On Sunday, the White House reported that President Obama would not be endorsing Frank Caprio, Democratic candidate for governor during his visit to Rhode Island to do a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. On an interview with WPRO Radio on Monday, Caprio made the comment that President Obama can “take his endorsement and really shove it.”
Obama made the decision to remain neutral in the tight three-way-race for governor due to his friendship with Republican-turned-Independent candidate Lincoln Chafee, now running against Caprio. Chafee was a strong supporter in the Republicans for Obama’s campaign during his run for president in 2008, during which Caprio was in support of Hillary Clinton. It appears as though Chafee’s support for then-presidential candidate Obama is now being paid back in Caprio’s public snubbing by the President.
Caprio appeared on the Today Show Tuesday morning where he further clarified his remark and stood by his comment and was unapologetic. Caprio made it clear that his only concern is for the people Rhode Island and that he represents a different kind of Democrat.
“I stand by my comments. The White House wanted to play politics instead of coming in to Rhode Island and caring about what’s going on in the households across Rhode Island,” he said. Caprio also expressed his views of the President’s visit to Rhode Island as a ploy to get money from the citizens of Rhode island. “Now he’s coming into Rhode Island treating us like an ATM machine,” he said. Caprio also said that he would welcome the support of President Obama if he changes his mind and that he would have no problem working with Obama should he be elected.
Obama visited factories while in Rhode Island where he continued to drill the message that Republicans created the financial crisis and he was very vocal about his fight to help and support small businesses, referencing tax breaks and other benefits to small businesses.
These political school yard fights are becoming the norm as candidates all over the country exchange sharp blows in efforts to discredit each other, gain the upper hand, and create guilt by association. The president has a 56 percent approval rating in Rhode Island. With seven days to go before voters head to the voting booth, it will be very interesting to see if Caprio’s remarks have alienated supporters of the president who may have otherwise given Caprio their vote, or if this latest war of words will be what Caprio needs to surge to the top.
The fundraiser that President Obama was in Rhode Island for was also held at the home of a Chafee supporter. The White House has not released a statement in response to the comments made by Caprio.
Tom Mooney & John E. Mulligan, “Obama visit: a day of politics, money and protests” projo.com
Jonathan Allen, “Obama snubs Rhode Island Democrat at fundraiser” politico.com
Jin Newell, “Democrat Tells Obama to ‘Shove It’ After Endorsement Snub”
TODAY staff and wire, “R.I. Dem stands by ‘shove it’ remark to Obama ” today.msnbc.msn.com