Skip to comments.Lincoln Chafee will speak at Dems' convention as Obama backer
Posted on 08/31/2012 12:12:39 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Gov. Lincoln Chafee will deliver a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention next week, joining other former Republicans in a push to burnish President Obama's bipartisan credentials before the November election.
Chafee will deliver his seven-minute speech Tuesday evening, the first night of the convention in Charlotte, N.C., his office confirmed late Thursday. He'll speak between 8:30 and 9 p.m., shortly before first lady Michelle Obama.
Just eight years ago Chafee was a Republican U.S. senator and thus a VIP at the Republicans' convention; now the independent governor is a co-chair of Democrat Obama's re-election campaign and a featured speaker at the other party's convention.
"President Obama has been a friend to Rhode Island, his policies have brought valuable benefits to the people of our state during historically difficult times, and I am proud to explain to the convention audience why I a former Republican and lots of people like me are supporting the presidents re-election," the governor said in a statement.
"It's a huge honor and the governor is thrilled to do it," Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger told WPRI.com, which first reported earlier this month that the governor would attend the Democrats' gathering.
Most of Rhode Island's top Democrats will be attending the convention as delegates, but it appears the independent governor will be the only state leader honored with a speaking slot. Stephanie Mandeville, the R.I. Democratic Party's executive director, told WPRI.com she hadn't heard about any local Democrats being invited to give an address.
Chafee and Obama formed a bond when they served in the Senate together for two years and have become political allies of a sort since Chafee left the GOP - he endorsed Obama for president in 2008, and Obama stayed neutral rather than endorse Chafee rival Frank Caprio in their hard-fought 2010 gubernatorial battle.
"We go way back," Chafee told WPRI.com in February, recalling when he and the future president used to work out together in the Senate gym.
Chafee will be in North Carolina Tuesday and Wednesday along with George Zainyeh, the veteran Democrat who serves as his chief of staff, and Christian Vareika, his deputy communications director and chief speechwriter. Hunsinger said the governor received the invitation to speak about three weeks ago and has been working on his address.
"I think he'll talk about the importance of collaboration and working across party lines to govern effectively," she said. The governor will return to work in Rhode Island prior to Obama's formally acceptance of his second nomination on Thursday evening.
Chafee won't be the only former Republican playing the same role for Obama that former Democratic U.S. Sen. Zell Miller did for President Bush in 2004. Former Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist, another ex-Republican, has confirmed he'll also be speaking in Charlotte.
Chafee has been attending party conventions for nearly half a century. He went to his first Republican National Convention in 1964, when his father, then-Gov. John Chafee, took him to San Francisco to see Barry Goldwater receive the partys nomination - and watch future nominee Mitt Romney and his father walk out of the gathering to protest its stance on civil rights.
-- Ted Nesi ( email@example.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com
“I am proud to explain to the convention audience why I a former Republican and lots of people like me...”
Will the other three also be there?
Another traitor shilling for Obama. Big wup!
>> Chafee and Obama formed a bond when they served in the Senate together
TMI. What happens in the cloakroom should stay in the cloakroom.
See what happens when the GOP supports a rino? Let a tea partier win and they shun them. Support a rino and he stabs you in the back the first chance he gets. I hope Romney doesn’t turn out to be a “Chaffee”.
This guy was Bush’s favorite Republican- he personally ordered they put more time and money to rescue him in 2006, than any other candidate. Plus, he is Cornyn’s role model for what a GOP Senate candidate should be.
They get Chafee, and we get Artur Davis. I’d say Republicans are ahead on this one.
You haveto wonder what caused this man to lose his sanity.
No sane man could possibly go from being a Republican to supporting Obama. They used to work out together in the gym at the Senate, I wonder if Chafee is straight.
...is really good news...
Another millstone around the neck of the Dims campaign...
Chaffe and Crist, birds of a feather.
Yes, Bush and his pals pushed for Republican Senatorial Committee support for Chafee against an innovative Rep. conservative who was mayor, I believe, of Cranston, Rhode Island and who would have at least made it a race. Chafee returned the favor to the party by losing the Senate race, endorsing Dems, running for governor as an independent and now pushing for Obama’s reelection. Is there any wonder why last night at the convention, there was a wonderful video of Reagan and no mention of Bush, Gerry Ford or the other go along/get alongs, hey the Dems aren’t bad people, they invite me every year to play golf with them types?
The sad fact is, the Romney/Bush GOP hates people like us, and loves Chaffee. Even as it stands today.
I was totally charmed by Davis.
I didn’t like Chafee when he was a ‘Pubbie. I’m glad he’s a Democrat now. It is his natural party.
Chafee is a gay marriage booster. Cicilline is an openly gay congressman.
“Lincoln Chaffee and Charlie Crist on their best day aren’t fit to shine Artur Davis’ shoes. I was totally charmed by Davis.”
Artur Davis’ speech was excellent.
Oh, no, Obama might win Rhode Island now!
RE: Oh, no, Obama might win Rhode Island now!
Yeah, and I’m also worried he might take Hawaii and Washington DC too...
Is it my imagination or are all the “Republicans” supporting Obama and speaking at the DNC have one common characteristic? We have Jon Huntsman, Jr., Charlie Crist, Lincoln Chafee doing so. Aren’t they all charter members of the light in the loafer corps?