October 25th, 2010
10:08 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama can take endorsement and 'shove it," says Dem

(CNN) – President Obama is making a campaign stop in Rhode Island Monday but he’s not getting a particularly warm welcome from the state’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Amid news Obama is refraining from endorsing Democrat Frank Caprio during his swing through the state, Caprio told a local radio station Monday that the president can “take his endorsement and really shove it.”

Audio after the jump

"We had one of the worst floods in the history of the United States a few months back and President Obama didn't even do a flyover of Rhode Island like President Bush did when New Orleans had their problems. He ignored us and now he's coming into Rhode Island and treating us like an ATM machine,” Caprio, the state’s treasurer, also told WPRO’s John Depetro.

Caprio is neck-and-neck in the polls with former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, running as an independent. Chafee, the only Republican to vote against the authorization of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, lost his Senate reelection bid in 2006 and later left the GOP.

Chafee went on to endorse then-presidential candidate Obama in 2008, saying then, "I believe Senator Obama is the best candidate to restore American credibility, to restore our confidence to be moral and to bring people together to solve the complex issues such as the economy, the environment and global stability."

The Providence Journal reported Monday that the White House determined ahead of Obama’s trip to the state that there would be no formal endorsement of Caprio – a rare snub from the president to a viable Democratic gubernatorial candidate, especially in a year when the party is desperately trying to maintain its advantage in statehouses across the country.

“I’ve never asked President Obama for his endorsement, Caprio also said. “What’s going on here is really Washington insider politics at its worst. You have two former senators, Senator Chafee and former Senator Obama, who have behind the scenes tried to put together an endorsement for Senator Chaffee and who knows there may be one coming.

“What I am saying to President Obama very clearly is that I will wear it as a badge of honor and badge of courage that he doesn’t want to endorse me as Democrat,” he continued. “Because I am a different kind of Democrat.”

Mike Trainor, a spokesman for Chafee, told CNN the comments were "very intemperate and shocking."

A top Democrat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN's Jessica Yellin that the White House's decision is "unprofessional."

"What they forget is that President Obama is the leader of the party, and sometimes that means supporting your party over your friends. This is especially true when you consider that we are in the worst environment since 1994," the Democrat said.

Caprio had planned to attend events with Obama in Woonsocket and Providence, where the president will tour a factory and raise money on behalf of Providence Mayor David Cicilline, who is seeking to replace Patrick Kennedy in the House.

Speaking to WPRO, Caprio dodged questions about whether he still plans to attend the events with the president.


White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton responded to questions about Caprio's statement on the way to Rhode Island aboard Air Force One Monday:

"The President is thrilled to go to Rhode Island to talk about small business jobs. … As for the politics, he decided out of respect for his friend Lincoln Chafeee not to get into the race."

Later, asked how he would vote if he could in Rhode Island, Burton wouldn't bite but added:

"The President is very comfortable doing what he's doing in this race."

And: "The President is talking about the choice people have in this election."

Filed under: Frank Caprio • issues • Lincoln Chafee
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Drew Williams

    Yes, Caprio is a different kind of Democrat - the kind that begins with "R."

    October 25, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Lynn

    He's a Republican trying for the vote from working class Democrats. The flyover of New Orleans after Katrina by Bush made him look uncaring and foolish. Apparently Caprio wants to do the same for Obama.

    October 25, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Andre

    But he is coming to help you get re-elected. Stop whining!

    October 25, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Augsbee

    A Democrat who can see things realistically and is not wearing rose colored glasses, now that's news.

    October 25, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. ST

    The election cycle has made us hear all kind of unusual languages we didn't expect to hear, especially from respectful people! What a shame!

    October 25, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Dan

    What a ridiculous person. I can see being annoyed but can you be a little grown up about it.

    If I were in RI I would never vote for such an immature person. Is this how he will act when the RI legislature opposes him?

    Grow up.

    October 25, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. TamarS

    well that's a nice sentiment from someone who wants to hold a high office in the state, isn't it. And we should vote for him WHY? If he doesn't respect the office of the president, he certainly won't respect we, the citizens.

    October 25, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Economy in turmoil and sill troops overseas and the President of the United States is still worried about campaigning. I know every President has done it but they should make it illegal to do so. Time is better spent running our country, campaign when it is no longer your job to run this country.

    October 25, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. tracy

    You just lost buddy. Dems are with the president, and that is what Blue Dog dems don't seem to understand. In this election year, repubs WILL NOT vote for you or work with ANY democrat. Since you are so rude and disrespectful to The Prez of the USA, I will now campaign against you, as you deserve to lose. My grandmother used to tell us about educated fools. Now I understand what she meant as I read your disrespectful comments.

    October 25, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Fed Up

    YES!!!!!!!!! It's about time someone stands up to Obama. Make sure he remembers this is 2012, along iwth all the good people of Rhode Island.

    October 25, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. Gale

    How can anyone that gets an endorsement from Obama call it a "big victory"?

    October 25, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. virginia nielsen

    What a jerk !!! Stupid and irresponsible comment !!!

    October 25, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Catie

    Democrats shunning Obama, and Republicans shunning the Tea Party are doing a disservice to their parties. Both parties need to refocus and come to a middle ground, like it or not. Obama, God love him, we pray for him every day, just has a totally different view of America than most people. He means well, but, it is not the America I want to create, I dont want a New America, I just want to improve the original one. Pray for all of our politicians

    October 25, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. jules sand-perkins

    If Caprio is "a different kind of Democrat" from Obama, then we need a lot more Democrats like Caprio.

    October 25, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Charlie from the North

    Oh my. I wonder if this "Democrat" was vetted and found laking of maybe the President wants to have at last one sane Republican in the house (if so his choices are limited)

    October 25, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. michael tampa

    REally, and you expect other democrats to support you?? dream on!!

    October 25, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Chaz

    This loser is comparing a little flooding in Rhode Island to Hurrican Katrina and wonders why the President won't endorse him? He sounds like an immature little punk.

    October 25, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. kashif ali

    You are a different kind of democrat? Thats right. A cry baby just like most of the right wing today.

    October 25, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. Larry

    In the old days when a bonehead made a comment about the president like that they used to hog tie the jeck and and tickle him with feathers. I guess that's what he was hoping for.

    October 25, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Ouch is an understatement. I wonder what would happen if the guy is elected. Would he be invited to the White House? I have a feeling he would only as a part of a larger group.

    October 25, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. John C

    As a fellow Rhode Islander, I am proud of this Harvard Grad, and our next governor. Who cares about Obama anyway, he pays no attention to Rhode Island, and if we had it our way, Hillary would have been our nomination.

    October 25, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. blaqmajik

    I am sure he will still get independent votes since Obama is viewed in such extremes. The people who are "true blue" will still vote for him, the ones who are "dead red" will not. But that large middle section will make the difference.

    October 25, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. Angie

    I've been a hardcore Leftie my entire life....after Obama I decided to actually EDUCATE myself on the issues by reading a variety of different books from different points of view. I'm SO disappointed in myself!! To learn that liberalism is all wrong...it's wrong on so many liberals. Although I don't agree with conservatism 100%, for the most part they are right about everything....from now on, my family and I are voting Republican.

    October 25, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. gt

    SMART MOVE... a endorsement from obama is the kiss of death....this is pay back to chaffee...politics strange bed fellows

    October 25, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. LouAz

    Is Rhode Island about to secede as we have out here in the United State of Aridzona ? Is this what Caprio calls "Working Together" ?

    October 25, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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