Dukakis compares Trump to McCarthy; and Weld says Romney mulling Libertarian endorsement

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From State House News Service


PHILADELPHIA — The last Democrat to receive his party’s presidential nomination before the Clintons rose to become a national political force, Michael Dukakis shared some perspective Thursday, July 28, on November’s contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

“People say to me, ‘Have you ever seen anything like Trump?’ ” Dukakis told delegates from Massachusetts and Washington at a breakfast event Thursday, July 28, the last day of the Democratic National Convention. “Let me tell you about Joe McCarthy, who was riding high in the 1950s.”

Former Gov. Michael Dukakis, left, (here with former Rep. John Bussinger) has strong feelings about Donald Trump and the impending election.

State House News Service / file

Former Gov. Michael Dukakis, left, (here with former Rep. John Bussinger) has strong feelings about Donald Trump and the impending election.

The Wisconsin Republican senator’s pursuit of Communists within American society in the early years of the Cold War gave him notoriety that lasted well after his death in 1957.

Well before Dukakis ran for state representative in Massachusetts, he became politically involved while attending Swarthmore College, just outside of Philadelphia, where Dukakis said city politics were controlled at the time by a “Republican machine.”

Democrats from around the nation spent the week meeting in Philadelphia to nominate Clinton for the presidency and organize ahead of the fall elections.

Dukakis was drafted into the U.S. Army after his studies, entering the service after a truce in the North Korean War — a conflict that has yet to be fully resolved.

At Fort Dix in New Jersey, Dukakis said, he faced detailed questions about his chairmanship of Students for Democratic Action.

“My interviewer had a file — on me! With every single political activity that I had ever engaged in at Swarthmore College,” Dukakis told the room. He said, “The FBI had a tap on the Swarthmore switchboard” and recorded every phone conversation that went through it.

Congress has since enacted some reforms against spying on Americans’ political activities.

The former governor’s implication was that Trump is not unique in American history. Trump has castigated and mocked his political opponents, while amassing a large and determined group of people supporting his presidential campaign.

Can you tell me why this man has an excellent chance to be the next president of the United States? A trio of professors speaking at Clark this week think they have an explanation.

Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump

“It’s not that that makes me feel good about Trump — I mean the guy’s a screwball,” Dukakis said.

Trump has argued President Barack Obama and Clinton suffer from weakness that spurs international rivals to act against the country. The New York City developer, a ubiquitous presence on television, has also knocked Clinton for her avoidance of press conferences.

Dukakis said hard work would be required from Democrats to defeat Trump in November.

“Every state is in play. Both ways,” Dukakis said. Crediting Bay State activists with electing Elizabeth Warren to the U.S. Senate in 2012, the Brookline Democrat said, “You did that. Twenty-five thousand people out in the street in those precincts, knocking on doors, and that is what we’ve got to do in every state in the country.”

— Andy Metzger (SHNS)


Last cycle’s Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, may be considering an endorsement of the Libertarian ticket that includes another former Republican governor of Massachusetts, Govs. Gary Johnson and William F. Weld told CNN last Thursday.

Former Govs. William Weld and Mitt Romney (here at late former Gov. Paul Cellucci's State House memorial service in June 2013) have a mutual respect.

State House News Service / file

Former Govs. William Weld and Mitt Romney (here at late former Gov. Paul Cellucci’s State House memorial service in June 2013) have a mutual respect.

Johnson and Weld, the Libertarian presidential and vice presidential nominees, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during a live interview in Philadelphia that they have spoken with Romney and believe he may be considering a formal endorsement of their ticket.

“I think he’s considering the possibility of doing this … actually endorsing the two of us,” Johnson said.

Romney, the former one-term governor of Massachusetts, has been a vocal critic of GOP nominee Donald Trump. In a clip of an interview with Blitzer in June from Utah, Romney said, “If Bill Weld were at the top of the ticket it would be very easy for me to vote for Bill Weld for president.”

Romney said he did not know Johnson as well and planned to “look at what he has to say.”

Johnson said the two men have spoken since, and Weld said, “He’s thinking about it, Wolf, and I don’t want to press the point unless and until we get to 15 percent because then I think the case is overwhelming.”

Both Johnson and Weld said climbing in the polls to 15 percent to allow them to get on the debate stage with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump is critical to their chances of being a viable third-party option for voters in November.

The Johnson-Weld ticket received 5 percent support in a Suffolk University poll of likely Pennsylvania general election voters taken this week.

Weld, who left the Republican Party to run with Johnson, said their ticket has also picked up endorsements from several in the Bush family, including former President George W. Bush’s brother Marvin Bush and cousin Jonathan Bush, who is the co-founder and CEO of Watertown-based athenahealth.

“He’s all in, he says,” Weld said of Jonathan Bush, who the governor said has provided financial support for their campaign. Weld said he and Johnson are also “hopeful” that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who clashed with Trump during the primary campaign before withdrawing, will support their ticket.

— Matt Murphy (SHNS)

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