Listeners to Boston Public Radio got a bit of a surprise early Thursday afternoon, when President Obama placed an unannounced call to the network while outgoing Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) was in the studio:
BRAUDE: "Hello, sir. Yes, you're on with Gov. Deval Patrick."
OBAMA: "Uh, Governor, this is Barack Obama, formerly of Somerville. I've got a few complaints about service in and around the neighborhood, but I've moved down south since that time..."
Obama goes on to talk about how great he thinks Patrick is for most of the three-minute segment. But before the president hung up, host Jim Braude went for the jugular, quizzing Obama on his decades of disrespect for the law:
BRAUDE: "Mr. President, you paid all those parking tickets in Somerville, correct?"
OBAMA: "You know what, I think I had to before I took office, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to step into the Commonwealth without being arrested."
Back in 2007, it was revealed that Obama had been given 17 parking tickets in Cambridge and Somerville between 1988 and 1991, but only bothered to pay off two of them during that period. As the president says, the remaining $115 in fines and $260 in late fees were finally paid off on January 26, 2007 — just two weeks before he officially began his first presidential campaign.