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. Edwin, Fayetteville, NC

    He is not being sexist, he just sees Palin for who she really is someone who is not ready and will lead the country the wrong way. Even more damage will be done to our economy and national security if the McCain/Palin ticket gets in.

    September 12, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  2. Armando

    He counldn't be more correct. Palin is scaring, and totally unprepared.
    Could have a bright future if she changes her attitude and becomes more honest.

    September 12, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  3. Nevada Indie Voter

    Leave it to a senator from Rhode Island to speak the truth- one thing I give to that state, it's people don't mince words and they call it like they see it! Keep speaking your mind Mr. Chafee... America truly needs to wake up and smell the coffee! A McCain/Palin ticket is no more than 4 more years of what we have now- and that is absolutely no change for the better...

    September 12, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  4. jeanette

    Her, "this is gods war" and her willingness to attack Russia is scary.
    Invading Russia equals Armegeddon.
    And, the draft will have to be reinstated.

    September 12, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  5. Lauren

    Right on point!!!

    September 12, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  6. beevee

    I totally agree with him after listening to the bits and pieces of her interview with Gibson.

    September 12, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  7. Ron

    Smart man. I watched her "interview" last night. Not only is she a wacko, but she appears to be angry. She got po'd a few times at Gibson.

    I liked this part of the interview:

    Gibson: "Are you ready to handle foreign policy of the United States"

    Palin: "Well, you can actually see Russia from Alaska"

    September 12, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  8. Bubba

    She used to be the singer for Cocky Whacko and the Moose Ropers. Very big in Alaska in the 70s.

    September 12, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  9. Rick Leonhard

    Coming from Lincoln that's a compliment. The original milquetoast senator is known for ....................nothing!

    September 12, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  10. Scott L

    He'll soon be calling her Mrs. Vice President!

    September 12, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  11. carlo

    She's not a cocky wacko. She is, however, an idiot. She flubbed an interview with the "nicest man in America" Charles Gibson. She didn't even know what the Bush doctrine is. That's sad. I'm not running for President or vice-president and I know what the Bush doctrine is.

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

    "Cocky Wacko" is exactly what Palin is and John McCain is an idiot for putting our country at risk by selecting this hot head. What is even more amazing is that after years of being picked to pieces by the the public and still earning over 18 million votes in the primaries, some say they don't know enough about Obama. Palin has been hiding behind John McCain for the last two weeks and has shown no ability to handle the media or anyone else for that matter, and people are ready to give her access to the White House? I don't know how Obama holds his tongue regarding these obvious double standards. Didn't I see an interview that Sarah Palin gave where she asked "what does the V.P. do anyway?" This is scary. Come on people, wake up and smell the set up. Go Chafee for calling it like it is!!
    Obama/Biden '08

    September 12, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  13. E-S

    I am ashamed to have Senators of this country use immature, comments about other Americans.

    Whether you agree with Palin or does not give you the right to become a third grader in a Senate office (even if he is not in office which i hope is the case)!!!!!!

    Palin is a woman with views of positivity to turn this country around....just as Biden, Obama, and McCain!!

    We are one!!! With different views, of course but that does not give anybody to right to insult ANYONE!!!!!

    September 12, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Given that he hasn't seen eye to eye with the Bush administration, this isn't a big surprise that he doesn't like her. There must be some great concern that he has to say something this strongly worded. I can honestly see harsh words for Palin also since she doesn't seem to understand much other than ideology.

    September 12, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  15. Marie N

    I agree with the former Senator. There's something disturbing about this woman who could not even tell Gibson what she thought about the Bush Doctrine as it has become known regarding preemptive strikes. Even scarier is her statement of "whatever it takes" sounds like a she thinks we have a blank check on what we are allowed to do in order to catch the terrorists responsible for 9/11. I wonder if the international community will allow McCain and Palin to cash those checks or tell them that blank check will not be honored by the international community. You see...the EU and other nations who have been around for several hundreds of years longer that we have...know what an overconfident rookie can do to international stability. They have seen first hand what leaders with a shoot first, ask questions later mentality can do to the world. They have had to live with it for several generations. Now we have Venezuela, Bolivia, Iran, North Korea, Russia and every other country who might have had doubts about our desire to invade their borders on high alert. Palin should really read "How to win friends and influence people" before the rest of our potential enemies think about euthanizing us like they do "pit bulls" who cannot be controled by their owners.

    September 12, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  16. Help Us ALL!!

    Did anyone read the Palin interview response on Russia??

    What ever happened to just talking and negotiating with Russia instead of pissing them off by putting up sanctions? Doesnt anyone see that the Republican stance on this just makes the other country angry and doesnt solve a thing???

    And if she thinks that we can take a strong upper hand with Russia and it work she is WACKO!! Russia is hard to get along with. They are strong willed and Stubborn.

    This is what Obama wants to change... the way the Republicans have handled Foreign relations by trying to grab the other countries arm and MAKE them do what we want or Else!! IT doesnt work!! No wonder we have problems with other countries HATING us!!

    She doesnt have a clue to what is going on. She doesnt know what she is doing!! She has the most potential of being the actual President of the USA and its SCARY!

    That is like putting my teenage daughter in the Presidential Seat.

    September 12, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  17. Social Libertarian in NC

    I'm so glad that someone on Obama's side has had the balls to call Palin out as what she really is!!!

    September 12, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  18. Gary Meyer

    Senator Obama seems pretty upset that Senator McCain and the Republican party have chosen to run their campaign also on change.
    Senator Obama insist that Senator McCain would be just another 4 years of President Bush's policies.

    As an independent , I found myself closely following both the Democratic and the Republican conventions. I found that both Senator Obama, and Senator McCain have different approaches to solving the issues that face our great nation.

    When I hear the word, "Change" from Senator Obama, I hear about changes to policies that didn't work for the Bush administration.
    When I hear the word, "Change" from Senator McCain, I hear changes to the old policies of President Bush's administration, but the biggest and most important part of Senator McCain's change is " TO SHAKE UP WASHINGTON".

    This phrase is an important one, because whoever wins the presidency, is going to have to reach across party lines to get things accomplished. Senator McCain being refeerred to as a "Maverick" can do just that, along with the help of his running mate Sarah Palin.

    I heard Senator McCain say " I will choose members of my cabinet with the most experience in their fields, whether they're Democrats, Republicans, or Independents, whomever wants to reach across, and be a part of rebuilding politics in America."

    I have to say, to see Democrats and Republicans working side by side, under a McCain administration is, "REAL CHANGE".

    September 12, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  19. E

    This ex-senator is just bitter for not being Senator anymore!!!

    Stop degrading others!!!


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

    This guy is a Cocky Wacko; I know him.

    September 12, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  21. Andy

    CHANGE !!!!

    What does this mean with Sara Palin

    Does it mean that she changes her opinion like the weather ????

    For example: As Governeur and Major she gets millions of dollars earmarks and now as she is nominated for Vice President she is against earmarks oops CHANGE !!!!!

    Let!s wait for her next CHANGES, I think it will be interesting.

    September 12, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  22. Cindy

    Thank you Senator Chafee. Finally someone speaks the truth.

    Palin is one heart beat away from being commander in chief and she does not have the qualifications. This is a scary situation.

    September 12, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  23. Emily

    She may be a 'cocky wacko' but at least she's not a community organizer!

    But really, this is one of the most important elections in the US History. The economy is in a free fall, and we are on the verge of war with at least five countries. It is absolutely imperative that we see what our candidates are made of before we make a decision.

    September 12, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  24. Coger

    At Palin's son's deployment ceremony, she said to the troops, “You and others like you will be there to see the mission through.”

    She should have followed it up with, "I and others like me will remain safely at home thinking of the next reason we can put you and others like you in harm's way under the guise of patriotism, and in the name of PROFIT.


    September 12, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  25. Enlightened Voter

    I watched the Palin interview last night with Charles Gibson. As an Obama Supporter I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart. You proved to the nation what I already knew, your not ready in the least to be VP. Palin is clueless about everything and knew so little and what she did know you could tell was straight from a tutored script. OMG! this is frightening.! Keep talking Sarah so the world will know your true colors.

    September 12, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
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