For many a Massachusetts politician, a White House dream

By Steve LeBlanc

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, April 15 2012 9:00 p.m. MDT

Just four years later, another politician of modest means got into the race: former Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas, who'd left the Senate in 1984 after being diagnosed with the cancer. He looked to jumpstart his candidacy with his fiscal conservatism and the proximity of his hometown of Lowell, Mass., to New Hampshire and its first-in-the-nation primary.

Tsongas failed to secure the 1992 nomination, but Massachusetts wouldn't have to wait long before another favorite son would thrust himself into a presidential campaign.

In 2003, Democratic U.S. Sen. John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran who first won election to the Senate in 1984, announced his candidacy.

His foes also tried to cast him as a Massachusetts liberal, pointing to his decision to oppose the Vietnam War after being awarded three Purple Hearts for his service in the conflict. He lost the 2004 election to President George W. Bush.

By then, Romney, in his second year as Massachusetts governor, was already laying the foundation for his pursuit of the Republican nomination for the presidency. Despite a hard-fought campaign in 2008, Romney lost the GOP nod to Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain.

But Romney never really stopped running for president.

After the election of Barack Obama , Romney set about trying to position himself as the 2012 GOP nominee — a mission he's all but accomplished.

Even though he's a Republican, Romney has also been dogged by the Massachusetts liberal label, mostly for signing the state's landmark 2006 health care law, which became the model for Obama's 2010 national health care overhaul.

Romney has fought back, vowing to repeal the federal law if elected, and at one point declaring himself "severely conservative."

Since 1960, a number of Massachusetts politicians have also toyed with the idea of running for president, including Republican Gov. William Weld, Democratic Boston Mayor Kevin White and U.S. Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.

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