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Obama: Massachusetts' Patrick would make great president

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick gestures while addressing the first session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North C
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick gestures while addressing the first session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North C

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick - a rising Democratic star - would make "a great president or vice president" but will likely take a break when his eighth and final year as state chief executive ends.

"Deval's done a great job and I think (it) signals that he could be very successful at the federal level as well," Obama told Boston NBC station New England Cable News.

"I suspect knowing his wife as I do, they're going to be taking a little bit of time off," Obama added.

The president said Patrick, who will be 58 this year, has "enormous talent" and would be wise not to rule out public service in the future.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in public opinion polls but she has not declared whether she intends to run and the election is more than two years off.

Patrick said in July he is not running for president in 2016 and would return to the private sector when his term as governor expires in January 2015.

Patrick, who served as assistant attorney general for civil rights under President Bill Clinton, gave speeches at the 2008 and 2012 Democratic national conventions that boosted his profile.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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