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Lincoln Chafee Weighs Challenge to Hillary for Nomination

Image: Lincoln Chafee Weighs Challenge to Hillary for Nomination
Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee, D-R.I. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 10 Apr 2015 09:24 AM

Lincoln Chafee on Thursday surprised the political establishment by announcing that he has formed an exploratory committee to seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

The announcement came just days before presumed frontrunner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is expected to launch her campaign.

"The 2016 election is an important one for the Democratic Party and for America. Campaigns are the time for debates about the vision for our future and for voters to assess the character and experience of those offering ideas," Chafee said in an announcement video posted on his campaign website.

The Rhode Island Democrat is already taking aim at Clinton in the foreign policy arena, saying her decision to vote in favor of the Iraq War should disqualify her from receiving the Democratic nomination.

"One of the motivators for me to run is, I just don't think the United States president should have voted for that huge mistake," Chafee told the National Journal.

"And I definitely don't think the Democratic Party nominee should have made that huge mistake."

In an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday, he made broader comments focused on America's standing in the world, saying he's "very concerned about where we're going internationally, and that affects our economy and obviously our security… the international issues and also where we're going domestically, growing the middle class."

During his time in the Senate, a Republican at the time, Chafee was one of 23 senators who voted against the Iraq War and the only member of his party to do so.

Chafee served as senator for Rhode Island from 1999 until 2007, and as governor of the state from 2011 until earlier this year when he decided not to run for re-election amid poor approval ratings.

"I've had 12 elections, and I've won 10 of them," he told the Journal. "I know what it takes to win an election."

According to the Journal, Chafee has planned visits to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina where he hopes to make inroads among those who may not have already decided that Clinton is their candidate.

"I understand, having been in politics all these years, that when somebody's 100 percent committed, there's not much you can say. If they're 99.9, I've got a shot. But I understand. Sometimes people are 100 percent committed, and I respect that," he said, according to the Journal.

"If there's a 1 percent chance that they are open to my candidacy, I look forward to making my case."

Others reportedly considering a bid to be the Democratic nominee for the White House include former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"I believe I will be the only candidate that will have served as a mayor of a city, as governor of a state, and as United States senator. That's a good resume," he said, according to the Journal. "I don't see any problem of translating that experience to all the other 49 states. There are potholes and barking dogs in every community! Better schools: that's what people care about. Local issues."

The Washington Post has suggested that his bid may be just be a gambit to sell his book, "Against the Tide," advertisements for which are prominent on his campaign website. 

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Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Thursday surprised the political establishment by announcing that he has formed an exploratory committee to seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
Lincoln Chafee, rhode island, hillary clinton, democrats, 2016
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2015-24-10
Friday, 10 Apr 2015 09:24 AM
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