Governor Lincoln Chafee, a reformed Republican-turned-independent, will be a speaker at this year’s Democratic Nation Convention. He’s scheduled to address the Democrats Tuesday night in prime time, the opening night of the convention. He’ll preceeed First Lady Michelle Obama.
“I am honored to be attending the 2012 Democratic National Convention,” Chafee said in an prepared statement. “President Obama has been a friend to Rhode Island, his policies have brought valuable benefits to the people of our state during historically difficult times, and I am proud to explain to the convention audience why I – a former Republican – and lots of people like me are supporting the President’s re-election.”
Chafee has been friendly with President Obama since the two served in the U.S. Senate together. While Obama didn’t endorse Chafee for governor, he also didn’t endorse Democrat Frank Caprio. Caprio then told Obama to “shove it,” on talk radio – a campaign blunder that ultimately helped Chafee prevail in the three-way race.
Christian Vereika, a spokesman for the governor, said Chafee is speaking to support the president, but not necessarily the Democratic party. He said Chafee’s speech or his attendance at the convention, does not mean the governor is considering joining the Democratic party.
“Difficult as it is, I think he is happy where he is,” Vereika said.
WPRI reports Chafee was invited about three weeks ago and has been crafting a seven-minute speech in the meantime.
Inviting Chafee to speak seems to be part of Democrats agenda to appeal to moderates and undecided voters. Florida Republican Charlie Christ will also speak at the DNC.
Perhaps most interesting about the announcement is that
you won’t find it it’s very hard to find in today’s Providence Journal. Local reporters were sent an embargoed press release about the news at 6:11 Thursday afternoon. I’m assuming Journal reporters got a copy of the email, but have not confirmed that yet.
Similarly, when Chafee traveled to Afghanistan earlier this year, the news did not make the front page of the newspaper so maybe the ProJo just doesn’t like when Chafee leaves the state. Oh wait, but they did report pretty extensively on when he went on vacation, so maybe it’s something else…