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March 18, 2013

Zingers and self-mockery lighten up political scene

BOSTON — The usual sting of Massachusetts politics was leavened with humor as pols poked fun at themselves and launched zingers at the annual South Boston Saint Patrick’s Day Breakfast yesterday.

“I was going to wear a big ‘Kiss me I’m Irish’ button today, but Lord only knows what the Herald would have said,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren told the crowd at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, referencing the tabloid’s coverage of her avowed Native American ancestry.

Irish ballads interspersed elected officials’ forays into stand-up comedy, and master of ceremonies and Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan bounded about the dais, singing and commenting on the material.

“It’d be easier if I was drinking,” Linehan said at one point.

Rep. Dan Winslow, R-Norfolk, was the lone Republican contender in the special U.S. Senate race to attend the breakfast, and Winslow didn’t take the microphone, though the two Democratic challengers for Secretary of State John Kerry’s former seat did.

Both candidates have burnished their blue collar bonafides with accounts of the jobs they held before running for public office, and those backstories were fair game yesterday.

“The Democratic election will be historic no matter who wins. Either I will be the first ironworker elected to the United States Senate,” Congressman Stephen Lynch said, pausing for applause before the punch-line. “Or Ed Markey will be the first ice cream truck driver. So we’ll either have a voice for working families or we’ll have a voice for Ben and Jerry’s.”

The dean of the Congressional delegation who was first elected to Congress in 1976, Markey had his own take on his and Lynch’s beginnings.

“I’m prepared to show my long-form birth certificate, proving that I was born in Congress,” Markey said. “And Steve and I are good friends. Steve and I are good friends. This is a really good race. And we’re really going to maintain our friendship out of it. He’s prepared as well. He’s got his long-form birth certificate saying that he was born with his workboots on, in a manger that he welded together himself. That’s Southie.”

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