R.I. Gubernatorial Candidate Tells Obama to 'Shove It'

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President Obama traveled to Rhode Island Monday, yet another blue state where he tried to buck up Democrats. But the president didn't endorse a candidate in the governor's race because he's friends with Lincoln Chafee, who's running as an independent. Democratic candidate Frank Caprio said Obama can "take his endorsement and really shove it."


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Mary Louise Kelly. Good morning.

President Obama campaigned in Rhode Island last night. But as NPR's Mara Liasson reports, not all Democrats were happy with his visit.

MARA LIASSON: The president's trip to Rhode Island is just the latest in dozens of stops he's had to make in blue states that Democrat should be able to take for granted.

At a fundraiser he told his supporters not to lose heart just because the change they wanted has turned out to be a slow-grinding business. And he said, we have to finish what we started in 2008.

President BARACK OBAMA: I've got to have you come out in droves and vote in this election. You've got to come out and vote.

LIASSON: But the president left some Democrats in the state less than enthused. In particular, the Democratic candidate for Governor, Frank Caprio. Caprio was hopping mad because President Obama decided not to endorse him. Mr. Obama, it turns out, has a longtime friendship with the independent candidate in the race, Lincoln Chafee, who back in 2008 when he was a Republican crossed party lines to endorse Mr. Obama over John McCain. Caprio, however, was unimpressed by this act of loyalty and said so yesterday morning on radio station WPRO.

Governor FRANK CAPRIO (Democrat, Rhode Island): He can take his endorsement and really shove it as far as I'm concerned.

LIASSON: Caprio didn't stop there.

Gov. CAPRIO: 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, like President Bush did when New Orleans had their problems. He ignored us. And now he's coming into Rhode Island treating us like an ATM machine.

LIASSON: Even in the heavily Democratic state of Rhode Island, griping about the president seems to be an acceptable campaign strategy this year. As for the president's friend Lincoln Chafee, it turns out he didn't want Mr. Obama's endorsement either. We're independent, explained a Chafee�spokesman.�

Mara Liasson, NPR News, Washington.

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