Opinion: Rhode Island Democratic candidate tells Obama he can ‘take his endorsement and really shove it’


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In 1977, Johnny Paycheck had a No. 1 hit with the David Allen Coe-penned ‘Take This Job and Shove It.’

Thirty-three years later, Frank Caprio, the Democratic nominee for Rhode Island governor, is echoing the sentiments by telling President Obama via WPRO-AM Monday that he can ‘take his endorsement and really shove it.’


What endorsement would that be? The president hasn’t endorsed Caprio, the Rhode Island treasurer, and according to a White House spokesman, Obama won’t be backing anyone in the close race.

‘He will not be making an endorsement in the race,’ White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki told reporters on a conference call Sunday.

The non-endorsement is actually an endorsement for Caprio’s toughest challenger, former Republican senator (and now Independent) Lincoln Chafee, who backed Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign at a time when Obama was losing to Hillary Clinton in the polls.

In 2002, when Chafee was a Republican and a senator, he was the only member of the GOP to vote against the authorization of military force in Iraq. Not even Sen. Clinton voted against the move, something that chaffed Chafee’s hide, inspiring him in 2008 to call Clinton one of the ‘Democratic Bush enablers.’’

‘They argue that the president duped them into war, but getting duped does not exactly recommend their leadership,’ Chafee said in his 2008 book ‘Against The Tide: How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President.’ ‘Helping a rogue president start an unnecessary war should be a career-ending lapse of judgment, in my view,’ Chafee wrote. ‘Being wrong about sending Americans to kill and be killed, maim and be maimed, is not like making a punctuation mistake in a highway bill.’

Chafee endorsed Obama in 2008 for president despite the fact that Sen. John McCain endorsed Chafee in his failed bid for reelection in 2006. ‘I’m sure Senator McCain will understand,’ he said.


Caprio didn’t seem to understand. Monday, Caprio was so upset he told John Depreto of WPRO that Obama reacted worse during a recent Rhode Island flood than George W. Bush did after Hurricane Katrina. ‘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 fly-over of Rhode Island,’ Caprio complained.

‘He ignored us and now he’s coming into Rhode Island and treating us like an ATM machine,’ the candidate said, referring to the two Democratic fundraisers Monday (a $500-per-person rally followed by a $7,500-per-plate dinner) to fill the coffers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Providence.

All eyes will be on Caprio, as he is scheduled to appear on the same bill as Obama at two events Monday.

-- Tony Pierce

Top photo: Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio, left, appears at a debate in Providence, R.I. Credit: Stew Milne / Associated Press