February 14th, 2008
11:45 AM ET
10 years ago

Former Rhode Island senator endorses Obama

(CNN) – Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican senator from Rhode Island, announced his endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama Thursday.

Chafee, who became an Independent after losing his U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006, told reporters he intends to vote for Obama in Rhode Island’s Democratic primary on March 4.

"I believe Senator Obama is the best candidate to restore American credibility, to restore our confidence to be moral and just, and to bring people together to solve the complex issues such as the economy, the environment and global stability," Chafee said.

Chafee served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican beginning in 1999 after being appointed to the seat previously held by his father John Chafee, who represented Rhode Island in the Senate from 1977-1999. Lincoln Chafee was elected to his father’s Senate seat in 2000 but lost a re-election bid in 2006. In 2007 Lincoln Chafee became an Independent.  Chafee is currently a Visiting Fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.

While serving in the Senate, he was known for his liberal views and for his opposition to the war in Iraq – a position he shares with Sen. Obama.

–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Braineel

    Rack them up Obama!

    February 14, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Independent MI

    Obama can not draw the independent or republican votes from McCain. Just look at the numbers! I will never cease to be amazed at how blindly people will follow Obama. Talk about drinking the koolaid.

    February 14, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Kevin

    I lived in Rhode Island for 10 years, and I got to know Senator Chafee quite well. Very few people, in my book, have as much credibility and integrity as this man. He carried forward his father's legacy quite well. To me, he was clearly somebody who loved his country first and his party second. He tried time and again to restore Republican principles to the party, but was mostly rebuffed and marginalized. However, he never gave up on his principles nor those of his constituency in order to garner favor or power.

    He was unseated only because he was a Republican, not due to his record, nor his intelligence, nor his integrity.

    His opinion matters a lot to me. And though I've disagreed with him in the past on many issues, his opinion was always one that I knew I'd better listen to because anything from him was well-though-out and rational.

    February 14, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Peace

    Obama has words that work. His soaring rhetoric is moving audiences not just politically but also emotionally. Even some end up into tears on occasion. The man is gifted.

    February 14, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. terrel

    Clinton is ahead in the polls in every March 4 state except Hawaii where Obama is up by 1 percentage point.

    The media doesn't want you to know this because they are trying desperately to help Obama to get the nomination.

    Here in TEXAS we will NOT let the media pull the wool over our eyes!

    February 14, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Phyllis/ PA

    Before making a final decision, voters should check out the Rezko/Obama connection. The Chicago Sun Times has been following this, 19 year relationship, for the past two years. There are 52 past articles. Those who take the time to read these will find that Obama is not the person that is being portrayed. Rezko is presently in jail but will not go to trial until February 25th. (Read the facts now before voting.)

    February 14, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Dianne

    Too bad the media and others haven't listed a detailed list of the total accomplishments of Obama and Clinton, including the durations and outcomes of their efforts. This comparison would challange those endorsements being given out for Obama. We are in serious times and need the best not the possible best. I have a suspicion that although Clinton is not Afro-American she has in actuality done more for Blacks and Blacks should take this into account before voting.
    This is one example of why people have been wrong in supporting Obama. Until we address these kinds of problems for the electorate the electorate will be dead wrong about votes and endorsements.


    February 14, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. smokey99

    If you keep pushing for everyone to united it will back fire.
    I don't want to believe something just because others are. I don't fall to peer pressure. I have a mind of my own. My mind says NO TO OBAMA.
    Not everyone is flocking to Obama.
    The more people push for Obama the more I am turned off by him.

    February 14, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. virginia nielsen

    We need a UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and among all the candidates OBAMA is the ONE !!! OBAMA 2008-2014 !!!

    February 14, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Danielle, OH

    Who cares!!! He isnt even the current senator why is this getting coverage?

    February 14, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Little Giant N.Y

    It is clear that our people in the United States are beginning
    to believe in a better future for our country.

    YES WE CAN!!! Obama 2008

    February 14, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Michael

    Lincoln who?

    Wasn't this guy kicked out of office by his own state?

    I'm sure they will listen to him. Hulk Hogan supported Obama and then withdrew his support – no headlines there. In fact, that story about Hulk's Endorsement got a full page on CNN – but John Glenn Didn't –


    February 14, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Chafee was an unfortunate "baby tossed out with the bathwater" in 2006. I think the Senate in general and the Democrats specifically would've been better off if Chafee had been reelected and Lieberman defeated in 2006.

    February 14, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. David

    Now sen Clinton has to work hard to win TX. the movement is marching to TX.

    February 14, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. No More Status Quo

    Walk towards the light.... This so-called "movement" is simply the frustrations of the public being brought to light. We need a leader who can make a team out of us all. Obama is the best candidate for the job.

    It's funny how, if you look really closely, one can see Hillary's smug expressions and hear her arrogant comments whenever she THINKS she has him against the ropes. Some seem to think she kills him in debates. I feel he chooses his words carefully rather than get as defensive as she does whenever called on something. I feel people are really seeing what's happening and are tired of it all. Another debate is definitely a waste of time. He needs to be out there as he is and get his name out there too. I have more than seen and heard enough. How many different ways can the same thing be said... really.

    February 14, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Solomon Freeman

    Go Obama. The movement is on and cliton have no answer to this. yes we are coming to Texas, sad enough we are not coming to Texas for you but for the America people that tired of same old thing in the whitehouse. No more side and whaled talk, no more state for Cliton, Obama all the way. We will surprise all the so call super deligant talk here and there bec Obama will get to the mark of 2025 come April.

    February 14, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Thank you Lincoln Chafee. We need more people like yourself that think progress during this time our nation is in peril. When Hillary talks about she's been tested, Americans have been tested to the limit that we all know change is necessary. Obama is simply the best of all the tested.

    February 14, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. TJ, Hoboken, NJ

    I think if Obama becomes president he will realize that he won't be able to advance any of his policies. Unless there is an overwhelming Democrat majority in Congress, none of his plans will ever come to fruition because they are just too socialist, too much government and very expensive. In fact, there is a heavy mis perception among voters that Obama has views that will unite the country and if anything, Clinton's positions and record are more moderate than Obama's... But the reason why Clinton is so unpopular with Republicans is that she spent a long time fighting for similar programs that Obama hopes to accomplish.
    If Obama is the nominee and McCain gets him to debate specifics, independents may realize just how liberal Obama is and flock to McCain who has a much more centrist message... If he is still able to become president then he will have a hard time with his policies.

    February 14, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Alex H

    You guys are drawing inaccurate conclusions about these 'endorcements'. It is true that the endorsements have not shown to make a difference in the way people vote. However as much as they are endorsements, many are also superdelegate pledges. So saying they "do nothing" is wrong... they're another point on the scoreboard for that candidate.

    February 14, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Bob

    People talk about dynasties in politics and the Presidency and how we should not elect Hillary because it means a Bush or a Clinton in the White House since 1980. First, that is a bad arguement since of those 27 years only 8 were Clinton years and they were the best of those 27 years. Second, in over 200 years we have had a MAN in the White House and talk about dynasties...perhaps it is time for a woman.

    February 14, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. sw

    It is clear now. republican know that their only chance to stop Clinton is to use Obama(he has race card to play) to beat Clinton in Democrats primary, so they pump money to Obama compaign, they use their media to promote Obama and bash Clinton. Once the general election comes, they will destroy Obama(by then he only have Black votes).

    February 14, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. James S. White

    As a retired U.S. Army Colonel and a Vietnam War Veteran, I support Senator Obama's position on our current war in Iraq. It is great to see so many examples of diverse support of Senator Obama's campaign like this endorsement by Senator Chafee.
    James S. White, Philadelphia, PA.

    February 14, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. Democrat

    Now that Hillary's down she is trying to tear down Obama and discredit his life's work. She also put out a memo discounting the black, male and youth support just as she's discounted the small states. Hope Hillary don't forget the message she started with or she will loose my vote!

    February 14, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. Jim, American in Paris

    Hillary smears Obama in every debate they have, except Wisconsin which he was afraid to accept because he realizes he looks like a real novice next to her.

    Americans, including politicians, are confusing "show" with reality.

    Obama is talk. Usually Irak and not much else apart from a few ideas he got from Hillary!

    Obama can't cut the cake! Perhaps Vice President?

    Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 14, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. Obama 08

    That republicans and independents are supporting Obama is what is making the polls inaccurate and also causing the Clinton machine so much angst as nothing is certain..

    February 14, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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