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. Eli

    COCKY WACKO, he must be talking about Obama, now that masn COCKY.

    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |


    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Dan in CHI

    someone please explain to me where Sarah Palin "took on Big Oil".

    took them on her payroll, maybe.

    Do Your Homework! Don't just believe what the GOP mouthpiece is telling you about the pitbull with lipstick.

    The more I read about her, the more I see Jerry Springer Green Room written all over her and her family. I don't want that American simile anywhere near the White House, the button, or my living room.

    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Excited

    Thank you Sen. Chafee, I am glad that you spoke out about this VP selection. This is a very serious position and I don't feel that Gov. Palin is ready, if so, why is she and Senator McCain avoiding the press?

    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. michelle

    Mccain did a very irresponsible thing by selecting someone who is so right wing leaning and zero foreign experience as his running mate, what happen if he is in the hospital, a Pain presidency gives me nightmare, for the first time in my life, I am sending money to the Obama campaign. I used to have a lot of respect for Mccain, not anymore, he has sold his soul to the devil in order to get elected.

    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Rebecca

    Truth about Sarah Palin –

    Palin's office approved a state job for a friend and campaign aide with whom she shared a land investment, financial records and interviews over the past two weeks show. She hired a former lobbyist for a pipeline company to help oversee a multibillion-dollar deal with that same company.

    And she sent campaign e-mails on her city hall account while serving as mayor of Wasilla — conduct for which she later turned in an oil commissioner on ethics charges.

    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Mavis

    Which canidate is talking about organic farming and food?

    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. Thomas

    He is exactly right about Palin. I would add:


    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Scott

    It is good to see that some politicians can call it like it is. A heartbeat away from the presidency,that is scary. It was enough to make me donate to Obama -Biden. Lets just hope the American people aren't stupid enough to be fooled by the Rove machine again.

    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. Gia in Los Angeles, CA

    Thank you, Mr. Chafee. Keep spreading the word and keep up the good work!!

    September 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Pat, Westminster, Maryland

    How about this possibility: McCain just chose Palin to get him into office. That's why they won't allow her to give interviews and answer tough policy questions. She couldn't possibly cram hard enough in the short time she has before November to be credible. Then when McCain gets in office, she will resign because of "family issues" and he will name Joe Lieberman.

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Tim

    There should be at least enough 'truth in advertising' in the your constitutional right to print this tripe to at least make you print somewhere in the article that CNN only prints material which will positively effect Obama's bid for the Presidency.

    You guys are a joke.

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. HD

    When will you people realize that YOU, the ones spewing these hateful, personal attacks, are tearing this country apart - not the politicians?

    What happened to agreeing to disagree? Suddenly, just because someone disagrees with you they must be crazy or stupid – that's pathetic. How about debating the issues in a civilized manner instead of resorting to cheap shots and insults?

    I find it particularly interesting that I hear the most vicious attacks from the so-called tolerant and inclusive party. Just grow up - all of you.

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. AMY


    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Chad, Wisco

    Just stop the hate, this country is going to fail no matter who is elected if we cant learn to respect eachother and work together. This is garbage that we are supposed to be teaching our kids not to do.

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Breck from VA

    EPIC TRUTH. Some people know what they're talking about at least.

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Jonathan

    I wholeheartedly agree with Chafee. I think it would be something if the Obama campaign could paint the elitist symbol on her. It would be over.

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Kevin LA

    Though his wording is a bit strange, I agree with the sentiment. She is an extremist. If America is to return to become once again a great, unified country, someone like Palin cannot be elected. Only Obama can unite the country.

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Jim

    Hey, if the Prada high heel fits, it must be true!

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Daryl in Seattle

    What's even more wacko is how so little is being made of Palin never accepting spontaneous questions from the press or even her own supporters. The GOP try and compare her lack of experience to Obama's, but at least he can go somewhere by himself and take any question thrown at him by answering intelligently and competently. He knows his stuff! And so does Biden. McCain and Palin's ticket should be known as the "Won't Talk to the Press Express". What kind of national leaders can they be if they can't give answers on the spot??

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. David

    Chafee rode into office on his Dad's legacy, that's about all he's done!

    September 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Robert

    Here in Rhode Island, we may have not voted for Sen Chafee during the last election cycle, but he is a good person and he deserves our respect. Unfortunately, a republican controlled congress was no longer an option and Sen Chafee was still a member of that rapidly descending party. It should be know that he has recently registered as a Democrat to vote for Obama in the primary.

    September 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Lori

    This is one white woman who will never vote for McCain and Palin.

    They both scare me to death.

    September 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Obama Supporter from FL

    So true. The woman scares the CRAP out of me.

    September 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. McCain = Bush

    That's because she is. Who in their right mind would run on the platform of loving mooseburgers????

    September 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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