September 11th, 2008
09:28 PM ET
14 years ago

Former GOP senator calls Palin a 'cocky wacko'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee has words for Sarah Palin."]

(CNN) - Former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee was known for keeping a low-key profile on Capitol Hill, but the Republican -turned -Independent is making waves with his exceedingly blunt comments on newly-minted Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin:

She's a "cocky wacko," he told a Washington think tank earlier this week.

WATCH: Chafee make the remarks

Chafee, the lone Senate Republican to vote against the Iraq war who endorsed Obama's White House bid earlier this year, told an audience at the New America Foundation in Washington Tuesday that Palin's selection has energized Obama backers.

"People were coming into my office, phone calls were flooding in, e-mails were coming in, 'I just sent money to Obama, I couldn't sleep last night' - from the left. To see this cocky wacko up there," he said.

He also described McCain's candidacy as "lackluster” and described the selection of Palin as a throwing "this firestorm, this tornado, into the whole presidential election."

Chafee, whose father served as senator from Rhode Island from 1976 until his death in 1999, narrowly lost his re-election bid two years ago to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse amid that election cycle’s wave of anti-Republican sentiment.

Chafee made a stir earlier this year when he directly called out Democrats who supported the Iraq war and were now expressing regret for their vote.

“I find it surprising now, in 2008, how many Democrats are running for president after shirking their constitutional duty to check and balance this president,” he wrote in his January 2008 book, “Against the Tide.” “Being wrong about sending Americans to kill and be killed, maim and be maimed, is not like making a punctuation mistake in a highway bill."

Filed under: Extra • Sarah Palin
soundoff (373 Responses)
  1. Paul

    Wow chafee your comments mean so much.Oh by the way your not in the congress anymore why is that?

    September 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. Norah (Boston, MA)

    If only we had a few more Lincoln Chafees in office. He is honest, speaks for the people and is a truly honorable man. It is unfortunate that he got caught in the anti republican tide- maybe he will serve again when the dust settles. Oh- totally right about Palin- could add nasty, mean and sarcastic too.

    September 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Is his name Lincoln Chafee or Lincoln Gafee?

    September 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. Steve

    She may be what you say she is, but she apparently has influenced the voting public – and it's not in the way you think. A recent Gallup poll shows that Obama still has a lead on McCain among women voters, and that the percentage supporting him has not changed over the last 3 weeks – it is among male voters (and likely WHITE male voters) where McCain's support has grown. The McCain campaign is playing the American public for a bunch of adolescent schoolboys, and their strategy seems to be working. I'm not confident that we will ultimately do the right thing and elect the best candidate for president, but sincerely hope they say, it's about image, not substance.

    September 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. DJ Los Angeles

    Well said Senator...finally the truth comes out. Just wait until the American people find-out about the REAL Sarah Palin. People will look through the GOP propaganda, lies and deceipt to find what's behind the pretty face and thick shades.

    September 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. L.A.

    I'm so glad so many people are telling the truth about her. Now all we need is for enough undecided voters to realize it and do the best thing for our country.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08!!!!!

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. former hillary supporter now for Obma

    I agree

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Joker

    In his memoirs, Obama admits to abusing cocaine, booze and marijuana. Cocaine is one of the most potent, addictive, and unpredictable recreational drugs. Cocaine causes profound and irreversible damage to the nervous system. Cocaine causes irreversible brain damage. Abusing cocaine leads to long-term memory loss and learning difficulties. That explains Obama’s uncontrollable gaffes and inability to remember which lie he told last.

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. John, Winston Salem, NC

    I'm fed up with Mrs...,Mrs..., Hmmm...What's her name? Oh yeah, Sarah Palin. It bother's me to hear good and bad things about her. All I hear is about her when I turn the TV. Can someone talk about what Americans really care?

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. jj

    I think we know who the "cocky wacko" really is..

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. diana, Los Angeles

    Grow up, and stop calling people names.... Liberals only care about themselves, they don't care about 'the people' they represent. Wake up!

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. patrick

    help me understand just what the excitement is about palin she has yet to voice an opinion.And furthermore if she needs this much prep time to deal w/ the media how could she ever address a head of state this is not american idol it is the presidency of the united states.people dont make the same mistake a third time.

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Paulina

    Hear ! Hear! Mr Chafee, we need to vet this person whom we know nothing about.. For me she's on the road to nowhere. I hope others like Mr Chafee you have known her in the past will come forward. Celebrity looks ain't cutting it for me. "Speaking in tongues" definitely wacko to me.....

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. WIlly Brown

    Coming from a New England RINO. Ran to the left too many times and you got kicked to the curb by your democrat buddies.

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. P. D.

    Well, at least Chafee got one thing right. She is cocky wacko.

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. STL-Veteran

    Bush's Crusader you are neither an American Patriot or a Christian, you warmongering idiot. You would rather protect something that may or may not live while you sacrafice a soldier. I am so glad that GOD will judge you in the END...

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. ABC1-2-3

    Well ,the replublicans have suceeded in making this campain NOT about the issues. Its time for the Obama team to drive the spike home and call out the McCain camp on the issues.

    Ya know the stuff that needs to be fixed after the last 8 years... not someone who compares herself to a pitt bull in lipstick. That I'm sorry to say has nothing to do with the millions of people who lost or are loosing thier jobs and homes. BTW pitt bulls aren't allowed here in Denver... they attacked too many kids. McCain appears to have his on a very very short leash.


    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Alex

    The PUMAs want britney spears for president (Palin)

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Toni

    And these are supposed to be intelligent men? How dare he minimize this woman. I do not agree with Palin's politics,but I admire her intelligence.This is not a woman who was elected because of her family connections, she was elected to a variety of posts on her own merits.The good old man's club made sure Hillary,the best candidate in this election campaign was ousted,and now they are insulting another woman. The male of the species surely does not play fair.

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. chris, lancaster, PA

    So let me get this straight... Obama goes to an extreme rascist church for 20 years, but didn't realise how pathologically hate-filled his reverend was; until he started running for prez.
    Then he hangs out with terrorists from the 60's and early 70's, and somehow thinks that's a good idea...but Gov. Palin is the wacko?
    What exactly is the liberal criteria for hypocrisy?

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. gman

    now I understand why he is a former senator! nuf sed...

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Elliott

    Sigh. I'm sure that in the political netherworld of RI, ad hominem attacks and vitriol are adequate substitutions for dialog and discourse. But in the real world, CNN and this monotone loser are gonna be eating the biggest crow the world has ever seen.

    Obama is a Muslim terrorist, and McCain will win by the largest margin since Roosevelt.

    September 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. sario

    I wish more people would get the FACTS before posting. So much misinformation from both sides. From such simple (non-relevant to the US election) statements as "Palin should go back to Alaska and the pinquins (there are no Pinquins roaming free in the Northern Hemisphere) to critical issues on the Economy such as statements that imply that Obama wants a tax policy where every American will pay the same on every dollar, unlike the McCain policy, where the rich do not pay the same in tax on every dollar (progressive tax vs. fix rate tax). I honestly with people would get informed and make decision based on being informed.

    Progressive tax implies you pay more on every dollar as your income increases. Usually, as in Canada for example, there are brackets, so when you enter a higher income bracket you will be taxed on the income above a certain number at a higher rate then on the income below. So, saying that people making over 250K will be taxed more than people that are below is NOT having every individual pay the same in tax on every dollar! Please be informed. If you agree that the richer you are the more you should pay in taxes, you have a right to that believe, and that is what Obama proposes. To say, Obama will finally get the rich to pay the same on the dollar as the poor is NOT true! He is not doing that, he wants the rich to pay more. That is the facts. You can support either plan, but based on some of the comments I have seen here, people support a plan they clearly do not understand.

    This is true across the board, with the democrats and the republicans. Too much misinformation.

    Obama DID vote on the bill in 2005 that was allocating several millions of dollars to Alaska for the Bridge to Nowhere. However, an informed voter would actually go to the Congress Website and pull out that bill and make some attempt to read it. It is actually a very complicated bill, a 286.4 billiion dollar bill called the SAFETEA-LU bill:
    "The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which governs United States federal surface transportation spending through 2010, was signed into law by President George W. Bush in Montgomery, Illinois, on August 10, 2005."

    there is so much more to the bill then the bridge to nowhere. Only 4 people voted against the bill, McCain being one of them.

    These are facts people. Look up the bill, look up the actual speeches made on the senate floor in May of that year, and you will find McCain discussing the unfairness of some states – including Alaska – actually receiving much more $ relative to other states such as CA. You will find Obama arguing in favor of parts of the bill that pertain to safety belts…..

    My point is: Don't take my word for it! Do some research, get informed, and then make your choice, Obama or McCain. Defend your choice with facts that YOU KNOW are FACTS!

    September 11, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Hillary , come back

    Biden must step down and offer the VP job to Hillary.
    No need to ask Obama, who does not know what is good for America.

    All Obama knows is how to write "PRESENT" when it comes to taking decisions.

    Bad time for Dems to have such a dumdo guy selected for President.

    Democrat for McCain/Palin

    September 11, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Palin 2012

    Thank God we don't have to kiss up to you anymore. We will win this without your help. Hillary is the true pig in lipstick.

    Palan 2012

    September 11, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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