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. sherm


    September 12, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  2. Nonnie

    A "cocky whacko" Hmm, that's about right. Now both sides are scary.

    September 12, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  3. lhjcgtx

    Palin's what we need more of in Washington, an intellectually primitive evangelical creationist whose heart, guts and glands are committed to the necessary fundamentalist myth that the United States was founded as a christian nation by a bunch of irrational deists.

    September 12, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  4. ex-democrat for mccain / palin in Alabama

    Chaffee is the cocky wacko, who got booted. sour grapes, anyone?

    Govenor Palin, God has your back covered!

    God's plan is to put you in charge!

    President Palin all the way!

    September 12, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  5. New Ole

    I wonder why he voted against going in to IRAQ? The USA could have stayed home and avoided its fiduciary duty to follow UN resolution after UN resolution as well as majority of the Dems in Congress wanted the US to live up to its fiduciary responsibilities--this guy is a wack job professorial leberal nambie pambie US HATER!!!

    September 12, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  6. Ron L

    First and foremost the use of the term "cocky wacko" is inappropiate. It only inflames people who are attepting to defend her being choosen for such an important position as V.P. when they KNOW deep down inside she is not knowledgable enough. I say this with no malice. it is simply a statement of fact. I looked at her interview on ABC twice yesterday and what I saw was a an intelligent person, who MAY one day be a very ready for such an importatan position in our government ..but not now!!
    If you listened to the answers given, and look closely in her eyes as she answered. You can hear and see she is in over her head. EVERYONE needs to view this for what it is. This is a selection for someone who will be the 2nd most important person in the country. John McCain is 72, how many people who are reading this right now have witnessed or heard about a friend or loved one that was in their 70's that was FINE one day and the next they have had a stroke or some other unexpected serious illness.
    This is not about gender, race, or Party. This is about one thing and one thing alone..IS SARAH PALIN well-rounded and versed enough to actullay SIT in the chair of the President in the event Sen. McCain was elected and taken ill or worst in the first year of his adminstration. The answer ( in my opinion) is NO!
    AMERICA this is another WAKE UP call. This is VERY SERIOUS!! I am not asking you to agree with me, I am BEGGING you to not listen to the hype. Just listen to her interview and FORGET she is both a women or Republican and ask yourself DOES SHE sound like someone ready to be President in a less than a years time?? This is as REAL as it gets. Vote with your brain, not your heart!

    September 12, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  7. JC

    take notes this is the kinda of people you need in the situation room. Real talk no BULL, NO BIAS!!!!

    September 12, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  8. Michigan Voter

    People must be OK with her, McCain is now leading Obama in electoral votes according to the electoral vote map, 270 to 268.

    September 12, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  9. charles

    It takes one to know one!

    September 12, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  10. Jim Schimmer

    He is absolutely right.
    She is dangerously inexperienced and a hearbeat away from being president!

    Do we really want to risk the future of our children in this crazy person!

    September 12, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  11. smalksy, Bibbingham, MT

    chafee is a joke who gets no respect from either side....he's just desperately trying to get some press

    September 12, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  12. teresa

    Well, we definitely need someone who actually knows they can help lead a country...Also, he seems like someone that doesn't know his position. Let's send him to the front lines next time terrorists attack this country and watch him wet his pants!

    September 12, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  13. sandra

    I was thinking that Mr Chafee was ot the first to see this reality, we all intelligent people can see the inaecuate, poor choice is made by taking in concideration Palin as the person to one day lead this country, to disaster yes!

    September 12, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  14. Barry

    Senator Chafee is right on the mark. Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson began to reveal what many people already suspected – a former Mayor of a little town (I was one myself) and a 20 month Governor who is woefully inadequate for public office. What is frightening is that if McCain were elected, she would be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. I need not point out that McCain is 72 and has had cancer four times.

    Her performance in the interview was pathetic. She did not know what the "Bush Doctrine" was, has traveled to (ready?), Canada, Mexico, and one junket to Kuwait. She was ready to engage in war with Russia over Georgia (not our State). She also opposed big countries attacking little ones (does anyone remember Iraq?).

    Her selection reveals a dangerously flawed McCain – one who puts politics and his own burning ambition above the country. I fervently hope people can put aside their red/blue rhetoric and look at what could happen to the USA if Palin ever got a real position of power.

    For once, lets get beyond the politics of personality (who we like and do not like) and look at what is good for the US and everyone in it.

    September 12, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  15. Patty

    He might be more credible if he actually knew her and weren't already committed to BO. Just another example of the BO panic machine trying to neutralize her postive effect.

    September 12, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  16. ep

    About sums it up. The only thing Palin brings to this ticket is temporary excitement where there was none. Once you start listening to what she has to say and the way she says it, all excitement gets extinguished.

    September 12, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  17. Marie

    After watching the first part of her interview I have to correct Mr. Chafee.

    Sarah Palin is a "nervous looking cocky wacko". She scares the heck out of me. She anything but typical or like you and I.

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

    She's one big gimmick, and it's really REALLY sad some people can't see that like the good little republican sheep they are.

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

    Palin's lack of knowledge of current affairs was clearly evident during her interview with Charles Gibson. He failed to press her on any issue except the Bush doctrine and she fumbled that badly. For Guiliaini to show up on MSNBC this morning praising her performance was unbelievable. It appears as if he was are blinded by "hope". Fame is just manic curiosity and it is always fleeting.

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

    It's a good thing Palin is at the BOTTOM of the ticket. Now, can we talk about issues that REALLY concern Americans?

    * McCain voted AGAINST Violence Against Women Act

    * McCain voted AGAINST Title X Womens Health Care Services

    * McCain voted AGAINST Children's Health Insurance Program-SCHIP

    * McCain voted AGAINST aid to Children of Domestic Violence

    * McCain voted AGAINST Emergency Funding for Victims of Hurricane Katrina

    * McCain voted AGAINST Funding Law Enforcement

    * McCain wants to bring back the DRAFT

    * McCain voted AGAINST GI Bill

    * McCain voted AGAINST Funding VA for Vets

    * McCain voted AGAINST Funding Military Equipment Shortages in Iraq

    * Palin continues to LIE about the bridge. Palin SUPPORTED the bridge, TOOK THE MONEY for the bridge, KEPT THE MONEY for the bridge and SPENT THE MONEY for the bridge.

    * Palin AND her husband AND her children BILLED the taxpayers of Alaska, $16,000.00 so the Palin's could have Family Time.

    * Other than scripted interviews that have clearly been EDITED, Palin REFUSES to answer questions from reporters. In fact, Palin REFUSES to answer reporter's questions on her plane... SUSPICIOUS?????!!!!!! ...

    Will Palin EVER answer questions from reporterS (plural) like say from behind a podium?

    September 12, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  21. Charles Shaw Liverpool, NY

    I believe the sen. Chaffee is just as much part of the problem with our Big Socialist Government as any other person working for one of the two major parties today. These two parties have lost their way in serving the Constitution of America, something they have sworn to up hold. Well after over 35 years of my voting experence, I'm not going to be fooled again!
    This fall I'm voting for my Freedom and Liberty, I'm voting for Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party. Join me in removing these criminals from office, join me as we restore the rule of law, a return to what the founding father's intended when they wrote our Constitution.

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

    Hmmm, pot calling the kettle black. No pun intended.

    Besides, most men immediately say a woman is crazy to discredit her. Obama has no experience and he is where he is because white men put him there to oppose a more "dangerous" female. Clinton. Well, now the Democrats have to deal with Palin. It's the DNC's own fault. Dummies.

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

    Lone Republican to vote against the Iraq war? Ummm, no .... I pretty sure Ron Paul voted agaisnt the Iraq war as well. He's "called out" Democrats who supported the Iraq war then changed their minds when they realized it was political "oopsie" yet supports Obama? Oy. If anyone is a "cocky wacko" (they probably are all actually) it's Chafee!

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

    Hmmmmmmm me think that Mr Chafee has a point.......

    September 12, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  25. New Ole

    Chafee is not in office and is jealous of anyone who is now popular!!!
    Where was he in the 90's when Kopechne killer Kennedy , Monica's boyfriend, Reno , and a host of other Libs ruined US Army capabilites, eviscerated the CIA, and decided that 125% home loans were OK????The 90's need to be examined and these libs will not come out as world savers-they left a pile of crap for US to deal with (home loan crisis, weak military , frustrated crime fighters, weak immigration policy, no energy policy)-chafee is not around any more and should not influence what is going on right now!!!!!!!!!!

    September 12, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13