Tags: lee | chafee | obama

Leach, Chafee Cross Party Lines, Back Obama

Wednesday, 13 Aug 2008 11:43 AM

By Jim Meyers

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Two former Republican members of Congress have crossed party lines and launched an effort to gather support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Lincoln Chafee, a former U.S. senator from Rhode Island, and James Leach, a former U.S. representative from Iowa, are joined by Rita Hauser, a leading fundraiser for President Bush, in a group they call Republicans for Obama.

Their reasons for defecting from GOP presidential candidate John McCain range from the war in Iraq to overspending in Washington and indicate displeasure not just with McCain’s candidacy, but with the Republican Party as a whole, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Chafee, who left the GOP and became an independent after he lost his re-election bid in 2006, backed McCain on a number of issues while he was in the Senate. But, he said, it’s now “a different John McCain,” citing the candidate’s flip-flop from previous stances on supporting offshore drilling and the Bush tax cuts.

“Seeing the two different John McCains is a fracture in his credibility,” Chafee told The Journal.

Leach, who served in the House for 30 years before losing his re-election bid in 2006, said: “Thousands of other Republicans are going to be picking country over party in this election.”

Republicans for Obama plans to launch a Web site citing the policy differences between McCain and Obama.

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