Baker fights imaginary 'Patrick-Cahill' ticket

Associated Press | 9/21/2010, 7:34 p.m.

Rubin went on to work under Cahill, serving as first deputy treasurer — the top administration post in the office. But he left after a falling out, and has since gone on to not only be Patrick’s chief of staff, but his top campaign adviser.

Despite their political and personal differences, Patrick and Cahill have a common interest in this campaign: beating Baker.

Baker and the Republican Governors Association carpet-bombed the two of them throughout the summer with $2 million worth of negative ads. That helped drive down both Patrick and Cahill’s poll ratings, while improving Baker’s.

Now Cahill is delighting as the Democratic Governors Association comes to Patrick’s aid, with a new anti-Baker ad that mimics Big Dig criticisms both the governor and treasurer have made about the Republican.

Patrick has even taken to complimenting Cahill repeatedly in their debates, just enough of an embrace to keep Cahill from appearing to be a fringe candidate, but not enough to be a real threat to the governor.

“I agree with Tim that the focus has to be on growing jobs,” Patrick said at one point last week during a debate on WTKK-FM. “Tim is exactly right by calling attention to the (education) achievement gap,” the governor said later.

The mutual admiration underscores Baker’s rationale for linking Patrick and Cahill, even if they are running against each other, even if they are not in the same political party, even if there are bad feelings between their staffs.

Baker notes Cahill endorsed Patrick just before the hotly contested 2006 gubernatorial primary. Then he campaigned with him against the Republican nominee, Kerry Healey.

“I think in some ways, he’s the CFO on Beacon Hill,” Baker said of Cahill. “If he has positions on some of these issues that were different than the governor’s, he had every opportunity — with the bully pulpit and everything else — to make his opinions known on that, and he didn’t.”

Associated Press