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Massachusetts Democrats Relish Attack Role on National Stage

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"We have a guy running for president now, we were all at Faneuil Hall - all of you folks were there, TV cameras blaring, [and he said] 'This is great for Massachusetts,'" Menino said, referring to Romney's signing of the state's landmark health care reform act.

"Now: 'It's the worst thing to happen in America.' It's like a windmill: back and forth, back and forth," Menino said.

Romney's backers, of course, insist he has strong core values. Indeed, many speakers at the GOP convention last week in Tampa, Fla., painted Romney as a deeply decent man with a strong moral compass.

Massachusetts Democrats haven't been all negative in their discussion of Romney's time leading the state. They have spent a lot of effort here heaping praise on the health care reform law that he signed.

"He did one profoundly important thing - really, profoundly important," Patrick told a press gaggle at an event on Tuesday. "And that's health care reform."

The state Democratic Party helped arrange a panel titled "Romneycare Works" with experts explaining and lauding the law. The twist is, of course, the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - which Romney says he will work to undo if elected - was largely based on the Massachusetts effort.

James Roosevelt, Jr., the general counsel for the state Democratic party, who also happens to be the president and CEO of Tufts Health Plan, made the case to Roll Call earlier this week that what Romney signed was incredibly effective. And he said that Romney was a key participant in influencing the legislation.

"The individual mandate was his idea and he convinced the rest of us that that was a good idea," he said. "We were all very skeptical."

But even with all the discussion from the delegation about Romney, there were signs that maybe Bay Staters wanted to talk about other things too.

"I don't think we ought, as Massachusetts residents, to be too drawn into ... all the questions we get about the former governor of Massachusetts. We're not here for Mitt Romney," Patrick said to the delegation breakfast. "We're here to defend a vision of this country.

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