October 25th, 2010
10:08 AM ET
4 years ago

Obama can take endorsement and 'shove it," says Dem

(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.

Update:

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."


Filed under: Frank Caprio • issues • Lincoln Chafee
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    Wow... a smart democrat. Who would have thought?

    October 25, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Mike D

    A different kind of Democrat? Oh you mean Republican. Nothing to see here.

    October 25, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Birdwatcher1

    As a life long Democrat, if I lived 1 hour south of where I do live, I would NEVER vote for this guy. What a disrespectful pig. I'm sure the view from the cheap seats looks real good – yeah, Obama has a reeeeal easy job, is that what he thinks?

    October 25, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Dave

    It's so ugly when a grown-up throws a tantrum...

    October 25, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. keepstufingthis

    He had better be careful what he says. The Juan Williams case shows that liberals are out to get anyone exercising their free speech rights in the Obama Marxist state, which has been proudly paid for by the corrupt unions and George Soros who has bragged he made billions from the recession.

    October 25, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Tired of all the idiots

    And you just handed your state to the Rethuglicans. You have no respect for the office of the president, then you have no business in government.

    October 25, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Dawn

    Really? Frank. is that necessary. Some things are better left unsaid. Regardless of your feelings, if you do make gaovernor, Rhode Island is put in a bad light by your "school boy" comment. Thanks

    October 25, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. mike

    this is why the democrats are in trouble because they don't stay united and the republicans see that as weak if this idiot doesn't like Obama then get out of the party and stop being a panty waste when things get tough. Its funny when democrats stay there ground then the republicans run around and cry saying we are being unreasonable well guess what take a stand and don't worry what the out come is and at the end the voters will see that. Do you honestly think the republicans or the tea baggers are going to make a change just look at everyone of them there uneducated to say the lease and they already are changing what they minds on just about everything they once stand for just so they can get votes isn't that sad

    October 25, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. stacy

    Caprio... you certainly are a different kind of Democrat.... you're a bad one.

    October 25, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Ann

    This Caprio person is crude and crass to say the least. Even if Barack Obama did not endorse him he is still President of the United States and not one of his buddies. This kind of disrespectful language says exactly why the President did not endorse him – I can ony imagine what else he has said behind Mr. Obama's back.

    October 25, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Shownee

    What makes Mr. Caprio a "different kind of Democrat"? I see no honor or courage in a man who tells the President to "shove it" no matter the circumstances.

    October 25, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. The other G. W.

    Not impressed by this man's aggressive behavior.
    PEOPLE MUST START BEING NICE. PERIOD. THE ANGER CARD HAS BEEN PLAYED
    AND IT IS B O R I N G...oh, it also happens to be a cover for all the candidates who have
    absolutely no idea what they are doing, who have absolutely no concrete plans if they are
    indeed elected. So, be nice to one another.

    October 25, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. Ted

    Save Your Job..!!.....Save Your Home..!!....Save America..!! VOTE REPUBLICAN..!!

    October 25, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. zack

    WoW. There may be some hope for the Democratic party yet. I'm a fiscal conservative who lives in Massachusetts, but I would consider voting fotr this guy if I lived in RI. If only he would come around on the 2nd amendment.Especially because Chafee is a scum ball who will say anything and back stab to get elected.

    October 25, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. PREDICTA

    One democrat who doesn't want the kiss of death from Obama with an endorsement.

    October 25, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Ken in NC

    WOW Mr. Caprio, that's telling him. You really let the POTUS know who's the boss. You go DUDE. You don't need him or anybody that doesn't need you. You don't have to work with anybody outside of your state. You got it all right there in RI.

    October 25, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. JR

    Apparently Caprio is too stupid to realize that Obama already told him the same thing.

    October 25, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Bob in PA

    It is truely a joke that all these canidates need to have BO, Biden, or Bubba hit the pulpit for them. I would say that if a canidate can't run on their own merits, then they are not worth having as a representative.

    October 25, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. Republicans is smart in the head area

    I'm a Democrat, Caprio and I hope Chaffee wins. You have no class and no chance.

    October 25, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. JimmyNC

    Amazing, I never thought I'd hear anything like this 2 yrs ago, it's amazing how things have changed

    October 25, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Jon

    And this idiot is running for office? He sounds like a neanderthal. I wouldn't give this jerk air if I had him in a jug, let alone a vote.

    October 25, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Michael MN

    To compare the floods of RI to Katrina where over a thousand died is ludicris , If I was the President I would ask that they Vote for the GOP candident – since this one has NO respect for the office of President

    I look forward to getting NOTHING done the next two years – they all deserve to get kicked out

    October 25, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. MARIE FOX

    Sounds like he has a temper problem. RI's flood was zero compared to Katrina, thus a poor comparison. No he's not a different kind of Democrat, he's just not one. Bearing the party name means nothing as we've seen with the traitors in Congress. He should have kept his trap shut, attended the events and talked to Obama about his concerns. Instead he crys like a baby to the media. He doesn't deserve to win.

    October 25, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. New to RI

    Wow! Just moved to RI this summer & definitely voting next week although it has been difficult to sift through all the candidates & their positions on key issues.
    Such a remark (during a campaign or not) is incomprehensible. I am an Independent who was leaning toward Caprio, but this puts me back supporting Chafee despite some issues I have with his proposed tax plan.

    October 25, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. johnRJ08

    Caprio's remark is all the evidence we need that Obama was right not to endorse him.

    October 25, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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