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. Frank

    Firts coherent think I have heard recently regarding Palin.....

    September 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Roger from CA

    I always felt a little bad about Chafee getting pushed out in 2006 as part of the anti-Republican wave, since he was one of the few voices of reason in the GOP caucus in the Senate....

    Good for him that he has gone Independent and supports Obama and is willing to voice his thoughts about the extremely dangerous Sarah Palin. Bravo!

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

    Chafee, a very wise man.

    September 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Rob in Sacramento

    cocky-wacko decribes her perfectly

    September 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Dave C - NJ

    Obama did not attack Palin.

    Biden did not attack Palin.

    So spare me the fake outrage and spare me Karl Rove telling Obama to not attack her...Obama knows not to. The debates will stand on their own. The interviews will stand on their own. The issues will stand on their own.

    And Palin IS a ploy to shake things up in the press. It's painfully obvious.

    September 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Marion S. McIntosh

    "Sarah Sideshow" will lose her luster once the interviews and debates start. The Republicans do not want to run on health care, the economy, gas prices, war, the home mortgage crisis, etc. The want to run on "Sarah Sideshow." We cannot let this gross practice of bait and switch take place. I agree with the Senator, but "Sarah Sideshow" and her running mate (as she refers to him) John McCain't, will continue to scream sexism as a distraction, and call on Obama to denounce these comments. We can't let it happen.

    Obama and Biden need to stick to the issues and let "Sarah Sideshow" and company rant and rave all they want to. As long as we're talking issues, Obama should win by a healthy margin, as Bill Clinton stated earlier today. -Mc

    September 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |

    Bush Crusader your really scary.

    September 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Obamanator

    Whoever votes for McCain/Palin deserves EVERTHING they get. $6/gallon gas, their home forclosed, lose their job, have their children sent to fight a BS war. Everything! And, they better not complain later.
    There is a reason that "educated people" are voting for Obama and the rest want McSame!

    September 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Morgan

    The senator is right about energizing the Obama base. Both my husband and I sent money this last week. We want to go help register voters in our neighboring swing states too. Rather than carp about how simple minded Palin is or how pathetic McCain is I urge all patriots who really care about the fate of this country to work for Obama's election. I know its hard for some whites to see a biracial man as their president but jeeze look at the mess we're in and try to get over those old fears. An Obama and Biden team will have the brains and know how to stir us in a better direction.

    September 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. LEST

    Good gracious, Senator! You just nailed it. You are not the only one, I am so worried about where this country is going and what we're going to do to change its direction. I can't sleep when I see people are playing games, ACT LIKE THEY ARE BLIND FOLDED. WAKE UP PEOPLE! IT'S TOO PERSONAL NOW. WE'RE LOOSING OUR HOMES, OUR JOBS, OUR SENSE OF DIGNITY, OUR FAMILY, OUR COMMUNITY, OUR COUNTRY TO CITE A FEW. LET'S PUT A STOP TO THAT RECKLESS GOP, BUSH/MCSAME MACHINE. COME ON...

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

    whats this about whacking?

    September 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Steve in DC

    I'm just glad it wasnt a Democrat this time so they wont cry sexism.

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Erik

    Now let's see a few interviews with Palin and reputable, hard-hitting journalists. Charles Gibson is sweet and all, but will hardly dig into issues of substance, and we need more information than her face on the cover of People magazine.

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Whomever the next president will be he willl most likely nominate at least three judges to the Supreme Court. To all you white women who have fallen in love with the "BARBIE DOLL" from Alaska, think: SUPREME COURT>

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. marsha

    He is right. However we have a history of electing wacos. However one thing that stands out in Palin's case is the extent that she keeps her husband involved in state business. Wasn't he copied in on all those e-mails sent out on the states dime?. Isn't he billing the state for extensive business travel? I don't know but if she is involving him to that extent how much control does he have? Will we be electing him if we vote for her?

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. H-Town

    You can bet us Obama backers are energized!

    Sarah Palin can become a new Batman villian for all I care! Hey! Hmmmm.............

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Pat F

    Lincoln Chafee – the original RINO (Republican in Name Only).

    Why he is not in the Democratic Party, and Joe Lieberman in the Republican Party, Heaven only knows.

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Done with Dems

    CNN........someone's made a horrible mistake. Somebody has pasted the Monkees Peter Tork picture to your article!!! This guy needs to take the last train to Clarksville.

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Charlie M

    Other than being the do-nothing patrician son of a do-nothing patrician senator what has Lincoln Chaffee ever accomplished? Then again, perhaps he should have run for president, in that his record of accomplishments is of similar length as Obama's.

    Anyone disagree?

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Tim

    Lets see how tough she is and how experienced she is when Bill O'Rielly gets a hold of her.

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Ann

    Right on!

    Does anyone else get this sick feeling in the pit of their stomach when they think of her potentially being in charge of our country?

    Finally, people are saying what most of us are thinking.

    September 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. RonPaul2008

    Leave it to the good 'ole son of a senator to tell us how it is. Not that his own senate seat had anything to do with his fathers... harumph, harumph.

    Too bad that he can't stand Palin. I mean, she got elected governor without even having a father, grandfather, or uncle in politics!! How dare she think she can be VP!

    September 11, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Fred C Dobbs

    And now we know why Lincoln Chafee is a former senator.

    September 11, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Bill

    When a loser calls you a cocky wacko, isn't that a lot like McCain calling someone old or Obama saying someone doesn't have experience?

    September 11, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Brian Walsh

    Former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee Is a cocky wacko !!!!

    September 11, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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