The Presidential circus rarely comes to Massachusetts, so it was a nice little distraction to see it do so today. The Obama campaign wants to get a little messaging out of criticizing Romney's gubernatorial record, so this morning they posted a video of Massachusetts elected officials bemoaning the Romney years, and then held a presser in front of the Massachusetts state house with David Axelrod of the national campaign. It was unlikely this would happen without intrusion from Romney headquarters, which is walking distance from the site, and Team Mitt didn't miss the chance.
The result was a big morass of stupidity, which is exactly what Presidential campaigns mostly consist of. So it was like we were part of the scene.
The Democrats lined up 30+ officials on the steps, plus a few rows of supporters, to backdrop the speakers: Speaker Pro Tem Pat Haddad, presumably included as a woman with an impressive-sounding title; former North Adams mayor John Barrett, who has a storied history with Romney right-hand man Eric Fehrnstrom; Somerville mayor Joe Curtatone, because I don't know, because people think he's freakin' awesome; Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, who is not only Big Man in the Patrick administration but was also mayor of Worcester during Romney's tenure; and then Axelrod.
Nobody could hear much of what any of them said, because the Mittsters kept chanting and booing throughout. They even kept it up as reporters lobbed their questions. It was really pretty obnoxious -- I approve of the pre-event demonstrating, but let the speakers talk to the press.
It was probably also counter-productive. Yes, they spoiled the soundbites. But the zoo turned a pretty non-newsworthy presser into something the national media might enjoy highlighting, and regardless of how they report it, the coverage puts word out that there are criticisms of Romney's record as governor. Which was all the Obama campaign was trying to accomplish.
Nevertheless, it was probably the right thing for the Romney campaign to do. The Boston HQ toilers don't get to feel in on the action and excitement very often, so this was probably a morale-booster. They got to make signs, and think up chants -- "Axelfraud" was pretty decent -- and dress up as Gumby for some reason, and blow bubbles across the scene, and play Spy-vs-Spy with Democratic operatives (apparently the Mittsters were trying to get some kind of gas-powered bubble-making machine into the action, among other things).
So, no harm done, the Mitt staffers go back across the Washington bridge to the cubicles and computer screens with a little more spring in their step, and the Obama campaign has its video for those who might seek out the opposition view of Romney's Massachusetts record.