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Too little too late for Murray?

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Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray is telling supporters not to believe “false rumors and wild speculation” about his pre-dawn automobile crash in early November. The problem for Murray is, it’s tough to tamp down false rumors and wild speculation when everything you’ve done up to this point has fanned those rumors.

Murray sent a letter to nearly 7,000 supporters yesterday, seeking to put the crash, which totaled his state-owned Crown Vic, behind him. In the letter, Murray says he couldn’t sleep after his daughter crawled into bed early in the morning, so he took a drive to “get a coffee and a paper and prepare for the day.”

He describes the early morning crash thusly: “I remember next was the vehicle being off the road, the impact of the collision, and the car turning over several times. During this ride I did not meet anyone, or make any phone calls, texts or emails... I was shaken-up, and not really knowing how it occurred, I assumed the ice must have caused the accident. In light of the black box data and police report, my assumption was incorrect. I believe I nodded off while driving and the car ran off the road.” CommonWealth has the full text of the letter.

It’s clear that Murray intends the letter to be the final word on the crash. But it won’t be, thanks to Murray’s own actions after the crash. The circumstances surrounding the crash (he was traveling 108 miles per hour, without his seat belt) are so different from what he initially claimed (saying he was buckled in and traveling the speed limit, saying he was out to survey storm damage, and blaming the crash on black ice) that it’s easier for many folks to believe “false rumors and wild speculation” than anything Murray has to say on the matter.

Murray’s morning wreck has managed to unite two disparate personalities -- Tom Keane and Howie Carr. Carr weighs in today with a column that’s loaded with the usual insults and one-liners. But he hits home when he writes, “Listen, Hurry Murray, if you’d come clean that first day, way back at the beginning of November, there wouldn’t be any false rumors and wild speculation.” On Sunday, Keane published a piece that was even more devastating, because, Keane says, he believed Murray’s fist story. Keane says he initially dismissed calls that the lieutenant governor release black box data from the crash as cranky overreaching. “I remember thinking how awful it was that trust had eroded to such a degree that the first reaction of some was to instantly assume that, if a politician had been involved, then something untoward was going on. Except, of course, that the doubters were right.”

Keane’s piece ends with a call for a full investigation into the crash, “rather than continuing a slow, reluctant drip of information.” Today, the Globe calls on Murray to release his cell phone records. That won’t be the last of it, either. Murray made sure of that himself.

                                                                                                                                                            --PAUL MCMORROW

BEACON HILL

The normally libertarian Keller@Large is all for a proposed restriction on cellphone use while driving which will be subject of a hearing at the State House today.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

There’s a storm brewing in Plymouth over a proposal to put the management of the farmer’s market out to bid because the longtime operator has not been charged rent for using the public land.

A Westport School Committee member has submitted his resignation because he thinks the board is “rubber-stamping” a new contract with the school superintendent without any questions.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo says he may not call for special elections for open seats in Belmont and Worcester, potentially leaving 82,000 residents without a state rep until January. Also still vacant: The Cambridge mayor’s office.

Casino talk is grinding business at Foxborough Town Hall to a halt.

Paul McMorrow, writing in the Globe, argues that Boston residents should put pressure on the City Council to hold a citywide referendum on the Suffolk Downs casino, thereby forcing its potential developer to repair the hole it left at the old Filene’s site.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

President Obama replaces chief of staff William Daley with budget director Jack Lew, the Chicago Tribune reports.

ELECTION 2012

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan says he will not run this year for either of the congressional seats that represent his city. Meanwhile, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter is reportedly planning to announce an exploratory  committee to look at a run for the newly created 9th Congressional District, portions of which are currently represented by fellow Democrat U.S. Rep. William Keating.

The National Review says Mitt Romney’s rivals are in a race to see who can utter the most foolish pronouncement about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, saying his opponents don’t know an asset from a liability. The American Spectator wonders if Newt Gingrich is anti-Romney or anti-capitalism. The Washington Post rounds up GOP  criticism of Romney’s unfortunately timed glee about “firing people.” The Boston Globe has a breakdown of ad spending in New Hampshire. Oh, and here’s a nice little shiv from the New York Times editorial page: “The more Mitt Romney pretends to empathize with the millions of Americans who are struggling in this economy, the less he seems to understand their despair. And the rest of the Republican field seems to have no more insight into the concerns of most voters than he does.” It’s the anti-endorsement of the day!

Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson donates $5 million to a super political action committee that supports Newt Gingrich, the New York Times reports. The Boston Globe has a profile of the mogul.

Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard says Romney is more conservative than you think and he thinks he may be laying low in order to get elected and then govern like a hell-on-wheels conservative.

Rick Santorum can’t stop talking about homosexuality and that may be hurting him in New Hampshire, according to a Suffolk University/7News poll. Two things Santorum doesn’t believe in: college, and the middle class.

Senator Scott Brown raised $3.2 million for his campaign last quarter.

Mother Jones takes note of Elizabeth Warren outside Fenway Park...in the cold...shaking hands.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

More Americans working past traditional retirement age, the Salem News reports (via the Seattle Times).

Sen. Scott Brown hosts a job fair in Worcester; more than 3,000 people show up, NECN reports.

The Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner, writing in the National Review, says income inequality is a myth. Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to receive a pay package worth $376 million for last year, Bloomberg reports.

The Cape Cod Times lauds affordable housing ideas that enable Cape residents to continue living in the region.

EDUCATION

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, in his first meeting as school committee chairman, says improvements in the city’s underperforming schools have to happen quicker to avoid a state takeover and cited student discipline and lack of parental involvement as the two biggest impediments to change.

The New Republic lays out the economics of higher education.

HEALTH CARE

Health care costs showed their slowest growth in more than half a century last year.

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA gets kudos for finding a flute that an Arlington middle school student left on a bus.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Massachusetts gets a “bad weather bailout” from Washington to help recover from the storms of the past year. Vermont also gets federal funds.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Lynn’s police chief is checking the addresses of 26 Level 3 sex offenders to determine if they are in violation of the city’s sex offender ordinance, the Item reports. One offender has already been found to be in violation and told to move or face a fine of $300 per day.

Supporters and opponents of a “three strikes” law in Massachusetts squared off on Greater Boston with those in favor insisting it will take violent offenders off the streets while those against say it would unfairly target minorities.

MEDIA

A company builds a unified paywall for all major media outlets in Slovenia, just as it did last year in Slovakia, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.

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