The Codcast: Weld flashes the old charm

William Weld made libertarianism sound like a political middle ground between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during an interview Tuesday night with CommonWealth magazine.

The former Massachusetts governor, who is running for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket with former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, said his focus will be on raising $50 million for the campaign and elevating its media profile. He said he and Johnson will go after Bernie Sanders supporters and Republicans unwilling to embrace Trump.

Weld talked fondly of Hillary Clinton, with whom he worked in the 1970s — “I’ve defended her over the years. Whenever the Republicans brought out the heavy artillery I was her character witness” (13:05) — but doubted she would embrace the centrist policies espoused by her husband, specifically mentioning welfare reform and international free trade agreements. He had less kind words for Trump, suggesting the Republican’s positions on immigrants, a wall along the Mexican border, and nuclear weapons were reckless and on the wrong side of history.

He backed away from the tough-on-crime stance he adopted in 1990 when he mounted his first campaign for governor. Weld at the time promised to introduce inmates to the “joys of busting rocks,” but now says a new way of thinking has emerged around incarceration.

“I’m developing on that stage,” he said. “I think the United States is undergoing a reexamination of that, including the mandatory minimums, which I championed when the US Sentencing Commission came into being in the 1980s. (4:15)

Weld also said he would vote for marijuana legalization in Massachusetts, although he questioned whether it will pass. (9:05) He broke with Libertarian orthodoxy on such issues as the United Nations and taxes, but said he would like to move Obamacare in a more “personal choice direction.” (27:00).

He talked about signing on to run with Johnson very quickly, closing the deal with a handshake at a four-hour meeting in Las Vegas with the libertarian leader. What made him do it? “I feel kind of like the Rosie Ruiz of 2016,” he said. “To answer your earlier question, are you just gabbing the platform? Well, yeah. You’re in all 50 states. You don’t have to watch what you say because you don’t have to worry about the Republican social conservative policies that I’ve been carrying on my back for 25 years and none too happy about it…We get to tell the truth…You’re going to see us swing away.” (32:00)

The 70-year-old Weld said he and Johnson would be political partners and share the same staff if they were elected, an arrangement that he used effectively when he was running Massachusetts with his lieutenant governor, Paul Cellucci.

Weld said he emailed Gov. Charlie Baker after he announced his vice presidential candidacy, telling him he waited to inform him to provide him with deniability. He said Baker emailed back “copy that,” or something to that effect. Weld refused to criticize Baker for saying he doesn’t plan to cast a vote in the presidential contest, but had a twinkle in his eye when he suggested Baker might have a change of heart when he goes behind the curtain. “I bet he’ll think of someone to vote for,” he said. (30:25)

While still a Grateful Dead fan, Weld said he now listens to Spotify and has other music favorites, including Desmond Dekker & the Aces and the Proclaimers. (40:20)



Cape Wind sharply attacks the House energy bill, calling it anticompetitive, unconstitutional, and a legislative form of bid-rigging. (CommonWealth)

Gov. Charlie Baker and his counterparts from the other New England states pledge to cooperate in addressing the opioid addiction crisis. (State House News)

The Massachusetts Senate prepares to take up a controversial zoning and housing bill. (Masslive)

The T police association’s pension fund is resisting calls to release records despite a court decision and calls from the Baker administration to open up their books. (Boston Herald)

State officials at this year’s annual BIO conference in San Francisco roll out a new tax incentive program that will target small medical and biotech companies. (Boston Globe)


A Telegram & Gazette editorial says Worcester is experiencing a lot of promising development, and it’s coming from many different players.

Boston will roll out a New York City-type system that uses prominently displayed letter grades at restaurants to reflect their latest health and safety inspection result. (Boston Herald)

Cambridge renames Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. (WBUR) Cue the Howie Carr  outrage column. (Boston Herald)

Quincy officials are hoping to amortize the $4.2 million they were ordered to pay the Woodward School for Girls as a result of a long-running legal battle over a trust fund started by President John Adams. (Patriot Ledger)


US Rep. Niki Tsongas’s buy-American-sneaker amendment, intended to help New Balance, heads to the Senate for a key vote. (The Sun)

The Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee has unveiled a bill to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act with a number of measures including allowing banks to resume speculative investing with federally insured deposits. (U.S. News & World Report)

Enough with the gauzy hagiography, says Jeff Jacoby, who recalls Muhammad Ali as a radical  separatist with abhorrent views on race. (Boston Globe)


There’s no denying history: Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to top a major party ticket with convincing primary wins in California and New Jersey primaries. (New York Times)

A chastened Donald Trump tries to hit the reset button on a bad week. (Time) House Speaker Paul Ryan, who came reluctantly to Trump’s camp, denounced the presidential candidate’s attacks on a judge as racist but says he still supports his party’s presumptive nominee. (New York Times) Some are jumping ship, though, with Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mark Kirk of Illinois withdrawing their support of the party’s presumptive nominee. (Boston Globe)

Two Democrats — and no Republicans — head into the final for the US Senate seat in California being vacated by Barbara Boxer. (Los Angeles Times)

A Salem News editorial welcomes William Weld back to national politics, suggesting his likability may be a big factor in any success he and Gary Johnson have running as Libertarians. In what must be music to Weld’s ears, a Herald editorial says the major party candidates’ sky-high negatives will leave voters “scratching their heads and wishing for Door No. 3.”

Proponents of a ballot question mandating only cage-free egg sales in the state released an undercover video taken at a Maine egg farm showing hens crammed in cages, sometimes standing on dead hens. (Boston Globe)

Secretary of State William Galvin is developing the rules for voting early in the presidential race. (WBUR)


Gov. Charlie Baker‘s decision to replace seven of the nine members of the volunteer Marine Fisheries Advisory Council was initially seen as political payback by commercial fishermen but some now say the move has brought fresh eyes to the panel. (Cape Cod Times)


Worcester Polytechnic Institute president Laurie Leshin says the school would never blame a rape victim for being raped and blamed comments in court papers on an insurance company the college is no longer associated with. (Masslive)

UMass Lowell agrees to pay $321,000 to the city of Lowell to cover the lost taxes from converting a building on the edge of campus into a dormitory. (The Sun)

A state Board of Higher Education committee has voted to change the policies covering unused sick leave and vacation time at the 26 colleges and universities in the wake of the uproar over the payout to former Bridgewater State University president Dana Mohler-Faria. (The Enterprise)


A new study finds a significant race and gender pay gap among US doctors, with black and female physicians earning significantly less that white male doctors, even after accounting for specialty and level of experience. (STAT)

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about an increasing number of overdoses, including fatal ones, related to common anti-diarrhea medicines that contain a drug that can produce heroin-like highs when taken in massive quantities. (Associated Press) 


Joe Aiello, the chairman of the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board, says one of the transit agency’s biggest infrastructure challenges is its workforce. (CommonWealth)


The state Department of Environmental Protection orders the Casella landfill in Charlton to report on possible contaminants in groundwater even though the company is saying it isn’t responsible. (Telegram & Gazette)


The Brockton Enterprise spotlights a former addict released from prison in the Annie Dookhan drug lab scandal who credits the former chemist’s misdeeds with turning his life around, unlike the scores of reports of others who have been freed but reoffended.


Toronto Star public editor Kathy English investigates what prompted one of the newspaper’s reporters to commit suicide.