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Former R.I. Sen. Chafee Endorses Obama

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain may have tried to help his GOP colleague, former Rhode Island senator Lincoln Chafee, keep his seat in 2006, but today Chafee said the Arizona senator would understand that he's chosen to back Illinois Democrat Barack Obama instead because of Obama's 2002 opposition to the Iraq war.

"That's the way the system works," said Chafee in a conference call arranged by the Obama campaign. Obama, for his part, had campaigned on behalf of Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, who unseated Chafee, in 2006, and Whitehouse has since endorsed Obama competitor New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Chafee, who was the lone Republican to vote against the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq and who has remained a vocal critic of his Senate colleagues who supported it, said, "I'm going to the March 4th Democratic primary and I'm voting for Senator Obama."

"Ultimately the war vote is what's really important for me."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 14, 2008; 12:14 PM ET
 
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Comments

First of all, the historical record would indicate that Latino voters do in fact support black candidates, even when those black candidates are running against Latinos. Now, when asked in one of the debates about her pollster's assertion, Hillary did not repudiate this point of view. Rather, she stated that the pollster asserted a historical fact. Not only was the pollster's statement at variance with the facts, which makes both he and Hillary liars, in supporting and rationalizing this statement Hillary was trying to play a divide and conquer game and trying to unearth the worst instincts of the Latino voter. This is not an isolated episode. The Clintons have universally been acknowledged as playing white against black, Latino against black, Asian against black, women against men, etc. Recently the governor of PA, who is a Hillary supporter, asserted that many whites in his state will not vote for a black candidate. Did Hillary repudiate this or distance herself? Nope.

Posted by: mcgish | February 15, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/01/21/080121fa_fact_lizza?printable=true
"When I asked Bendixen about the source of Clinton's strength in the Hispanic community, he mentioned her support for health care, and Hispanic voters' affinity for the Clinton era. "It's one group where going back to the past really works," he said. "All you need to say in focus groups is 'Let's go back to the nineties.' " But he was also frank about the fact that the Clintons, long beloved in the black community, are now dependent on a less edifying political dynamic: "The Hispanic voter--and I want to say this very carefully--has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates." "

So at the end of a ridiculous hit piece, an openly Obama-supporting columnist manages to, with obviously repeated questioning specifically about hispanic anti-black sentiment, elicit this entirely accurate and non-judgmental observation
"The Hispanic voter--and I want to say this very carefully--has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates."
about past performances, and you characterize that as dirty politics:
"Hillary's pollster said that Latinos wouldn't vote for a black candidate."

...and throw in this:
" ... she actually agreed with him."
which has no basis whatsoever in anything she actually said.

1. This is fairly typical of the allegations ranted against Sen Clinton in the comments here
and
2. Gee whiz, you must think your candidate's got a glass jaw if you consider this significant.

Please, get better slanders.

Posted by: zukermand | February 15, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I'll name one:

Hillary's pollster said that Latinos wouldn't vote for a black candidate. Not only did Hillary not fire this clown, she actually agreed with him.

That's just one. There are dozens of others.

Posted by: mcgish | February 14, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

For most of the US this story doesn't matter, but for native Rhode Islanders (like myself) this endorsement is noteworthy.

Linc's father, the late Senator John Chaffee, was very well respected in RI as a moderate voice in the Senate. Linc was mayor of one of RI's cities when his father passed away and was named to replace him.

As a Senator, he carried on his father's legacy of moderate politics and demonstrated a willingness to compromise and work with Democrats. This trait is sadly lacking among his former Republican Senate Colleagues.

The only reason Linc Chaffee lost his Senate seat is that he carried the "R" next to his name, enabling a Republican majority leader. He is still respected by most Rhode Islanders and his endorsement of Obama will give people another reason to reconsider Clinton vs. Obama.

Lost in all the talk of Texas and Ohio is that Vermont and RI vote on March 4th too. We're nowhere near as big, but our votes (and delegates) matter too. This endorsement can only help Obama. And for that I say, thanks Linc. Thank you for voting your conscience.

Posted by: cmfalter | February 14, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Well done Lincoln Chafee!

btw - could someone at the Washington Post please delete all the totally irrelevant comments? Leaving them up only encourages more of the same, and makes it hard for those of us interested int he actual topic to find what we're looking for.

Posted by: TomJx | February 14, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Name one.

Posted by: zukermand | February 14, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say they were racist. Frankly, I don't know and neither do you. I'm talking about campaign tactics and the levels to which they will stoop to win an election.

Posted by: mcgish | February 14, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"she, her husband and her campaign enbarked on a campaign of racialism, race-baiting and stoking black/latino enmity and trying to stigmatize Obama as the "black candidate." "

===============

I do wish you people would quit with this sort of talk. You know as well as I do the Clintons aren't racist and they don't play racist politics. While it may seem productive for you to try to mislead the rubes, it's very short sighted and ultimately self defeating.

Posted by: zukermand | February 14, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

90% of black people also voted for Bill Clinton. I'm sure 90% of black people voted for Jimmy Carter. I'm sure 90% of black people voted for Hillary in her senatorial runs.

What's your point? Is it not possible for black people to vote strictly on the issues in support of Obama? Or to vote their best interest? Hillary had the plurality of the black vote, then she, her husband and her campaign enbarked on a campaign of racialism, race-baiting and stoking black/latino enmity and trying to stigmatize Obama as the "black candidate." You don't think that black voters would respond to these slights at the ballot box?

Posted by: mcgish | February 14, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama's friend
Jeremiah Wright and Farrakahn rule America

Obama's pastor disses Natalee Holloway

'White girl goes off and gives it up' in Aruba, preacher pal says


'White girl goes off and gives it up' in Aruba, preacher pal say

GOD HELP US

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I must say, Ms Ruta's post does raise a question for me:
What are the criteria for determining an endorsement newsworthy? Which endorsements are reported in stand alone articles, replete with rationale for their import and potential impact, and which merely mentioned in passing?

You see, on Tuesday, John Glenn, one of the most famous and respected political figures in the country, let alone his particular influence in Ohio, the site of an extraordinarily important upcoming primary, endorsed Sen Clinton. This event has been mentioned exactly ZERO times in the Washington Post.

I understand how subjective these things can be, but I am genuinely curious about the relative merits of these two endorsements vis-a-vis the Post's decision to report one and not the other. Any thoughts (other than "Obama Rules Hillary Drools", I mean)?

Posted by: zukermand | February 14, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

90% black people vote for Osama bin Obama, because he is Black.

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

O.K., Schmedley, if Obama is assassinated, will there be riots?

Posted by: JakeD | February 14, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

If you vote for Clinton, you are "RACIST"
If you don't like Obama, you are "RACIST"
If you criticze Obama, you are "RACIST"

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

ermias.kifle wrote (and that's being generous):

"I could not be Racist, but blacks will Riots when OSAMA bin Obama lose.

Osma bin Obama said it, this is "our Time"...."


Isn't it a little early in the day to be this drunk?

Posted by: ablackstormy | February 14, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Mr Wright and Farrakhan will tell black people to RIOT.

White people should vote for OSAMA bin Obama to avoid trouble!

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

JakeD says: "There were, indeed, riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr....Would an Obama loss (especially if it seems as if Hillary "stole" the election through super-delegates, Florida/Michigan. etc.) rise to the same level?"

The short answer is, "No."

Now for the fine print:
MLK assassination, Rodney King verdict, Tulsa race riots, NYC draft riots, etc., are all race riots, some initiated by whites, some by blacks. None of them were motivated by political events such as a presidential nomination. People playing the race card tend to conflate issues in hopes of obscuring the facts while advancing their agenda.

In other words, people playing the race card usually aren't playing with a full deck.

Posted by: Schmedley | February 14, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I could not be Racist, but blacks will Riots when OSAMA bin Obama

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

P.S. to Schmedley:

I have you down as a "No" to the riot question, for now?

Posted by: JakeD | February 14, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

O.K., so that's two votes so far for "riots" -- anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | February 14, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Jeremiah Wright and Farrakahn rule America

Obama's pastor disses Natalee Holloway

'White girl goes off and gives it up' in Aruba, preacher pal says


'White girl goes off and gives it up' in Aruba, preacher pal says


Posted: January 27, 2008
6:49 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily.com


Sen. Barack Obama's longtime friend and spiritual adviser trashed the memory of a missing and presumed dead American teenage girl, according to church publications reviewed by WND.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the controversial minister of Obama's church in Chicago, cited the case of Natalee Holloway's disappearance in Aruba in complaining about what he sees as the media's bias in covering white victims of crime over black victims.

"Black women are being raped daily in Darfur, Sudan, in the Congo and in Sub-Saharan Africa. That doesn't make news," Wright said in the August 2005 edition of Trumpet Magazine, a publication of his Trinity United Church of Christ.

But, "One 18-year-old white girl from Alabama gets drunk on a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and 'gives it up' while in a foreign country, and that stays in the news for months!" he added. "Maybe I am missing something!"

In the same 2005 church publication, Wright suggested "white America" had the 9/11 attacks coming, while calling for business "divestment from Israel," which he refers to as a "racist" state along with America.

"In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01," he wrote on page 7. "White America and the Western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just 'disappeared,' as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns."

Obama says he is "proud" of Wright and values their 20-year friendship.

Though Wright has nurtured Obama's political career as a close adviser and mentor, the Democrat presidential hopeful says they don't agree on everything. Wright married Obama and baptized his daughters.

In the November/December 2007 issue of Trumpet, Wright sang the praises of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has described whites as "blue-eyed devils" and Jews as "bloodsuckers."

"He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest," Wright said. "Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African-American religious experience."

Wright then held Farrakhan up as a pillar of "integrity."

"His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation's most powerful critics," he continued. "His love for Africa and African-American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose."

Farrakhan's photo is splashed across the cover of the church magazine, which gushes "the Minister truly epitomized greatness."

On Nov. 2, 2007, Wright presented Farrakhan with a "lifetime achievement" award during a Trumpet gala held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The tribute included a three-and-a-half minute video lionizing "the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan."

"For his commitment to truth, education and leadership, we honor Minister Louis Farrakhan with the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award," the video announces.

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

If Obama should get the most votes from the people in the 50 states, and if the Superdelegates should try to swing the election to Hillary, THEN there will be riots, and not only from the Blacks!!!
Also the Dems would lose in November.

Posted by: dunnhaupt | February 14, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Obama's pastor disses Natalee Holloway

'White girl goes off and gives it up' in Aruba, preacher pal says


'White girl goes off and gives it up' in Aruba, preacher pal says


Posted: January 27, 2008
6:49 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily.com


Sen. Barack Obama's longtime friend and spiritual adviser trashed the memory of a missing and presumed dead American teenage girl, according to church publications reviewed by WND.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the controversial minister of Obama's church in Chicago, cited the case of Natalee Holloway's disappearance in Aruba in complaining about what he sees as the media's bias in covering white victims of crime over black victims.

"Black women are being raped daily in Darfur, Sudan, in the Congo and in Sub-Saharan Africa. That doesn't make news," Wright said in the August 2005 edition of Trumpet Magazine, a publication of his Trinity United Church of Christ.

But, "One 18-year-old white girl from Alabama gets drunk on a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and 'gives it up' while in a foreign country, and that stays in the news for months!" he added. "Maybe I am missing something!"

In the same 2005 church publication, Wright suggested "white America" had the 9/11 attacks coming, while calling for business "divestment from Israel," which he refers to as a "racist" state along with America.

"In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01," he wrote on page 7. "White America and the Western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just 'disappeared,' as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns."

Obama says he is "proud" of Wright and values their 20-year friendship.

Though Wright has nurtured Obama's political career as a close adviser and mentor, the Democrat presidential hopeful says they don't agree on everything. Wright married Obama and baptized his daughters.

In the November/December 2007 issue of Trumpet, Wright sang the praises of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has described whites as "blue-eyed devils" and Jews as "bloodsuckers."

"He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest," Wright said. "Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African-American religious experience."

Wright then held Farrakhan up as a pillar of "integrity."

"His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation's most powerful critics," he continued. "His love for Africa and African-American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose."

Farrakhan's photo is splashed across the cover of the church magazine, which gushes "the Minister truly epitomized greatness."

On Nov. 2, 2007, Wright presented Farrakhan with a "lifetime achievement" award during a Trumpet gala held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The tribute included a three-and-a-half minute video lionizing "the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan."

"For his commitment to truth, education and leadership, we honor Minister Louis Farrakhan with the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award," the video announces.

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Glad you got your name in print again, Chafee. Hop in line behind Kennedy and Kerry - another northeast state for Clinton! Too bad no one cares about RI.

Clinton '08

Substance over rhetoric!

Posted by: Susan9 | February 14, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney can do the math ; )

Posted by: JakeD | February 14, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Mittens endorses "Bombs Away" McCain. Guess John promised him green cards for his lawn crew.

Posted by: NoMugwump | February 14, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

There were, indeed, riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. across numerous American cities, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots came after a white jury acquitted four police officers accused in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King when he resisted arrest following a high-speed car chase. Would an Obama loss (especially if it seems as if Hillary "stole" the election through super-delegates, Florida/Michigan. etc.) rise to the same level?

Posted by: JakeD | February 14, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Chaffee is an honorary member?
When Obama first undertook his organizinging work in Chicago's South Side poor neighborhoods, he was un-churched. Yet his office was in a Church and most of the folks he needed to agitate and organize were Church people -- pastors and congregants -- who took their churches and their church-going very seriously. Again and again, he was asked by pastors and church ladies, "Where do you go to Church, young man?" It was a question he dodged for a while, but finally he relented and joined a church.

Obama didn't join just any church, but a huge black nationalist church, the Trinity United Church of Christ (UCC). Its pastor, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, unabashedly preaches a "black" gospel.
The Obamas were married by Rev. Wright and still attend.

Trinity describes itself as a "congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian. Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization."

"Trinity has a non-negotiable commitment to Africa, is committed to the historical education of African people in diaspora and committed to liberation, restoration, and economic parity."

Trinity United Church of Christ adopted the Black Value System written by the Manford Byrd Recognition Committee chaired by Vallmer Jordan in 1981. They believe in the following 12 precepts and covenantal statements. These Black Ethics must be taught and exemplified in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever Blacks are gathered. They must reflect on the following concepts:

1. Commitment to God
2. Commitment to the Black Community
3. Commitment to the Black Family
4. Dedication to the Pursuit of Education
5. Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence
6. Adherence to the Black Work Ethic
7. Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect
8. Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"
9. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the Black Community
10. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions
11. Pledge allegiance to all Black leadership who espouse and embrace the Black Value System
12. Personal commitment to embracement of the Black Value System.

Listen to Rev. wright Sermon!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfNEfEBYIZs

Posted by: rmcnicoll | February 14, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Lincoln Chaffee is such a wimp I am amazed he was ever elected to anything.

It's the media who drives the idea of blacks being angry if Obama does not get the nomination. I am certain, that the entire community of Democrats will support the nominee of the DEmocratic Party. We have all waited seven long years and we would be foolish to not be united.

I heard a "christian leader" commentator on CNN say that the country has a yearning to "right the wrongs of slavery by nominating Obama".

I heard Rachel Maddow on left wingnut radio say "if Obama was denied the nomination there would be "fires" in the streets.

These are race baiting, dangerous comments to make. It is insulting to the black community, Obama supporters, and the nation as a whole.

It is a blatant attempt to try to minimize a victory for Hillary Clinton, and to try to damage her candidacy.

I support Hillary Clinton for President, because I believe she's the most qualified, most experienced, most electable candidate in the race. She's polling well in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

As Ohio goes, so goes the nation. No one can win the Presidency without winning in Ohio. Right now, Hillary beats Obama by more than twenty points in Ohio, she also polls well in Ohio against McCain, while Obama does not. It's simple, Hillary is the strongest candidate who can win big in the big states that are must wins for the DEms in November.

Posted by: TAH1 | February 14, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Is it more "acceptable" to ask whether African-Americans will riot if Obama loses?

Posted by: JakeD | February 14, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

ermias.kifle wrote, "Obama will lose and Blacks will 'Riot'."

Like they did when Sharpton lost? When Jackson lost? When Chisolm lost?

Oh.

Yeah.

Right.

Posted by: Schmedley | February 14, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I would watch what you say ermias.kifle. We don't need bigotted comments like yours at this point in history. If you've got nothing constructive to say then go waste your time making such statements elsewhere

Posted by: reda311 | February 14, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama will lose and Blacks will "Riot"

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 14, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Another very good endorsement just came in!

From their website at Democracyfortexas.org :
DFT Supporters Endorse Obama

We asked, you answered. Loud and clear. The winner of our presidential poll is Senator Barack Obama, with 73.2% of the 2,760 votes cast.

As much as the margin of victory, we were impressed by the passion of Obama voters and their excitement about the future. In a world where cynicism about politics has become the norm, it is refreshing to see optimism, hope, and the belief that each of us can make a difference. Or, to paraphrase Senator Obama's comments last week: "We are the ones we've been waiting for."

It's a particular joy to watch the young people who are engaged in this campaign, many of whom cut their political teeth in Howard Dean's campaign. They're not just talking, they're assuming a leadership role. We couldn't be prouder.

But it's not just young people. One slightly older Obama supporter told us:

"I'm a 73-year-old Yellow Dog Democrat and this is the first time I have been truly excited with a candidate for president since 1960."
We understand. We're "fired up and ready to go" ourselves, and looking forward to working with everyone - regardless of your preference in the poll - to elect a Democrat in November.


Posted by: markkraft | February 14, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Hillary and McCain have one big thing in common: Both are poorly-served as Iraq comes back as an issue. Chafee's endorsement does two things: It raises the profile of Iraq as an issue and it reinforces the perception that Obama can attract disaffected Republican votes that Clinton cannot. On the Richter scale the Chafee endorsment ain't an "8", but it is yet another cup of gasoline poured on the fire.

Posted by: Stonecreek | February 14, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

This helps quite a bit as Obama tries to one-up Hillary in who can get the most GOP crossover votes in November. Chafee is a big name for the moderates.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl | February 14, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Not a huge surprise here. Chafee remained a Republican while in the Senate to honor his late father, but he was one of the few remaining liberal Republicans left in Congress (Rep. Shays of CT, and Sens. Arlen Spector of PA and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of ME are others who come to mind). After Chafee lost to Whitehouse, he left the Republican party and became an independent.

Posted by: ericp331 | February 14, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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