September 11th, 2008
06:38 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: Sarah Palin
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. mitch

    You are hearing more from dems because they are scared that they will lose because the republicans have come together. John Mccain gave his party what they wanted. It's too bad that Obama did not think more about what his party wanted.

    September 12, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  2. Tom in Delaware

    I would like to personally thank the Liberal Left for making Sarah Palin so popular and lovable…we just couldn't have done it without your persistent and dedicated efforts.

    By keeping her the focus of attention (with the exceptions of your very own gaffe-prone canidates) you have elevated her to the point of sainthood.

    Your continious slander has compelled both the media, and your own campaign, to do nothing but speak of her.

    It's like a dream come true, and with a little luck, and some more hard work from you tremendously stupid individuals, she will be the first Vice-Presidential canidate in history to propel a ticket into the White House.

    Hang in there, and keep up the great work.

    McCain/Palin '08

    September 12, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  3. canadaeh

    Lacking any lustre himself, I would imagine this unheard of ex is simply jealous. I'm sure his contribution to Obama will go a long way to help pay the army of lawyers that are digging through the tundra of Alaska looking for dirt on Palin. This all makes me so proud to be a Canadian. We may look boring, but we're civilized.

    September 12, 2008 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  4. Anonymous

    I used to really watch CNN and rely on them for news. Sadly I have come to find them so distorted and slanted in the direction or shoving far left liberal GARBAGE down everyones throat I cant even watch anymore.Every story is to tear down the republicans and boost obama.It is so predictable it isnt even news anymore.
    When did news networks stop simply reporting so the people can decide and start trying to make people think and beleive the way that their owners think?

    September 12, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  5. Doug

    Strong words indeed, but....

    Politicians like Palin underscore the problem in politics: too much of a personal agenda and not enough practical, universal attention to issues that matter. The more I learn about Palin, the more I think she's a budding right-wind nut-job. Plus, she's a hypocrite on nearly every issue.

    John McCain had a similar problem. Every accomplishment in his life since his harrowing experience in Vietnam has been rooted in his desire to win Vietnam....even though very rational person realizes that war is long over and mostly forgotten a.k.a. the rest of us have moved on. But since McCain's Vietnam was less-than-satisfactory, he will engage us in battles and wars until he has contributed to a victory.

    He reminds me of Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump". All of his ancestors dies heroically on the fields of battle, and he was supposed to also. But fate lent a hand and now he is not fulfilled by a legacy of success or honor as many others have been. He should be thrilled by the overachievements of his life. Oh well.

    The double-danger is that Palin wants to help him with this every step of the way...only because she doesn't know better.

    September 12, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  6. Mark

    The Nobama supporters will say anything to discredit the McCain / Palin ticket but the school yard elementary attacks will not work. Do they think that the American people are stupid. The only stupid people are the ones making the wacko and lipstick remarks. You Nobama bots have to do better than that. It's funny what people will do when they are losing and desperate.

    September 12, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  7. Xavier

    After listening to her interview on foreign policy last night I have to say that she sounds more lie George BUsh than even McCain. It seems that her view on foreign policy seems to be attack, fight and intimidate by the sheer force of our might. She even admits to following the Bush doctrine. We dont need this war monger a heart beat away from the presidential office. As bad as things were with Bush, I cant help but believe that things would be even worse if this wacko ended up in the office because McCain dies. Ask yourself if you would trust this woman with the life of your children? Would you trust her to not get your child kill in a war with Russia if she were commander in chief? Please, we as Americans have to be smarter than this.

    September 12, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  8. Ken Kahn

    And Joe Biden's not a cocky wacko? The guy who calls Obama articulate and Palin beautiful

    September 12, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  9. Roger

    "cocky wacko", is that the best name calling he can come up with?

    September 12, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  10. E.Lord

    This article says absolutely nothing except an ex-Senator opnion of Palin. There is no reason or description of the ex-Senator statements except that he doesn't like the VP choice. What purpose does it service to publish this article? It's not informative or provides any insight to what going in the election.
    Its quite obvious CNN selection of this article is instigate further negatively toward Palin as this article services no purpose other than being bias toward the democratic ticket, and is playing into molding public opnion.


    September 12, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  11. Rodney Franklin

    There's a reason why he's "Former" Rhode Island Sen...The people got smart.

    If it was up to him and his lineage, we would still be serving the king and his red coats. Really get off the microphone and grow a backbone, serve your country, make a difference, pick at least one.

    September 12, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  12. Rayk

    Too Late for Chafee. He is another clear illustration as to why we need to keep on looking for 'new' blood for DC. Palin is a refreshing choice. The USA outside of DC has MUCH to offer and thank goodness for that.

    September 12, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  13. Roger

    "Energized Obama backers", but also energized independants and former Hillary supporters. McCain is ahead of Obama now in the polls.

    September 12, 2008 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  14. William

    Palin a "Cocky Wacko"? Chafee certainly is the pot calling the kettle black. They don't come any more loonier than Lincoln.

    September 12, 2008 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  15. Carol

    Sarah Palin does come across as very caustic brash lady with a voice that really grates on your nerves.
    I must admit she with her very caustic manner can really fire up the Republicans as long as she is READING and REPEATING the same old junk over and over and over again!!!!
    It's fine to go out there, but please give us a break and say something of SUBSTANCE for a change.... this same old stuff is really wearing very thin.
    Oh, by the way in the short clip with Charles Gibson when asked about Russia.....did she say we could go to WAR!!!! Sound familiar!!
    America, if you can't see by now that this laughable McPalin ticket will be having us involved in YET MORE wars at the drop of a hat we just cannot let this happen again.
    This election is far too important to let these two "war mongers" get anywhere near the White House.

    September 12, 2008 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  16. Lisa H

    I live in Rhode Island, and let me tell you...Senator Chafee is a joke here, people make fun of him, his absolute stupidity, so who cares what he says or thinks...we don't.

    September 12, 2008 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  17. Matt

    Palin's narrow world view is very, very dangerous, not only for America but for the whole world! Be concerned: Such falcons can cause big wars!

    September 12, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  18. US

    "Cocky Wacko" = prefect description

    September 12, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  19. Elizabeth

    Well, duh! The lady is nuts. McCain/Palin sound more extreme than Bush/Cheney. Listening to her interview with Charlie Gibson confirms this.

    September 12, 2008 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  20. EBC

    I watched Gov. Sarah Palin's interview with Gilbson and I found her to be very well rehearsed. In a couple of questions like when she was asked about the Bush Doctrine, she had this blank look on her face for about 60 seconds, then she asked Gibson "what do you mean Charlie?". It was CLEAR that Gov. Palin did NOT know the answer and fumbling.

    There was another question where re repeated the same answer 4-5 times, but it wasn't the answer to the question regarding attacking Pakistan without permission.

    I find these revelation VERY DISTURBING. It just proves that Gov. Palin is clueless when it comes to our foreign policies. She is NOT MATCH for Putin and Russia or Georgia. AND let's not even forget Pakistan and Iran. They are going to EAT her up as President!! China is going to look at Gov. Palin as nothing but a JOKE, they are just going to ignore her all together.

    THIS IS SERIOUS FOLKS, you have a Republican VP candidate who is being TAUGHT an accelerated "foreign and national" policies during and ELECTION, WHAT does that say about your John McCain.


    September 12, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  21. CAL

    Three negative articles this am re Gov. Palin including this idiot from nowehere - a former senator of RI - calling the nominee a wacko. Way to go with your fair coverage CNN. I am still waiting for the piece on Joe Biden's extraordinary ability to vote the wrong way on military/foreign policy issues over the three decades he has served.

    September 12, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  22. Luis

    I was watching a video of Matt Dammon talking about how ready or experience was Gov Sarah Palin. He siad at the moment of a serious issuelike facing Vladimir Putin, she won't have the experience to handle this. I think neither candidate Obama or Palin has enought foreign policy experience to handle alone any situation.

    Lets remember that there are many people in Washington that will advice the President or Vice President on what steps or measures to take. the cabinet, advisors, senators, armed forces, the ex-Presidents.

    So please Matt don't be so naive. Look at the Iraq war we went there after the so called intelligence was given, the congress said yes!! let's go!! then the President declared the state of war.

    Lets just vote for the candidate that will bring solutions and talk how to solve all the problems we have at home.

    September 12, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  23. s

    too bac he had to cross the line to "cocky whacko" ,otherwise could have been a viable voice rallying against this surreal path the Republicans have chosen for themselves....Palin is unconscious...

    September 12, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  24. Robert

    After reading more about the Palin Trooper Schandal, I agree with Mr Chafee.

    September 12, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  25. Southerner

    Chafee calling anyone a whacko would be like Amy Winehouse calling someone else a druggie.

    September 12, 2008 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
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