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In interview, Baker rebuts Democratic charges, says he regrets parts of 2010 campaign  

Baker noted he still opposes Cape Wind, saying there are far cheaper and more efficient ways to deliver clean energy to state ratepayers. “It’s just not an economically viable project,” he said of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, calling it a “windfall” for the project’s developers.

Credit:  By Jim O’Sullivan and Frank Phillips, Globe Staff | www.boston.com ~~

SWAMPSCOTT – Republican Charles D. Baker on Thursday rebutted Democratic charges that he had bungled the Big Dig financing plan, calling the allegations a sign that Democrats are mired “in the last century” and are running low on affirmative proposals of their own.

Speaking to the Globe for the first time since announcing his run for Governor Wednesday, Baker brushed off the Democrats’ revival of an attack from the 2010 campaign over his role in the Big Dig project as the state’s budget chief, calling it a stale issue.

“I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about stuff that happened in the last century,” he said.

He added, “If that’s really all they have to talk about, they’re pretty much out of ideas.”

Three years after his loss in the governor’s race left him with a “bruised ego,” Baker told the Globe during an interview at his home today that he regretted how he had conducted his campaign against Governor Deval L. Patrick in 2010, and wanted to spend more time listening during this one.

“I violated all of my own standards and rules for management and leadership,” Baker said of the last race.

Friends approached him after the 2010 contest and told him, “The guy I knew, I didn’t see him,” Baker said.

“I even felt that way,” Baker’s wife, Lauren, said, laughing as she sat next to him in the foyer of their Swampscott home where the interview took place.

Lauren Baker figures to play a vastly more prominent role in Baker’s 2014 campaign – after staying largely off stage during the 2010 race – as Baker looks to close a yawning deficit among female voters, whom he lost to Patrick by 24 percentage points.

Acknowledging that “I don’t love” politics, she said that after the last campaign, she was initially eager to run again.

“It was so frustrating,” she said. “It’s really hard to lose and I think the first thing I wanted was another chance and then I was like, ‘Wait a minute, why would you ever do that again?’”

The Bakers said they increasingly warmed to the notion of a second run over the course of the summer, although Lauren Baker said she was not completely certain that her husband would run again until the moment she saw the announcement video his campaign released on Wednesday.

Charles Baker said his struggle to connect with female voters in 2010 came in part because he didn’t “focus enough on my vision for Massachusetts” and pointed to “an ode” on his desk that nurses at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care had given him when he stepped down as CEO there.

“I believe I’m a real champion for women,” he said.

Baker said that although former Senator Scott Brown had indicated to him that he had other plans, Baker was not certain that Brown would not run for governor until he received a text message from someone who had been listening to Brown’s public announcement on WBZ radio several weeks ago.

Baker said he planned to center his 2014 campaign around three key subject areas: the economy, education, and building stronger partnership between Beacon Hill and local governments.

He said he would seek a repeal of the new software services tax, which businesses have criticized as devastating to the state’s technology sector. He also said he likely would have vetoed the casino bill that Patrick signed in 2011, but said he now views the issue largely as settled law.

Baker noted he still opposes Cape Wind, saying there are far cheaper and more efficient ways to deliver clean energy to state ratepayers. “It’s just not an economically viable project,” he said of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, calling it a “windfall” for the project’s developers.

Asked about signing a no-new-taxes pledge, an oath he took in his last campaign, Baker said he would not sign it again, saying he did not want to be shackled by such limitations as he sought to restructure the tax code. He did not signal a push to repeal Patrick’s 25 percent increase in the state sales tax.

Listing a series of reforms implemented under Republican administrations through bipartisan efforts, he downplayed the effectiveness of reforms enacted since Democrats have enjoyed autonomy on Beacon Hill.

Though he has already hired several staffers, Baker said he is in the process of vetting campaign managers. He has signed up Doug McAuliffe, a Virginia media consultant who produced Baker’s announcement video, and is working with Will Keyser, a longtime Democratic strategist who was a top aide for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Source:  By Jim O’Sullivan and Frank Phillips, Globe Staff | www.boston.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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