Home #DemDebate: Why is Lincoln Chafee even here, again?

#DemDebate: Why is Lincoln Chafee even here, again?


chafeeLincoln Chafee barely had a moment, getting just 9:11 in speaking time in Tuesday’s CNN Democratic Party presidential debate to spit out whatever it is that he’s campaigning on.

Unfortunately for the former Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator, he had two moments that would have gotten him gonged if the debate were a ‘70s game show.

The first came when moderator Anderson Cooper pressed Chafee on his changing political allegiances – his evolution as a public official taking him from getting elected to the Senate as a Republican, then elected governor as an independent, before deciding to run for president as a Democrat.

Trying to label himself “a block of granite” on the issues, Cooper retorted that Chafee’s record “seems like pretty soft granite.”

So why change labels, Cooper asked?

“The party left me,” Chafee answered, the “party” being “Republican Party.” Which still doesn’t answer why he would decide to run for president as a Democrat, just because the Republican Party left him.

Later in the debate, Cooper raised issue with Chafee’s criticism of Hillary Clinton as being too close to Wall Street given his own vote in the Senate in 1999 to repeal Glass-Steagall, a Depression-era law that banned commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities.

“The Glass-Steagall was my very first vote, I’d just arrived, my dad had died in office, I was appointed to the office, it was my very first vote,” Chafee answered, leading Cooper to respond, “Are you saying you didn’t know what you were voting for?”

“I’d just arrived at the Senate,” Chafee said. “I think we’d get some takeovers, and that was one. It was my very first vote, and it was 92-5.”

“What does that say about you that you’re casting a vote for something you weren’t really sure about?” Cooper asked.

“I think you’re being a little rough,” Chafee said. “I’d just arrived at the United States Senate. I’d been mayor of my city. My dad had died. I’d been appointed by the governor. It was the first vote and it was 90-5, because it was a conference report.”

This guy is running for president? Seriously?

– Story by Chris Graham



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