By Peter Chianca
We don’t know if you’ve heard, but outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has often been cited as the most popular governor in the country. But the Republican has made it pretty clear he doesn’t want to run for president: As recently as last year he said emphatically that he had “zero interest” in higher office, and has literally laughed off the suggestion on more than one occasion.
And yet … there he was on CNN with Jake Tapper this past week, doing a rare national interview he must have known would get tongues wagging. Baker took the opportunity to implore his party to “move past President Trump and to move on to an agenda that represents the voices of all those in the party and the people of the country.” But even there he pooh-poohed the idea of his own candidacy, saying that as a “Northeast Republican” he wouldn’t have much of a shot.
That wasn’t enough to deter the hosts of the ABC daytime talk show “The View,” though — in particular co-host Sara Haines. The 2000 Smith College grad, an Iowa native, said Wednesday she had never heard of Charlie Baker, but after seeing him on CNN, she’s all in.
“You know who I’m really won over by right now?” Haines asked her co-hosts toward the close of a conversation about former president Donald Trump’s announcement that he would run in 2024. “I saw a Jake Tapper interview with Governor Charlie Baker from Massachusetts … 73 percent popularity in a blue state for a Republican governor.
“He talked about how he did politics in the old-fashioned way of going to people and how he listens more, talks less,” Haines noted. “This is the guy the Republican Party should be grabbing.”
“He’s in the vein of the Adam Kinzingers, I think, people that stand for something,” opined co-host Sunny Hostin, prompting Haines to point out that Baker is way more popular in Massachusetts than Kinzinger — one of the most prominent (albeit outgoing) anti-Trump congressmen and a member of the Jan. 6 committee — is, well, anywhere.
Haines even thinks Baker’s decision not to seek a third term might be tied to heretofore unspoken presidential ambitions, and not, say, a desire to get as far away as possible from Mass. GOP dysfunction. “Maybe he’s thinking the same way I am, and this guy could be really good,” she said.
Whoopi was not on the panel Wednesday, so sadly her take remains a mystery. But you can watch the exchange below. (Segment on Baker starts around 6:35.)
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