SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- Gov. Deval Patrick says Democrats need to get tough if they want to keep the White House and send a new Massachusetts senator to Washington come November.
In a fiery partisan speech to delegates at the Democratic State Convention in Springfield on Saturday, Patrick said the party must assert its values and not wait for "pundits and pollsters and economic indicators" to determine the election.
"It's time for Democrats to grow a backbone and stand up for what we believe," the governor said.
Patrick endorsed the U.S. Senate campaign of Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren earlier this week. He didn't mention Warren or Marisa DeFranco by name Saturday, but predicted that Massachusetts would send a "strong Democratic woman" to the Senate next year.
During his speech, Patrick urged Massachusetts Democrats to continue grass roots campaigning efforts, as they did in the run-up to the 2008 and 2010 elections. He told reporters his decision to endorse Warren was due, in part, to the grass roots organization she has built.
He also took his speech as an opportunity to comment on the presidential election, touting the accomplishments of current president and Democratic candidate Barack Obama while criticizing Republican candidate Mitt Romney's record in Massachusetts.
We had 16 years of Republican governors who were "more interested in having the job than doing the job," Patrick said. He added that Massachusetts was 47th in job creation when Mitt Romney was governor. He also criticized Republicans for what he believes is saying one thing and doing another.
The governor pushed the crowd to continue fighting for the American dream and to not let Obama get "bullied out of office."
Warren was expected to win the party's endorsement Saturday. DeFranco needs at least 15 percent support of the delegates to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot.