(CNN) – President Obama is making a campaign stop in Rhode Island Monday but he’s not getting a particularly warm welcome from the state’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
Amid news Obama is refraining from endorsing Democrat Frank Caprio during his swing through the state, Caprio told a local radio station Monday that the president can “take his endorsement and really shove it.”
Audio after the jump
"We had one of the worst floods in the history of the United States a few months back and President Obama didn't even do a flyover of Rhode Island like President Bush did when New Orleans had their problems. He ignored us and now he's coming into Rhode Island and treating us like an ATM machine,” Caprio, the state’s treasurer, also told WPRO’s John Depetro.
Caprio is neck-and-neck in the polls with former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, running as an independent. Chafee, the only Republican to vote against the authorization of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, lost his Senate reelection bid in 2006 and later left the GOP.
Chafee went on to endorse then-presidential candidate Obama in 2008, saying then, "I believe Senator Obama is the best candidate to restore American credibility, to restore our confidence to be moral and to bring people together to solve the complex issues such as the economy, the environment and global stability."
The Providence Journal reported Monday that the White House determined ahead of Obama’s trip to the state that there would be no formal endorsement of Caprio – a rare snub from the president to a viable Democratic gubernatorial candidate, especially in a year when the party is desperately trying to maintain its advantage in statehouses across the country.
“I’ve never asked President Obama for his endorsement, Caprio also said. “What’s going on here is really Washington insider politics at its worst. You have two former senators, Senator Chafee and former Senator Obama, who have behind the scenes tried to put together an endorsement for Senator Chaffee and who knows there may be one coming.
“What I am saying to President Obama very clearly is that I will wear it as a badge of honor and badge of courage that he doesn’t want to endorse me as Democrat,” he continued. “Because I am a different kind of Democrat.”
Mike Trainor, a spokesman for Chafee, told CNN the comments were "very intemperate and shocking."
A top Democrat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN's Jessica Yellin that the White House's decision is "unprofessional."
"What they forget is that President Obama is the leader of the party, and sometimes that means supporting your party over your friends. This is especially true when you consider that we are in the worst environment since 1994," the Democrat said.
Caprio had planned to attend events with Obama in Woonsocket and Providence, where the president will tour a factory and raise money on behalf of Providence Mayor David Cicilline, who is seeking to replace Patrick Kennedy in the House.
Speaking to WPRO, Caprio dodged questions about whether he still plans to attend the events with the president.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton responded to questions about Caprio's statement on the way to Rhode Island aboard Air Force One Monday:
"The President is thrilled to go to Rhode Island to talk about small business jobs. … As for the politics, he decided out of respect for his friend Lincoln Chafeee not to get into the race."
Later, asked how he would vote if he could in Rhode Island, Burton wouldn't bite but added:
"The President is very comfortable doing what he's doing in this race."
And: "The President is talking about the choice people have in this election."
This guy will be a complete problem for the Democratic Party. I can see him being one of the guys who is not uniting with the party to get things done. Don't vote for him.
I am sick of all of these politicians talking about "Washington politics" as a negative thing when it is the ultimate hypocrisy because they want to be a part of it or have been a part of it for years. You have guys that have been in Congress for years and even Clarence Thomas' wife talking about "Washington politics". How dumb is that?!?!?! A Supreme Court judge and tenured members of Congress talking like they are not a part of Washington Politics? That makes no sense what so ever.
Nicccce. Well, I don't think he's going to get that endorsement now. Or the election. Sounds like he can't control his temper and shouldn't be in such a role in government. He just handed the job to Chafee.
Good for him.
I guess he thinks if he talks disrespectful and trash to and about the president, he will get elected. This just goes to prove how dumb this loser is. I hope he loses!
Looks like the President should be endorsing the Republican........It's hilarious that this DEM is doing what is politically expedient for election day......Don't need a guy like this on the team anyway.....
What an embarrassment this clown is.
Why would Pres O endorse a jerk like Caprio? Caprio is not a Democrat but is running as one which is so low. Chaffee is a better candidate and Pres O knows it.
How lovely! This man is a disgrace. Talk about DINO. Chafee is by far a better candidate, and apparently a better man as well.
the mall of america is bigger than rhode sialnd – he probably did a flyover, you just missed it when you blinked...
Wow! Caprio seems to have his act together. I am not sure he is a democrat.
What a hothead! I think his poor little feelings were hurt; Chafee is probably the best choice for the state. Anybody know what the polls show?
I liked Chafee better, but wanted to give Caprio a fair chance. This public tantrum makes the choice clear. Chafee has a good record as mayor of Warwick, RI and as a US senator, and he has my vote.
There is still strong support for President Obama in Rhode Island, and Caprio should at least have shown enough self control to respect the office.
Which tells us everything we need to know about this candidate. He sounds like a disgruntled, disrespectful teenager. Obviously the President was right for not endorsing him. He sounds like and is acting like a jerk. No matter what you feel about Barack Obama, he is the duly elected President of the United States of America. Disrespecting him is disrespecting our country and what our country represents. The world is watching and so farthe picture is not pretty.
There is so much disrespect in this political environment and I am personally sick and tired of it. We have a group of grown folks acting little kids. What kid of leadership is that?
different kinda of dem?
sounds like someone claiming to be a virgin over the age of 18.........they dont exist
however, he is right about th flood thing..............what about the floods in iowa.....same thing no help from the feds, but in new orleans sure
Frank, I hope that makes you feel better about yourself, and I hope that feelings lasts all day long for you. A for the rest of the country, I think we can all understand how important Chafee's endorsement of the President was at a very critical time; loyalty is the better part of valor, no? Find a way to take the edge off, please, for all our sakes and not the least yours.
The reason is simple: Caprio is just another republican pretender who, as far as I'm concerned, can himself shove it where the sun don"t shine.
Finally, a Dem with balls
There are some Dems who should really be on the GOP ticket because they support selfish greed for the few on Wall St. at the expense of the rest of us.
It is interesting what gets said in the heat of a political moment. It is also shocking how disrespectful politicians have gotten just to curry favor with voters. After all the man is the President. This comment is going to come back to this guy sometime and bite him in the butt.
Caprio can shove it-I hope Chaffee mops the floor with this moron !!!!!!
I can see why he ISN'T endorsing you. Way to stay classy!
Wow. He didn't do a flyover like Bush did Katrina. Had he flown over and not had bags of cash folks would still been disappointed and talked about that as well. Who stole your pony. I guess he was supposed to spoon feed everyone as well. Wow now the President got to fly over all flooded areas over 2 feet. What did the present Governor do for Rhode Island? What did the Senators and all of the other elected officials do for Rhode Island during the flood? Blame it on Obama.
Well, Mr. Caprio's comments illustrate one way to unify Dems and Repubs: all can agree you sound like an angry hothead.