In asking the question Sunday, Todd noted that Patrick has deep-pocketed friends from his work over the past five years at Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney.
Patrick, speaking live from San Diego, Calif., said he would want all Super PAC donors disclosed, and that “there’s too much money in the system, and I’m going to have something to say about that from a policy point of view as we get a little further along.”
The 63-year-old stunned some observers when he formally entered the race Thursday, just 80 days before the Iowa caucuses. He has acknowledged the long-shot nature of the effort, saying that while a White House bid is “a Hail Mary under any circumstances, this is a Hail Mary from two stadiums over.”
But Todd suggested that Patrick could have a winning play, opening Sunday’s interview with a new CNN/Des Moines Register poll showing South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg surging to 25 percent support among likely Iowa caucus-goers, past Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent, and both former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who each have 15 percent.
Iowa Democrats, Todd suggested, could be searching for a candidate different from the established frontrunners, someone more moderate than Warren or Sanders.
Asked about the similarity between his and Buttigieg’s pitches to voters, Patrick said he isn’t “trying to climb on top of [the other candidates] in order to do what I want to do and what I think I can do.”
Patrick said he has “a record of being a bridge builder” and that quality is “important at a time when, not just the party, in some respects, but the nation is deeply divided, and divided frankly around issues . . . where we have . . . a remarkable amount of overlap, in terms of economic anxiety and social tensions, which we have experienced at different times in our history.”
He didn’t mention his sometimes rocky relationship with Massachusetts’s Democrat-led Legislature during his 2007-2015 tenure.
Patrick also stressed his life experience and professional experience, saying they give him a variety of perspectives from which to address problems.
Later, Todd pressed him on his entry into the race, asking if it wasn’t an implicit rebuke to Warren, a fellow Massachusetts Democrat widely seen as being further to the left than moderate Patrick.
“Well, I don’t want to go there,” Patrick said, calling Warren a friend with whom he has socialized, along with their spouses, and praising her campaign.
“It’s been enormously disciplined, I think,” he said, going on to highlight their difference on health care — Warren favors Medicare for All, while Patrick said he supports a public option, which might or might not be Medicare.
Patrick pointed to the successful expansion of health care in Massachusetts to “over 98 percent of our residents. I still don’t think there’s another state in America that has gotten that far.” He didn’t mention the troubles that long plagued the Massachusetts Health Connector website under his watch.
Asked why he had declined to run for president many times in the past, Patrick said he had planned to announce a run late last year, but his wife, Diane Patrick, was diagnosed with uterine cancer just before he launched the campaign, so it was set aside.
“That had to be first priority,” Patrick said. “We celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary in June, and I’m delighted to say that she is cancer free, thank God.”
Patrick said his wife is deeply engaged in politics and had been glad not to see him on the debate stage, competing with friends and colleagues, “but she’s also been one of the ones listening closely and responding to folks who have said, ‘There is a lane for you.’ More to the point . . . that the nation needs experience, not just a sensibility around bridge-building, but actually some results.”
Patrick compared the current moment of national crisis to the economic crisis Massachusetts weathered while he was governor, signing into law $1 billion in tax increases while juggling deep budget cuts. He said the state had “used a crisis . . . to come out stronger economically, stronger socially, and more fair.”