Convention floor interview: Michael Dukakis

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone

In the front row of the Massachusetts delegation is former Gov. Michael Dukakis, the party’s 1988 nominee, and his wife Kitty. They are alone, not mobbed by admirers, and seem happy and content. He turns 77 this year, but he’s still teaching at Northeastern Unuversity in Boston and at UCLA in the winter, and he’s busy with other things–too busy, she says. I askes about Rep. Jason Chafetz (R-Utah) who’s the son of Kitty’s first husband by his second wife. They’re on friendly terms, and Michael reveals–”this might hurt him”–that he was the Dukakis youth coordinator in Utah in 1988. “I was always obsessed with grass roots organizing,” Dukakis says, “and he organized the hell out of it when he beat Chris Cannon in the primary though he was outspent 10-1.” When Chafetz went to Washington, he says, he got some help from Steve Lynch and Jim McGovern of the Massachuetts delegation.

The mood changes from mellow to almost angry when the subject turns to Mitt Romney. Dukakis never heard much from Romney when the latter was governor and he doesn’t have much regard for his record. “Forty-seventh in job creation,” he says. “Thr guy is a bust at job creating.”

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