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Cicilline is Mr. On-Message

As the ProJo's Daniel Barbarisi made clear a few months back, Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline's budget was overly rosy, since it included no money for expiring contracts for four city unions and counted on the General Assembly supporting a series of new targeted fees. The latter didn't happen, and, as could be anticipated, new contracts will almost certainly come with new costs.

Asked today during a taping of Newsmakers whether his budget was too optimistic, Cicilline says he designed it with the notion that a property tax increase should be a last resort. Well, yeah, of course. (The show will be broadcast Sunday, at 5:30 AM on WPRI, CBS, Channel 12, and at 10 AM on WNAC, Fox Providence.)

With the US Conference of Mayors having passed a motion calling for a timetable for withdrawing US troops from Iraq, Cicilline nonetheless defended his endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Hillary, of course, voted for the war and angered critics of the war by long declining to disavow that vote. Cicilline says that if Hillary knew then what she knows now, she would have voted against the war. Yeah, of course.

Can you detect a pattern here?

Cicilline deserves credit for a number of accomplishments during his time at City Hall, but as he seemingly moves closer to a gubernatorial run in 2010, his relentlessly on-message patter can sometimes be frustrating, if not annoying.

It's too much to expect that more pols would be as candid and self-revealing as Lincoln Chafee. But can't more of them make their points with a less predictable line of talk?

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