Diane Patrick sought advice from Michelle Obama before husband entered 2020 race

The former first lady of Massachusetts spoke with the former first lady.

January 21, 2020, 7:39 PM

Diane Patrick, the former first lady of Massachusetts and wife of 2020 Democratic candidate Deval Patrick, said she sought advice from a friend before her husband jumped into the fray -- and that friend was Michelle Obama.

At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Saturday, Diane Patrick told ABC News in an interview that her husband had considered running for president as early as 2018.

PHOTO: Deval Patrick is shown with his wife, Diane, on his way to officially enter the US Presidential race by signing paperwork to join the New Hampshire primary ballot, at the New Hampshire State House on Nov. 14, 2019, in Concord, N.H.
Deval Patrick is shown with his wife, Diane, on his way to officially enter the US Presidential race by signing paperwork to join the New Hampshire primary ballot, at the New Hampshire State House on Nov. 14, 2019, in Concord, N.H.
Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

In talking with friends and advisers, they said they'd sought to work to change the national conversation resulting from Donald Trump's first term.

It took time, she added. Her husband of 35 years deciding to enter the race "was not an immediate 'let's go.'"

"We spent time with family, a lot of time with dear friends, we spent a lot of time with people who have advised us over the years," she continued. "It was a long, very thoughtful process over a several-month period.”

That time included speaking with the former first lady of the United States.

PHOTO: Diane Patrick is shown at a campaign event in Nashua, N.H., Jan. 18, 2020.
Diane Patrick is shown at a campaign event in Nashua, N.H., Jan. 18, 2020.
Christopher S. Donato/ABC News

The Patricks and Obamas have been friends for a long time. Deval Patrick told ABC News on the day he announced his candidacy that he'd spoken with Barack Obama and told him, "I was close to a decision. Then when I had made one, I called him and said that we were going. And he's been great."

PHOTO: In this Dec. 9, 2019, file photo, former first lady Michelle Obama attends the Girls Opportunity Alliance program with Room to Read at the Can Giuoc Highschool in Long An province, Vietnam.
In this Dec. 9, 2019, file photo, former first lady Michelle Obama attends the Girls Opportunity Alliance program with Room to Read at the Can Giuoc Highschool in Long An province, Vietnam.
Yen Duong/Reuters, FILE

The former Massachusetts governor spent time with Obama in 2018 as he considered a presidential run. Patrick said the former president gave him insights into his own campaign and addressed potential strengths and weaknesses of Patrick's.

"He's equally encouraging and open to others who have thought about it and who have gotten in. And I appreciate it," Patrick said of Obama at the time.

PHOTO: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and his wife Diane Patrick attend the "Healing Our City: An Interfaith Service" at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, April 18, 2013.
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and his wife Diane Patrick attend the "Healing Our City: An Interfaith Service" at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, April 18, 2013.
Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Diane Patrick told ABC News on Saturday that Michelle Obama similarly was "incredibly generous with her time and her advice."

Deval Patrick had decided to join the 2020 presidential race in November 2018 but postponed doing so after learning his wife had uterine cancer. After undergoing surgery and several months of radiation treatments, Diane Patrick said she pushed her husband to announce in November 2019 and that she now feels great.

She also told ABC News how much she "admired" Michelle Obama's time in the White House because "she was supportive of her husband and his work, but also independently ambitious on her own, and determined to do the things that she cared about."

Diane Patrick said she'd seek to emulate her friend's time in the White House, focusing on early childhood education, mental health and women's rights.

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