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. Jeff

    I can answer the question as to why so many Obama supports dislike Hillary – it is because she fits the type of politician that we dislike – the type of politician that talks trash about the other side instead of listening to their ideas and trying to bring people together.

    Hillary bad-mouths Republicans – as a democrat, I don't like that. Sure I don't like most republican ideas – but I at least listen to them objectively, and then ask them to listen to my beliefs.

    As president of the united states, you need to realize you represent ALL people – not just the people tht voted for you!

    February 14, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. America Rocks

    Senator Chafee had the courage to stand up to George W Bush and vote against authorizing the Iraq war in 2002.

    Hillary Clinton didn't have courage, and put a smile on Bush's face by voting for authorization.

    Pure and simple.

    February 14, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. California Independent

    I rarely vote Republican, never voted for Bush. In California, we really like McCain. I'm another one of those annoying independents that will vote for McCain over Obama.

    February 14, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. Baffour Charles

    It doesnt matter who will be the next America president and i disagree about what people are saying the Black Obama from Kenya and the white Hillary Clinton what a hell is that comment, to me it is a kind of indirect racism, those comment have to stop now because we are all created by one God.

    From Baffour Charles Vantaa Finland.

    February 14, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Verona A. Satchell

    On the night SEN Clinton lost to SEN. Obama in South Carolina, I listened to the speech she gave in Nashville Tenn. I was amazed that at no time during this speech she made mention of her supporters; even though she did not win.

    A few days ago she duplicated her aforementioned actions in the manner in which she dealt with her losses in the The Potomac Primaries. Speaking from El Paso Texas, I listened to hear her thank her supporters in the Potamac Primaries. Once again this aspect of her campaigning was obviously unimportant to her.

    This is a rather disappointing behavior from any competitor but more so from one who has her aim on the ultimate job in this country. I find her actions rather ironic. During her many speeches, SEN. Clinton, implies that when the campaign is over she will not leave her people behind yet she has developed a pattern of forgetting them before the campaigning is even over!!

    SEN. Clinton, actions ALWAYS speak louder than WORDS.

    February 14, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Shawn

    I've voted Republican all my life but not this time. Obama gets my vote. We need a new style of politics in Washington. It could start with Obama. We need change!

    February 14, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Illinois voter

    John Glenn endorsed Hillary this week, but CNN did not mention it. The only Clinton-neutral message on today's ticker is that Clinton likes hot peppers. Nice journalistic work, CNN.

    If not Hillary then it has to be McCain '08

    February 14, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Norman Hsu1

    Another Obamacan! Wow.....I see a landslide in November. I love watching red states turn blue!

    February 14, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. Jason, San Diego

    Can anyone remember Americans being as excited about politics as now? I think we clearly have Obama to thank for amazing turnouts at the polls...FOR PRIMARIES! Imagine the support Obama will find behind him when the general election comes. I have never been so excited to vote and show my support for a candidate I believe in. Obama '08!

    February 14, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. J.Davis, ATL

    I'm so disgusted with Democrat voters. As Pres. Clinton said, this is "one big fairy tale." Obama lacks the experience, and, like the title of his book, his most prominent attribute is his "audacity." We need a strong experienced leader. We have one in Hillary, and yet we are falling all over ourselves to nominate someone else. Get with it, people! This is a real chance to establish solid Democrat leadersip for a long time. Don't waste it!

    February 14, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. observer#1

    A former Senator, this is news? I noticed there was no "hot news" on John Glenn's endorsement of Hillary yesterday. What the heck do we care about this, do you really not have anything else to report? Hillary in 2008!

    February 14, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Majority Rule Moral Rule

    These people better wake up before it is too late. All the nice words and supporting a minority will wind up biting you in the butt if you do not pay attention to what the real agenda will be once O.J. , Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson take over the government! Yea, it is scary! Not to mention the influence the muslims will have along with Louis Farrahkan! God help us all!

    February 14, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. mike

    he was one of my favorite republicans. an excellent thinker! hope there are some thinkers in texas and ohio. we have to end presidency by divine right. today hillary began her cannon shots across obamas bow, she should be careful, as there some shots out there that may hit her amidship.

    February 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Viktoriya

    CNN stop promoting Obama.
    You didn’t report that Gohn Glenn (Former Ohio Senator and astronaut) and Congressman Stenholm, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 13 terms, are both endorsed Hillary.

    Hillary has lots of support. She is campaigning in ALL States –small and big. Media is trying to make people think that she is only about big states, which is not true.

    February 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Mike



    FALL HARD FOR THE SAME (Clinton's)!!!!

    February 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. full disclosure

    why won't Hillary disclose her tax returns?

    February 14, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Lucas, Nashville TN

    Yet another tick mark on the fuselage of the Obama Express!

    Hillary's old news. Time to drop out, gal. Let a woman do it sometime who people actually LIKE.

    February 14, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Marsh

    Endorsements make a difference because they give insight on the appeal and acceptance of the candidates. Chafee's reference to Obama's ability to "bring people together" is on point. One only has to look back at the striking difference in the speeches given by Obama and McCain on the night of the Potamac Primaries. When CNN switched from Obama's speech to cover McCain's, the swing in emotions was so dramatic it removed any doubt in my mind that Barak Obama is the President we need at this moment in history. In a blink of an eye we went from a message of hope given against a backdrop of wide eye participants from all walks of life to McCain's dry and tired message we have heard so many times before. We have got to stop being a nation of blue and red States. I hope my fellow Texans agree that Obama is the man who can make that happen.

    February 14, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Mike

    People just don't seem to realize how polarizing a character Hillary is to most. This is backed up by consistent polling data. She is unelectable and would energize the right. Fortunately she won't have that opportunity.

    February 14, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Andrew Kenneth

    This is a very telling endorsement, probably the first high ranking former republican to endorse Obama,
    I think HRC is in for a big shock, especially coming from Texas.
    Her strategy is very divisive, you cant rely on pandering to the latino vote and elderly females and expect dramatic results.

    February 14, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. Jackie

    When people really know who Obama is, then they will regret why they forsake Clinton. Obama's tre color is overshadowed just because they dont want old washington person but that is a big mistake we all are going to pay for. I really want him win so people see what they got us into. Hillary i luv u and i know u are real.

    February 14, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. TheONE

    This is great!

    February 14, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. Obamacan

    I'm a Republican that back Obama because I don't believe in the war. Barack has a vision, inspiration and better policies coupled with the best minds behind him... he is a leader. Hillary has solutions... she is a consultant not a leader. As Huck said, "Voters, ultimately, when they think about a leader, are not thinking about somebody who can fix the carburetor as much as it is they want someone who can drive the car and … describe the destination they want to go". If Hillary want to make solutions with out a vision, she need to keep her day job.

    February 14, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. TheMightyC

    To White Male,
    First and foremost, thank you for being open minded and objective enough to see the light! Secondly, Obama is very intuitive, and that's why he opposed the Iraq war when that was an unpopular decision to make. With all of that said, Obama's decision to not debate Clinton at this time, is a smart one. Obama has to spend time introducing himself to voters, in states, that don't really understand what his position is. Clinton on the other-hand, is wanting to debate Obama to get free media attention, and also distract Obama from a formal presentation, to potential voters, which is critically necessary when you're the new guy on the block. Stevie Wonder could see that! I disagree with your opinion about Obama supporters spewing hate. I've read a great deal of blogs on both sides. I think what's quite frustrating for Obama's supporters is; it appears that Clinton supporters are not critiquing Obama objectively, which comes across as blindly supporting Client because she's a woman. And I think that what has turned the majority of voters off is the spins, lies, distortions, the playing of the race and gender cards, mean spiritedness, and the lack of originality and instability of the Clinton campaign.

    February 14, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Praetorian, Fort Myers, FL

    Lincoln Chaffee (not to be confused with his esteemed predecessors)...........

    A washed up has-been who is hoping to get an appointment so he won't be the only male heir in his family dynasty who acheived NOTHING of historical significance.

    This endorsement should be wiped off of our shoes–regarding it's significance.

    He was a Republican (to get elected only) once in the Senate–he voted more liberally even than Obama!!

    Once out of office–he rode the Indpendent ticket–in hopes of catching the coat tails of anyone that might get him back into the history books.

    A loser's support is less than beneficial. Just check w/ the people of Rhode Island how helpful he was in serving them in the Senate.

    February 14, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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