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Gov. Patrick Seen Riding In SUV During "Car-Free Week"

BOSTON (CBS) - Governor Deval Patrick did walk to a morning event on Beacon Hill -- a stone's throw from the Statehouse -- but was quick to sheepishly admit that he probably hadn't set the best example earlier in the day.

"You got me!" grinned the Governor.

He's talking about video shot by WBZ of Mr. Patrick leaving his Milton home this morning with his assigned state trooper at the wheel for the routine drive into work in his SUV.

WBZ-TV's Ken MacLeod reports

One problem.

The Governor himself recently declared this "Car-Free Week," urging people to ditch their autos in favor of public transportation, biking, walking, or at the very least carpooling -- espousing the environmental and health benefits of that switch.

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller takes a look back at politicians who were less than enthusiastic about following their own advice.

"It's a little bit of hypocrisy," observed one commuter.

We asked some regular folks if the Governor was 'talking the talk' instead of 'walking the walk.'

"If he's going to tell people to do something," says another man, "he should try to do it himself. That's the way I see it."

"I carpooled this morning with my trooper," says the Governor with a chuckle, "We both had to come together."

He's joking -- and he's not.

Of course, the Governor does have legitimate security, time, and logistics concerns.

He makes lots of stops on and off the beaten path -- with a small entourage in tow -- and some folks were willing to cut him some slack on that account.

"Going without a car has issues," one woman told us. "It depends on where you're going -- where you have to be. It's not always practical. I think you can still sell a message even if you're not able to do it yourself that day."

Indeed, the Governor was quick to urge people not to follow his lead.

"Look, it's a great initiative for people who can make the most of it," Patrick told reporters. "I hope they will and I hope during the course of the week to make the most of it, too."

"Car-Free Week" in Massachusetts is actually an expansion of "World Car-Free Day" -- which is Thursday.

A thousand cities in 40 countries are taking part.

The Governor says he's got a crazy schedule this week, but will make good on his pledge to follow the spirit of the initiative -- when he can.

The Red Line, by the way, is within walking distance of his house -- one of three "T" stations within a half mile of home.

"He should be a role model for everyone," one man told us.

"I got the gotcha question," the governor admitted. "Believe me, I'm going to do my best."

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