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. Independent from FL

    The insults made to Sarah is a projection of Obama's flaws. Obama is not ready to lead, Obama has flip floped on many issues, Obama is a wacko for attending that hate mongering church, etc....
    Obama supporters need to realize that insulting Sarah-The VP pick does not help your cause.

    September 11, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. ESM

    Seriously...Palin is as prepared to run the second highest (and quite possibly the highet office – if it comes to that) in the land as I am to be mayor of my metropolis! Come on folks...for her to agree to the position means she is not strong enough to say "sorry I'm not the right person for the job". BAD ON HER.

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

    Is this Sen Obamas version of a CLEAN race???
    I am sure is, at least a small bit, behind this.

    NICE JOB Sen Obama did this guy vote with Bush too or does it not matter when a Rep is saying something you agree with??????

    September 11, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Linda, your lack of reading ability speaks volumes about why you support McCain

    You said:

    "This coming from a "former" Senator. The people of Rhode Island woke up. He lost despite the anti-republican feeling in the country in 2006"

    Not sure how to tell you this – HE'S A REPUBLICAN. He didn't lose despite the anti-Republican feeling, he probably lost in part because of it.

    I knew McCain/Palin supporters were intolerant idiots, but I at least thought they could read.....

    September 11, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Independent Female Voter in Missouri

    Thank You!

    The only reason we care about her is that he is so old. All of her transgressions are coming to light. Just wait for it. McCain is an okay guy. She is not.

    September 11, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Pat Riot

    The title is a bit wrong. It should say Former Republican...Senator, as he left the party. And senator you are about as liberal as Republicans get. Your opinion is far from unbiased.

    September 11, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. Frank

    Bush's Crusader....what the hell? I'm certainly no John McCain supporter, but you do realize that religious bigotry and a purging of so-called enemies as "God's war for our country" isn't quite on McCain's agenda, right?

    September 11, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. Andy J, NY

    @ EBC

    Hey- did you know Obama voted with the Democratic party, along party lines, more than 95% of the time?

    Get your facts straight.

    Wait until the debates- You will see that NEITHER candidate is for change- they are all more of the same.

    September 11, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. KJL

    Hothead and Hottie


    Good Judgment and Knowledge

    I'm an Independant too, and usually look closely at the issues, but why bother? I was already concerned about McCain's age and health, but now I'm wondering about his sanity. He won't shut up about Vietnam and his hastily-selected running-mate's crowning accomplishment seems to be a handicapped child. Obama could certainly use a few more years of experience, but he's a fast learner, knows how to listen, and uses the talents of those around him. I'm sold.

    September 11, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Well if nothing else, at least Lincoln Chaffee confirmed his irrelevance for us the same way Rhode Island voters did for us in 2006.

    September 11, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. Little are Men Afraid of Smart Women

    Sen. Chaffee you are the one who comes across as cocky and after that statment you just made abou Palin you are for sure a "wacko". You have the mentality of a "little worm" who just crawled out from under some rock.

    Hillary supporer for McCain/Palin

    September 11, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Paul

    This coming from a well respect Republican!.....Hell must have frozen over. It's refreshing that the party has someone with morals and common sense . He's right, she is a "wacko" disguised as the world's best "hockey mom".

    September 11, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. McCain Supporter

    These bloggers on these posts just do not get it. The Democrats and Obama supporters just keep throwing mud. Then they laugh about it and complain that the Republicans are "so mean" and "how can they run those distasteful ads?" Well, people. Listen. The Republicans are in solidarity with McCain. The Democrats are mostly behind Obama. Who does that leave out? People like me, an Independent. We will decide this election, and we do not like all the nasty comments from the Democrats and the way they have been piling on Governor Palin. We do not like it at all, and we will remember in November. So, keep it up. Keep insulting Governor Palin. You will continue to see Obama's numbers slide. No matter what you think of polls, the bottom line is they are showing a definite shift by Independents toward McCain. These types of comments are the reason why.

    September 11, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Kate Paulson

    Lincoln who?

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

    Boy, is that the pot calling the kettle black!

    September 11, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. Andrea

    NAILED IT! Finally the truth prevails.

    September 11, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. Obama 08: White, 60 yr old female

    Seems like Obama is getting lots of support....funny no one except for Chuck Norris and Lindsay Graham are having anything to say about McCain....even Bill O'Reilly is calling out McCain for his smears and lying campaign/

    Wake up America!!! Do your homework before you jump on the "bandwagon"1

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

    Chafee's opinion, being so unbiased, surely carries a lot of weight with the Obamies, since that's what they want to hear. For us sane people it doesn't mean anything except that CNN is collapsing upon itself with the effort of trying to gin up opposition toward Sarah Palin.

    September 11, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Hypocracy has no bounds

    Hmm people in washington attacking the newcomer who threatens to change the way things work.

    I guess I can see his point support Obama and change nothing in Washington. Well just who gets the money, I guess thats a change.

    September 11, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. Doug R.

    A show piece for the GOP with no experience, embroiled in scandals...a pitbull with lipstick who has a real problem with being honest. McCain and Palin are disgraceful.

    September 11, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. J

    I guess they kicked him out of the GOP when he came to his senses.

    September 11, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. dan

    both parties are losers they both better court the real americans that decide with our hearts and minds not someones view of scripture.

    September 11, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. KMAN

    I think Sen. Chaffee's comments do a major disservice to "cocky wackos" everywhere! This woman and the fraud (McCain) behind her are truly scary people. When is this pathetic light-weight going to start answering reporter’s questions?!?!

    No MAN would have gotten away with the BS she has been spewing for 2 weeks now without having to answer a single question from the press! Talk about double-standards based solely on gender!!

    September 11, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. FreeNLovIt

    The only question we need to ask Palin is: What will she do to make our lives better, for those that are not on the top 1% list?

    September 11, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. JB- NYC

    There is a reason Lincoln Chaffee is an ex-Senator.

    September 11, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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