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. Martha

    I agree, and the MSM pushing the hype that Gibson's gave some tough questions is at least absurb as sheet. This was a well scripted interview as we all know Gibson is in the tub with McShame. Palin is really a dumb politician.

    September 12, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  2. J J

    Now we are reposting articles by a has been? Slow news day?

    September 12, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  3. Toby

    Agreed. The sad part is that McCain didn't just throw her into the presidential race, he is subjecting the country to the rule of this cocky wacko. All the time he says she has "military experience" (as governor who never issued one order?), "diplomatic experience" (by virtue of living near Siberia??), and "energy expertise" (by supporting drilling???). Just picture her in a group of world leaders discussing important issues. This is what McCain thinks makes a good president? Unfortunately, redneck America probably thinks so too.

    September 12, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  4. CG

    McCain definitely enegrized a base when he picked Palin... the Democratic base. i wasn't involved at all in Obama's campaign until he picked this antagonistic, divisive woman. I didn't think McCain was that bad... but now I have something to work AGAINST.

    September 12, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  5. Mike

    What a jerk! I am glad he is "former" senator Lincoln Chafee

    September 12, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  6. Craig from Rockford

    Sarah Palin is just another charming face placed on the bigotry that is conservatism.

    September 12, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  7. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    He's only saying what a lot of people are thinking. Watch the McCain surrogates come out of the woodwork, now.

    When valid questions are considered "bashing" and when McCain can use the "pig in lipstick" quote about Hillary and Obama can't say the same about McCain's ideas .... then you know we are in scary territory.

    Either Palin can run at the national level, warts and all or McCain can be the sugar-Daddy and protect his little girl. They can't have it both ways.

    Interesting the Palin didn't hesitate to call Hillary a whiner – and accuse her of playing the gender card...

    September 12, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  8. Fighting for Obama Since he is too political correct!

    My sentiments exactly. Last night Palin sounded like she memorized her answers based on key words when Charlie Gibson Interviewed her. I was not impressed. She is not the one to lead this country if she needs to take over the white house. May God help us all.

    September 12, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  9. xddy4u

    Senator Chafee, you got that right. The woman is way over her head. Why should we have to baby sit a potential VP, who will be a heart beat from the oval office when we don't have to. We don't have to elect an ill equip VP into office. We can elect a tried and proven candidate, like Joe Biden who has been in many political battles in the Senate. That's who will have Obama's back, we don't have to soft peddle Biden. On the other hand, look at who will have McCain's back, a person that doesn't know the difference between the House and the Senate. Political god help us.

    September 12, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  10. chris

    thats the truth..this woman is cracked.

    September 12, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  11. Belinda

    I just want us to get back to the issues. I am for Obama because he cares about the things I care about. Education for all who want it, better schools, getting Americans involved in shaping and changing our communities, health care. etc.

    I pray that we as Americans do not get so naive and cocky to think that no one can touch us. People don't want to hear it, but the rest of the world likes Obama, McCain is another Bush to them, and they really don't want that. People have to understand that our President of the US, does not only represent the US, but other countries.

    Our country needs to get back to what's important and show each other that we care. We shouldn't need a 911 event to make us wake up. I feel like we have forgotten that this happened anyway.

    September 12, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  12. scoot

    notice the word FORMER Sen.

    September 12, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  13. Dianne

    Is this really necessary for this electin? How many other derogatory terms, that bare no merit, wil be slung at Gov. Palin?

    Shouldn't we get back to the issues and investigate each candidate on thier experience, knowledge and ability?

    Hands down, both McCain and Palin's experience, proven abilities and achieved outcomes far exceeds anything that Obama has done during his 143 days in the Senate.

    Let's take the emotions out of this election and elect the most qualified candidate.

    What will be achieved by electing a candidate soley on the color of his skin? Isn't that in and by itself racism? I heard a talk on NPR yesterday and the rational given for electing Obama was; if he is elected then the white people will no longer be able to repress us, white people are secretly trying to make him fail, if he is elected then it will be okay for my black son to date a white person, and it was even said that they did not care about his shortcomings because no other black man had gotten this far and he deserves it on that premise alone."

    Please start to cover this election fairly and ask the same questions from both sides, report positive things about both sides and show the American public that you are able to be true professional journalist.

    September 12, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  14. oldsoldierboy

    Sara Palin has a lot of bad dealings in her time as governor and mayor. Go to for the facts.

    September 12, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  15. linda from South Dakota

    what comes around always goes around,,,, mccain/palin>> exist that way>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>thanks for comin,,,,,,,,,,obamam/biden 08 and beyond

    September 12, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  16. Maggie

    I saw the interview Charlie Gibson had with Palin. She came off looking really pathetic.

    September 12, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  17. C from GA

    Love this.

    Better duck tho – they'll be flinging insults and more at you next. No one can criticize Sarah...

    September 12, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  18. Shane

    Well...if the shoe fits...

    September 12, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  19. Brian, Pittsburgh

    When did Honesty become a crime?

    Cocky (adjective) – arrogant, boldly or brashly self-confident, condescending to community organizers.

    Wacko (noun) – a person who is wacky, describes self as pitbull with lipstick, or thinks selling a plane on ebay means effective government.

    Palintologist (noun) – a person who studies cocky wackos.

    September 12, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  20. Dee Dee

    Do you politicians ever try to see the good in a person? Why does CNN report this garbage?

    September 12, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  21. Jamey Campbell

    Just consider the source. In his world anyone with values, vision and a belief if God is considered a "wacko." It's interesting that these comments were made by a senator from the smallest state in the country aimed at the governor of the largest state. Jealous?

    September 12, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  22. Walt, Belton,TX

    Speaking of cocky wackos..................... Here's a so-called republican who, in reality, will suck up to whomever he can get something from. A typical noreastern yankee. Just more trash the media scraped up because their boy isn't in a commanding lead. Just more political B.S.!

    September 12, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  23. jeanette

    I have to agree that she is very cocky, and yes, a wacko!
    This woman needs investigated to the nth degree.

    September 12, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  24. Reba

    Well this Palin is someone who deeply believes in her "God". I along with others have grave concerns and it scares that "god" would be her decision maker instead of common sense decisions. She is a candidate that I wouldn't trust because she knows nothing but shooting moose, getting into unethical behavior as demonstrated in her stints by firing people in her way, and charging her governmental function in staying home while taxpayers flip the bill while she was nesting at home. We in DC call that grounds for dismissal because of her unethical and darn right cheating the state of Alaska by doing fragulent behavior. If it had been little "joe smo" they would of been fired. She figures she is above the "law".As for McCain in picking a candidate just to please the "christian right & the insecure women out there" who think they were left out because they didn't have a woman in the VP slot is darn right stupid. Women wake up and smell the coffee! For those women who want this unprofessional person in the white house playing the "soccer mom" "gun totting moose killer" of animals in the white house is simply "NUTS"

    September 12, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  25. Sean

    Even moderate Republicans realize what a nutjob Palin is.

    September 12, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
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