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. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Considering the words of Caprio, President Obama shouldn't support him. Go Chafee.

    October 25, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |

    Oops that's cries not crys for crying out loud.

    October 25, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. jencar

    Frank Caprio is a disgrace to the State of RI. This man wants to be Governor! Show some respect.

    October 25, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Meg from Iowa

    I am so appalled that this guy is actually a candidate. It is one thing to disagree with the President's policies but this total lack of respect for the Office is shameful. What an immature little man.

    October 25, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    You'll lose now.

    October 25, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. ingrid

    I have to say I impressed by the lockstep manner in which the Republicans function. Caprio and other democrats are part of the reason that Obama has not been more successful. If democrats functioned like Republicans and walked lockstep, democrats would have had more success in pushing legislation that would have greater democratic support. But because democrats are all over the map, we get watered down legislation that democrats have to endure and that Republicans hate.

    October 25, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. GonzoinHouston

    Quit reading too much into this. Chafee endorsed Obama in '08 when Obama needed it. Obama owes him. He can't come right out and endorse someone running against a fellow Dem, so he's withholding any endorsement. Caprio is just PO'd.

    October 25, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. willie flpyd

    Could that flood have happened when Pres. Obama was dealing with the oil spill?? He caught criticism from the entire contry because he didn't solve that crisis overnight. Just how much can be expected of 1 human being??

    October 25, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. NameMike ORDAZ

    Vote him OUT

    October 25, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. Lynne WA state

    In my book that is not a very professional response! He seems to me to be a big baby not a politician or a professional adult

    October 25, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. truthbeknown

    Caprio raised on silver spoon...drove around in new BMW in high school and looked down on everyone. Got girl from poor section of town pregnant...she left school for a year and no one ever heard or saw child. His daddy (state judge) helped hide the issue.

    October 25, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. andreNYC

    good for obama, caprio is a wall street honcho

    October 25, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. Dave

    Oh whoop de doo......a big fake lib acting like he's going rouge from his party to curry favor with voters. Yes, we kno Obama is unpopular but this dude is ridiculous.

    October 25, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Independent in RI

    IThe snide Caprio ads we've enduring the past couple of months were already swaying me towards a Chafee vote. This story jjust sealed the deal. No Caprio for this RI Independent!

    October 25, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. LauraJ

    Snicker, chortle, gufaw! OK, sorry, finished. I dont know anything about who is the right candidate for Rhode Island, but this is hysterical. I'm a Republican but I hope Captio wins. You gotta like a guy who calls it clearly and Obama was clearly pacying back a debt here, wonder what he owes Chaffee for? Seriously, though, this kind of deal making is a real problem in DC and screws the general electorate.

    October 25, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Squiggs

    If the endorsement is no big deal why is he angry about not getting it. Anyone who says that the way Bush handled New Orleans is better than the way Obama handled some flood in Rhode Island which didn't register nationally is not a true Democrat. Chafee is probably more Democrat leaning than this bozo. At least the people of Rhode Island are intelligent and will know the difference. between the two.

    October 25, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. taboo

    Frankly Mr. Frank, you are an idiot and deserve not to be elected.

    October 25, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Jon

    Judging by the immature "shove it" statement, I would not only NOT endorse you. You certainly wouldn't get my vote. If it didn't bother you that he didn't endorse you, you wouldn't have said that. Grow up, come back in a few years.

    October 25, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Dan in Las Vegas

    The Caprio family is going to be 0-2 this election cycle. His brother, an incumbent in the General Assembly, lost in the primary to an unknown. Besides, Chafee is not a Republican and supported Obama in 2008. Please note that the Republican challenger for governor wasn't even a factor until this "insert foot" moment. Perhaps Caprio should move to Delaware and join forces with O'Donnell.

    October 25, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Enough is Enough

    The utter disrespect this mid-election is disgusting. Whether you agree with Obama or not....like his policies or not...want him back in 2012 or not....it is beyond low to use such volgarity when speaking of the president.

    October 25, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Nick

    This guy is idiotic and does not know to play nice. You win more people with honey than vinegor. I hope you loose.

    October 25, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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