At Southie breakfast, pols yuck it up over Lt. Gov. Murray's crash, Gov. Patrick's absence

Mike Deehan, State House News Service
Mar. 18, 2012

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray's car crash last year provided ample material for dozens of politically charged taunts at Sunday morning's South Boston St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, with Murray himself making the most mockery out of the accident.

Introduced as a representative from NASCAR, Murray stepped on to the dais at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in South Boston in a stock car driver's jumpsuit and helmet, complete with corporate logos, while handing out cups of coffee and copies of the Boston Herald - a play on his explanation that he went out for coffee and a newspaper the morning of his high-speed crash.

After telling host Sen. Jack Hart (D-South Boston) that he had to "be in Holyoke for their parade in about 15 minutes," Murray added "I don't want anyone to worry about it, because this morning as acting governor I signed an executive order raising the speed limit to 108 miles an hour."

With Gov. Deval Patrick on vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. Senator Scott Brown filled the spotlight and had some of the sharpest barbs of the morning, telling his presumed Democratic opponent, Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, that he hoped she didn't get lost again on the way over from Cambridge.

The only Republican to speak, Brown also earned the distinction of being the only official to crack wise about incarcerated former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, joking that "Sal is a lot like John Kerry's yacht. He's spending a lot of time in Rhode Island lately."

For her part, Warren fired back at Brown, telling the audience that she heard her opponent's famed barn jacket cost $600. "Wow, here's a guy who could use a consumer advocate," Warren said.

Patrick's absence was also lampooned by several speakers and was the focus of a video sketch following Hart's travels across the Commonwealth in search of the missing Patrick, only to find him having a pint of Guinness at the L Street Tavern in South Boston.

Another theme was Treasurer Steven Grossman's presumed ambition for the corner office. "His campaign leaked a slogan for governor just the other day: Vote for Steve Grossman. He'll put the goober back into gubernatorial," cracked U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch.