, as well as Michelle Obama. Short of pulling a Clint Eastwood (and we’d have concerns with that strategy), it’ll be hard for Patrick’s speech to really dominate tomorrow’s headlines.