When the Democratic National Convention convenes next week, delegates will be gathering in North Carolina to renominate a man born in Hawaii, raised in Kansas, and officially residing in Illinois.

But the state putting the biggest imprint on the occasion may be the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

That's partly because of the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. Much of what's being planned for the DNC centers around testimony against Romney's tenure at Bain Capital and as governor.

In addition, two of the biggest speeches of the convention — timed for live national broadcast coverage — are the state's governor, Deval Patrick, and its Democratic candidate for US Senate, Elizabeth Warren. Massachusetts's US Senator, John Kerry, will also speak.

Also, a remarkable number of the most important remarks will be delivered by people associated with Harvard, and particularly Harvard Law School — where both the president and first lady got their law degrees. Patrick also went there. Warren teaches there. And keynote speaker Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, is a graduate.

Even the person running the show, the DNC CEO, is veteran Massachusetts operative Steve Kerrigan.

It all makes for the most Massachusetts-centric convention since the one that launched Barack Obama to national prominence — the one held in Boston to nominate Kerry in 2004.

This time, of course, Massachusetts comes not to praise the home-state nominee, but to whack the GOP White House hopeful around like a piñata.


The DNC's heavy Bay State focus is intended to forcibly repudiate the messages flowing this week from the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Romney, who prefers to keep the focus on his opponent's flaws, does not talk much on the campaign trail about Massachusetts — except to joke about how he served it briefly as governor, but not long enough to "inhale" government statism.

But that was expected to change this week as the Romney campaign planned for considerable dewy-eyed reminiscing about the Commonwealth in Tampa. (Or so it was planned at press time, with Hurricane Isaac putting convention plans in flux.)

Tens of millions of voters are expected to see testimonials from Romney's Beacon Hill administration, including former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and workforce secretary Jane Edmonds; his Bain Capital associates, including Bain boss Bob White and Staples founder Tom Stemberg; and his Belmont-based church leadership, including members he counseled.

So even before the DNC takes the stage, Americans will be getting an earful about Massachusetts. Even a planned RNC tribute from Olympic athletes — commemorating Romney's work at the Salt Lake City games — will be led by hockey legend Michael Eruzione of Winthrop and Boston University.

Naturally, the Obama campaign would like to counter all this with people who can throw cold water on Romney's version of his Massachusetts successes.

That plan was in place long before the Charlotte convention. Several Massachusetts Democratic legislators, including Revere's Kathi-Anne Reinstein and David Linsky of Natick, have been traveling the country for the national campaign, preaching the bad side of Romney's legacy. A sizable contingent of workers affected by Bain actions descended on Tampa for convention week.

"Mitt Romney came in as governor on three promises," Linsky says. "To not raise taxes, to be a great job creator, and to make government smaller. The reality is he failed at every one of those."

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