BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Sen. John Kerry have been tapped to speak at next month's Democratic National Convention, the party announced Monday, setting up what appeared to be a key role for Massachusetts Democrats as the party geared up for the fall presidential campaign against former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney.
Patrick, who was Romney's successor, will address the delegates on Sept. 4, the second night of the four-day gathering in Charlotte, N.C.
Patrick and Kerry, the party's 2004 presidential nominee, were among eight speakers added to the convention lineup, the Democratic National Convention Committee said. The others were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.
The committee did not announce specific dates or times for the speeches. The party had previously announced that Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the Massachusetts Senate seat held by Republican Scott Brown, would have a speaking role at the convention which runs from Sept. 3-6.
Patrick, a close friend of President Barack Obama, has been a prominent surrogate for Obama on the campaign trail in recent months. In a statement released by Patrick's political committee, the governor said he was proud to stand with the president.
"I look forward to this year's Democratic National Convention as we approach what is truly the election of a lifetime," Patrick said. "Because more than anything else, what is at stake right now is the American Dream.'
Patrick last year formed a political action committee, called Together PAC, to finance his travels and campaign activities on behalf of Obama's reelection effort. The PAC had raised nearly $1.3 million through June 30, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Romney, the presumed GOP presidential nominee, served one term as Massachusetts governor from Jan. 2003 to Jan. 2007, opting not to seek a second term as he turned his focus to running for the White House.
Democrats, including Patrick, have criticized Romney's stewardship in Massachusetts, saying the state lagged behind most others in job creation and that more state debt was added during the Republican's administration.
Patrick, however, has praised Romney for his role in passage of the state's first-in-the-nation universal health care law, which served as a model for Obama's national health care plan. Romney opposes the national law and has said he will seek to repeal it if he defeats the president in November.
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