PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Former Rhode Island Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee has called vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin a "cocky wacko" and said her selection as John McCain's running mate has energized supporters of Democrat Barack Obama.
Chafee left the Republican Party last year after losing his bid for re-election and now supports Obama. He told an audience Tuesday at the New America Foundation in Washington that the Alaska governor has revived a "lackluster McCain candidacy."
"They've just thrown this firestorm, this tornado, into the whole presidential election," Chafee said in response to an audience member's question about whether the Obama campaign should worry about Palin's presence in the race.
He said her speech at the Republican National Convention had the unintended effect of energizing Democrats and Obama supporters.
"People were coming into my office, phone calls were flooding in, e-mails were coming in, 'I just sent money to Obama, I couldn't sleep last night' — from the left. To see this cocky wacko up there," Chafee said to laughter.