President Barack Obama's allies are recruiting high-profile Democrats to help combat liberal resistance to his bid for new trade agreements.
The effort will sharpen differences between the Democratic Party's liberal and pragmatic forces, especially in New England. And it could accelerate the effort to woo black lawmakers, a key target in the House.
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A new pro-trade advisory board being announced Tuesday includes former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former US. Trade Representative and Dallas mayor Ron Kirk.
Kirk's role is not surprising. But Patrick's might add some sizzle to the trade debate heating up in Congress.
Among the Obama trade agenda's strongest critics is another Massachusetts Democrat, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Patrick and Kirk are two of the nation's most prominent African-American politicians.