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Keller @ Large: GOP Candidate Gomez Criticized For Letter To Gov. Patrick

BOSTON (CBS) - A letter to Governor Patrick lobbying for the interim Senate appointment has landed one of the Republicans now seeking that office in political trouble.

Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez's Senate run has hit choppy waters.

At this week's GOP candidates' debate, Gomez agreed to release the letter he wrote to the governor, and tried to put a positive spin on it.

"This was a unique opportunity for the Governor to reach across the aisle and appoint someone like myself who is not a career politician," Gomez said at the debate, "who is willing to go and work with the president on the hard issues the country faces right now."

But Gomez went beyond that in the letter, writing: "I support the positions that President Obama has taken on [immigration reform and gun control.]"

Yet at Tuesday's debate, Gomez said he opposes an assault weapons ban and amnesty for some illegal immigrants; both of which the president supports.

Gomez's competitors, State Rep. Dan Winslow and former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, smell blood.

"There was a stark difference between what the letter said and what he said on the campaign trail," said Winslow, "and because of that we've been getting calls and emails from a lot of Gomez supporters who want to sign onto the Winslow campaign,"

"I didn't ask Governor Patrick to appoint me as Unites States Senator," said Sullivan. "I'm going to ask the voters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to do that."

And the governor himself is now fueling the controversy.

"I hope it's not a problem simply that a Republican offered to serve in a way that would support the president's agenda," said Patrick. "I think a lot of us are hoping for more of that."

On Thursday, Gomez told reporters he meant only to praise the president for sparking discussion of gun control and immigration issues, not endorse his positions.

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