Hugo Chavez: 'I'd vote for Obama'
October 1st, 2012
12:57 PM ET
10 years ago

Hugo Chavez: 'I'd vote for Obama'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama received one endorsement he definitely did not ask for Monday: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The leftist leader and strong man, who has used strong anti-United States language in his political rallies and official speeches, told state-owned VTV, "In the point of view of his politics, if I were voting, I would vote for Obama and I believe that if Obama was from Caracas, he would vote for Chavez, I am positive."

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"Obama is a good guy," continued the Venezuelan president, who has led his country since 1999 but is facing his strongest challenge in years.

Chavez became well known for using strong anti-American rhetoric against former President George W. Bush, whom he called a "devil" and also referred to as a drunk.

Things seemed to be changing in 2009, when Chavez and Obama met during the Summit of the Americas. The two leaders shook hands and Chavez presented Obama with the book "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent."

Chavez spoke highly of a newly elected Obama during a rambling speech at the U.N. General Assembly, calling Obama an "intelligent man" and compared him to President John F. Kennedy.

Since then, however, Chavez has largely backed off his kinder approach to the American president, calling Obama a "great disappointment" in an interview with CNN en EspaƱol's Juan Carlos Lopez in 2010.

The issue of Venezuela arose on the campaign trail in July, when the president told a local Miami television station that Chavez has had little impact on the U.S. of late, but the South American country requires continued attention particularly when it comes to Iranian influence.

"We're always concerned about Iran engaging in destabilizing activity around the globe," Obama said. "But overall my sense is that what Mr. Chavez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us.

"We have to be vigilant," he continued. "My main concern when it comes to Venezuela is having the Venezuelan people have a voice in their affairs, and that you end up ultimately having fair and free elections, which we don't always see."

Romney called the comments "stunning and shocking," writing "as president, I will speak clearly and resolutely on the challenges we face so that both our allies and our adversaries will know where we stand."

Latino voters, who are particularly concerned about Chavez's rule of Venezuela, make up a voting bloc seen as crucial this year.

CNN's Marilia Brocchetto and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Also see:

- Getting ready for Wednesday's showdown

- Ann Romney to rally while Obama preps for debate across town

- Obama to hit trail after debate

- Romney hits Obama on foreign policy in weekly podcast

- Obama talks housing market in weekly address

Filed under: 2012 • Hugo Chavez • President Obama
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. BurrStone

    The candidate with Chavez and Putin pulling for him is probably not the candidate you want to elect. If you're an American, anyway.

    October 1, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Yanni

    I am sure the Romney team members are scrambling in their cave thinking how to manipulate this to hold this against Obama. This might be the next talking point idea for next fresh start (recalibrating their campaign). Forget the economy or the foreign police this will be the next big idea for the Republican Party I mean the Hannity and Limbaugh crowd.

    October 1, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Tony

    I AM quite certain that terrorists are part of romney super pac they love republicans in office it make their causes become more ligitimate and they are spending millions to get rethugs in office so that they can recruit more, and have easier time attacking us just like they did in bush first term Obama is too heavy handed for them with those drone attacks.

    October 1, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. ghostriter

    The pastor at Westboro chuch is voting for Romney. The klan is voting for Romney. A long list of undesirables are voting for either guy. What's your point?

    October 1, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. Dave

    If American was paying attention, that would put a nail in the election casket. Are you paying attention?

    October 1, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. scott

    Of course Chavez likes Obama, Dictators and socialist's stick together. Chavez and Obama two peas in a pod.

    October 1, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. patNY

    And in other news if he were alive today, Hitler said he would vote for Romney!

    October 1, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. Penobscot

    An anti-American voting for an anti-American.

    October 1, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Gerald

    Gee, Chavez pulling for Obama. That should tell you who not to vote for.

    October 1, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Gerald

    This should tell you who not to vote for.

    October 1, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. dubrats

    OMG...there's a huge reason NOT to vote for obama and his thugs in suits....

    October 1, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. dubrats

    if i were a dem...i would be looking for the nearest hole to crawl embarressing....and very telling too.

    October 1, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. Samantha

    Chavez + Puttin + Muslim Brotherhood? This is it! This just finally made my decision to vote for Romney instead of Obama. This includes my 5 votes from family from Washington state goes to Romney.

    October 1, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. lnd72

    I'm sure other world leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Vladimir Putin would vote for President Obama as well. They are just smart enough not to mention it.

    October 1, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. snowdogg


    I am sure the Romney team members are scrambling in their cave thinking how to manipulate this to hold this against Obama

    You nailed it!

    October 1, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. rosie

    You may vote for Obama but I would NOT vote for you , Hugo.

    October 1, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. AP

    Yeah let an opinion from an outside sitting president influence your vote into who not to vote for. Awesome guys.

    October 1, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. nemo

    Eeeek – Keep that crazy lunatic Chavez away! Chavez – You are one person whose endorsmenet NO ONE wants!

    October 1, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Stu Nahan

    Amnesty for all illegal aliens, and a gun ban

    October 1, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. Republican Class Warfare

    I respect Chavez more than Ted Nugent or Donald Trump, and I don't think this will have any effect on anybody's vote.

    October 1, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. denver2

    Romney's campaign: "Obama is the candidate that Hugo Chavez- THE SOCIALIST!!- would vote for."

    Obama's campaign: "Romney should probably spend more time worry about what Americans think."

    October 1, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    This shouldn't surprise anyone.

    October 1, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Jimmie

    I wouldn't be surprised if Hugo actually voted in the upcoming election. Obama is a corrupt liar who will stop at nothing to destroy America and turn it into a solialist disaster just like his good buddy Hugo's country.

    October 1, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Highlighting some differences.

    You could say that Obama "nationalized" the auto companies in this country, and you could say that since Chavez campaigns as a socialist then he must be a socialist. But then again, Obama has never said that GM BELONGS to the american people, and furthermore, certainly not every person who has run under the term "socialist" is a socialist. Much the same as North Korea's official title is "the Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Chavez is a communist, and believes that private enterprise should not exist. Chavez believes that Venezuelan oil belongs to the Venezuelan government, so he nationalized the oil companies that held offices there, liquidating those companies and commandeering their profits and property. He also took the money made from that oil and bought weapons from Iran, all with a goal to create a "Venezuelan Empire of South America". When people in his country started to get upset about his policies, he nationalized the media and created a secret police force to suppress political opponents. He also lowered educational standards and cut educational funding so that people in Venezuela would have less of a knowledge of the political machinations in their country.

    So, seeing that we still have the anti-Obama Fox news, a General Motors Corporation that now turns a profit and a president who has goals to cut defense spending to expand education, it doesn't seem very plausible that Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez are one in the same.

    I'm 19, white, male, and from Maryland.

    October 1, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. MikeB

    Oh duh... Hugo knows that Obama is an empty suite.

    October 1, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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