• Mass. Gov. third term joke sparks online firestorm

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    BOSTON (AP) - An off-the-cuff joke by Gov. Deval Patrick about seeking a third term in office sparked of a brief firestorm online before it was quickly extinguished.

    Patrick made the comment Wednesday at a performance management conference at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. It came after a flattering introduction that Patrick joked would make it easier to announce his run for a third term.

    Some observers took the remark literally, and within minutes Patrick's fake announcement was racing around the internet. But the governor's office quickly clarified the comment was a joke.

    Patrick is midway through his second term and has repeatedly said he's not interested in another four-year term.

    Possible candidates from both political parties are already laying the foundation for gubernatorial campaigns next year.

    Patrick's term ends in January 2015.

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