President Obama Monday is heading to Rhode Island to visit a manufacturing facility and make remarks at a fundraiser, but Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio is hardly rolling out the welcome mat.
“He can take his endorsement and really shove it,” Caprio, who recently discovered the president will not be supporting him, told Providence radio station WPRO Monday morning.
Caprio says he was told by a reporter Sunday night that the president would not be endorsing him. A campaign spokesman for former Senator Lincoln Chafee told the Providence Journal that the lack of endorsement was a “victory” for the Republican-turned-independent, who endorsed President Obama in 2008.
“I’ve never asked President Obama for his endorsement, and what’s going on here is really Washington insider politics at its worst,” Caprio said.
The president has not officially endorsed a candidate in the race, in which Caprio is leading by a razor-thin edge of 1.7 points in the latest RealClearPolitics average.
White House Deputy Director of Communications Jen Psaki, when asked in a Sunday night conference call whether the president’s Rhode Island trip could give Caprio a much-needed boost, only responded, “He’s not planning on making an endorsement in the race tomorrow.”
Caprio says he had been “encouraged” when he found out from the White House that Obama would be discussing jobs at the American Cord & Webbing facility in Woonsocket, RI, but would not say whether he had planned to attend the event, only noting his disgust at finding out about the endorsement snub “at the eleventh hour” and calling it “a backhanded way” for the White House to pursue its own agenda.
Campaign spokesman Nick Hemond told Fox News Monday morning he didn’t yet know if Caprio would be appearing in Woonsocket.
In any event, Caprio says, if the president had a chance to gain the loyalty of Rhode Islanders, he missed it back in March.
“We had one of the worst floods in the history of the United States a few months back, and President Obama didn’t even do a flyover of Rhode Island like President Bush did when New Orleans had their problems,” he said. “He ignored us, and now he’s coming to into Rhode Island and treating us like an ATM machine.”
“What I’m saying to President Obama very clearly is I’ll wear it as a badge of honor and a badge of courage that he doesn’t want to endorse me as a Democrat,” he said, citing his own focus on job creation, “because I am a different kind of Democrat.”