After taking office Jan. 4, Patrick took heat for upgrading his official car to a Cadillac while asking state officials to cut their budgets. He spent $27,000 to redecorate the Corner Office. And he was forced to defend a call he made to Citicorp, a bank regulated by the state, on behalf of his former employer, subprime mortgage lender Ameriquest.
Looking back at the start of his governorship, Patrick said that being a candidate didn't prepare him for the constant scrutiny that comes with being the state's chief executive.
"The hardest part of the job to get accustomed to the pervasive intrusion into every corner of your life," said Patrick, speaking in his redecorated office on the eve of his 100th day in office, which fell on Friday the 13th. "You're never not governor."
Patrick has reshuffled his inner circle, most recently naming Doug Rubin, the architect of his unlikely political triumph, as chief of staff. In recent weeks, he's been traveling the state to build support for an agenda that includes closing so-called corporate tax loopholes to pay for property tax relief.
Patrick's early North of Boston supporters say the new governor has regained his footing.
"Most new governors get a honeymoon," Sen. Susan C. Tucker, D-Andover, said. "I think Gov. Patrick took a cruise on the Titanic. But the ship is back on course."
Patrick's tenure hasn't been all trouble.
He pointed to his success getting the Legislature to unanimously pass a $1.47 billion bond bill to pay for critically needed road and bridge repairs, and working with insurers to develop affordable health care plans for moderate-income residents - an important part of ensuring the landmark health care reform law works.
Other accomplishments include his recent work to secure a federal disaster declaration for Gloucester fishermen. And he cited his administration's effort to identify more than 360 businesses that either want to relocate to Massachusetts or expand here.
Patrick also talked about his Municipal Partnership Act. The proposal would allow cities and towns to raise revenue from meals and hotel taxes, taking pressure off the property tax, which produces most municipal tax revenues.
Kim Driscoll, Salem's mayor, said Patrick is an important partner.
"There's a real recognition that cities and towns are struggling, and there's a real partnership," Driscoll said.
Even as he presses his victories, Patrick experienced a setback last week, when the House Ways and Means Committee released its version of the fiscal 2008 budget - and in doing so rejected a handful of Patrick's most important proposals. As a candidate, Patrick promised money for 1,000 new police officers, and his budget included money for the first 250. The House did not include that money.
The House also did not adopt his plan to close corporate tax loopholes, which would have raised $295 million in its first year and $500 million thereafter.
But he said he never expected to get everything he asked for from the Legislature.
"Nobody believes you're supposed to deliver on your agenda in three and a half months," Patrick said. "I have four years to deliver on this agenda, and we're very hard at work."
Asked by The Times if he'd been rebuffed, Patrick wouldn't admit defeat.
Instead, he threatened to take his veto pen to the Legislature's budget if he doesn't get what he wants.
"There are going to be things I'm looking for in this budget, and we're going to bargain hard for it," Patrick said. "Anybody who makes the mistake of thinking that the governor is not going to be engaged or use his power to get what I think is important in this budget is seriously underestimating me."
Patrick also said he didn't overestimate the political capital he once said he earned from his landslide victory. Rather, Patrick said, what he needs to do is improve how he communicates his agenda.
"We need to do a better job in rolling out and communicating," Patrick said.
But Patrick said he didn't want to "govern by photo op."
Patrick criticized predecessor, Mitt Romney, for courting positive media coverage while unveiling initiatives that never went anywhere.
"Our predecessor was so good at the optics of announcements. There's a long list of great, seemingly bold initiatives," Patrick said. "There's a very short list of results. I've been very focused on the results and not the splash."
Patrick said he's learned some lessons - for instance, that Beacon Hill works at a slow pace.
"It's not possible to launch every broad based initiative right away," Patrick said. "Things have to be paced."
The pressure of public life took its toll on the governor's wife. The governor was criticized for hiring a $72,000-a-year scheduler for Diane Patrick.
Patrick's wife was treated for depression and exhaustion. Diane Patrick has gone back to work, and the governor said they've carved time out of their schedules to be together - although his schedulers don't always heed their request.
Despite a rocky introduction to Beacon Hill politics, Patrick said the job that has caused him so much grief is a lot of fun. He's met CEOs of companies, met Nobel laureates and governors across the country, and dined with the president.
"It's a gas, and it's incredibly interesting," Patrick said.