This week it was revealed that President Obama would not endorse Rhode Island's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, instead opting to pay back the race's Independent candidate (and former GOP Senator) Lincoln Chafee for endorsing Obama in 2008. Now Chafee has given some insight into his 2-year-old decision: He blames McCain for sinking his Senate re-election bid.
In an interview with WPRO radio, reported by The Hill, the anti-Iraq War Chafee recounted how when McCain campaigned for him in 2006, he spoke about "more troops needed in Iraq." Equally frustrating for Chafee, at an event with a group of environmentalists, McCain called for more nuclear energy.
"You talk about cold, calculating political opportunism — that's the way I felt at the time,'' he told WPRO Radio. "At the time, it certainly wasn't helpful ... Those words were used against me.''
"This was when my whole campaign was based in opposition to the war in Iraq and my opponent, Sheldon Whitehouse, used those comments against me in a debate: 'Linc Chafee, you stood shoulder to shoulder with John McCain [while] he called for more troops in Iraq,'" he said.
"I could see [me] losing those environmental votes in front of my eyes, and I said to myself ... John McCain's coming here for John McCain 2008 presidential campaign."
On Monday, the White House admitted that Obama would not endorse Chafee's Democratic opponent Frank Caprio out of "respect" for Chafee.
That decision led to Caprio telling Obama he can take his endorsement and "shove it." Caprio is currently polling ahead of Chafee by about 2 points.