Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio
yesterday when he told Barack Obama to "shove it" for refusing him during a visit to the Ocean State Monday. A White House cited the president's close relationship
with independent candidate Lincoln Chafee, who served with Obama in the Senate and endorsed his candidacy in 2008, as the reason for the non-endorsement. And while it was hardly the first in-house rift
Obama and his fellow Democrats this election season, a handful of voices argued it might be the most damaging.
- Politics as Usual The
New York Times' Sheryl
Gay Stolberg says that for liberals who have observed the Obama
administration with mounting dismay, the non-endorsement was another
remind that this president is bound by the same political realities of
his predecessors. "More than a political sideshow, the Rhode Island
intra-party spat was a stark reminder that the president is willing to
go to great lengths to keep his party in power on Capitol Hill – even if
it means stepping into a hornet’s nest of local politics and getting
- Provocative The timing of the appearance--just
eight days before election day--sent the wrong message to Democrats,
argues The Wall Street Journal's William
McGurn. That Mr. Obama would decide to stay on the sidelines here
is not surprising, given Mr. Chafee's past support," concedes McGurn.
"What is surprising, though, is that the White House would choose to
embarrass a Democratic candidate in such a high-profile way, traveling
to Mr. Caprio's home eight days before a close election."
Response National Journal's Matthew
Cooper blames the Obama press shop for letting the story take on
new life. Because of the White House's inartful handling of the entire
Rhode Island visit, the president returns home with "a mini-oil spill on
his hands." These types of political skirmishes are not unprecedented.
How, Cooper wonders rhetorically, "the White House let one little event
become a two-day story?"
- Desperate With Democrats around the
country fighting for their political lives, there was no reason for
Obama to even be in Rhode Island, contends The Guardian's Michael
Tomasky. "It's kind of pathetic," he writes, "the equivalent of
Bush in his last two years going to Oklahoma and Idaho and Utah, about
the only places he was above 50% toward the end. Things aren't remotely
that bad for Obama, but by doing this, he's feeding the impression that
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