Each month, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) appears on a radio show where he answers questions from listeners. On Thursday, a guy who used to live in Somerville, Mass., called.
"Governor," the man said. "This is Barack Obama, formerly of Somerville."
President Obama lived in the blue-collar, rapidly gentrifying city adjacent to Boston while he was a student at Harvard Law School -- and like many talk radio callers, he wanted to air a grievance. Kind of.
It's been a while since he lived in a basement apartment in Somerville's Winter Hill neighborhood that rented for the now-unheard of price of $900 a month.
"I’ve got a few complaints about service in and around the neighborhood," Obama said. "But I’ve moved down south since that time."
Patrick, who was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, is in the waning days of his governorship. This was his last "Ask the Governor" show, a program which airs on WGBH in Boston.
"I just wanted to let my dear friend know how proud I am," Obama said, praising Patrick for overseeing balanced budgets, increasing access to health care and the creation of clean energy jobs. "Deval, you've done good, man."
But, of course, friends have to razz one another. Even though the president lived in Massachusetts, he can't really say the name of the state.
"Mr. President, you know I love you, but you still have trouble saying Massachusetts," Patrick said.
"There's a little lisp thing that develops when I say Massachusetts," the president said. "I can spell it, though."
The governor urged him to use "the Commonwealth" instead.
Because it's Boston, it's pretty much the law that you have to talk about sports, the president weighed in on the Red Sox, how the Patriots are doing well and the Celtics -- well, aren't.
Like so many others in the greater Boston area, Obama racked up a whole lot of parking tickets. He drove a 1994 Toyota Tercel during law school, racking up 17 parking tickets between 1988 and 1991. According to the Boston Globe, Obama paid $375 in fines and fees to the city of Cambridge two weeks before he launched his presidential campaign in 2007. The then-senator from Illinois also paid the city of Somerville $73 in excise taxes and $45 in late fees from parking violations.
One of the show's hosts, Jim Braude, asked Obama about the parking tickets. Because parking is an art in eastern Massachusetts. It's also a sport -- and a vicious one at that.
“I think I had to before I took office," Obama said. "Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to step into the Commonwealth without being arrested."