- Associated Press - Monday, October 25, 2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I. | The Democratic candidate for Rhode Island governor, widely seen as more conservative than the independent seeking to lead the heavily Democratic state, said Monday that President Obama can “shove it” after learning Mr. Obama would not endorse him.

Frank Caprio’s campaign last week said he would welcome the president’s endorsement. But on Monday, the same day Mr. Obama was set to make his first visit to Rhode Island as president and a day after the White House said Mr. Obama would endorse no one, Mr. Caprio angrily told WPRO-AM that the president can “take his endorsement and really shove it.”

Mr. Caprio also expressed anger that Mr. Obama had not found time to visit Rhode Island during this spring’s record floods, but was making his first trip to the state as president for a fundraiser.

Mr. Obama is treating Rhode Island “like an ATM machine,” the unhappy candidate said.

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation expressed disapproval of the comments of Mr. Caprio, the state’s general treasurer, but the head of the Democratic Governors Association said it was Mr. Obama’s decision that was disappointing — not the candidate’s remarks.

“Frank Caprio has spent his career fighting for the values of the Democratic Party. He deserves the full support of our party and its leaders,” said association Executive Director Nathan Daschle.

White House spokesman Bill Burton said Mr. Obama decided not to endorse Mr. Caprio out of respect for independent candidate Lincoln Chafee, a one-time liberal Republican senator who endorsed Mr. Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign.

The White House wouldn’t comment directly on Mr. Caprio’s comments, which appeared to be a calculated move by a candidate facing a tight race against Mr. Chafee and Republican John Robitaille, who has never held elected office. They are seeking to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Donald L. Carcieri.

Mr. Chafee was among the most liberal Republicans in the Senate during his time there from 1999 to 2006, opposing President George W. Bush’s tax cuts and was the war in Iraq.

Mike Trainor, Mr. Chafee’s acting campaign manager, called the remarks unfortunate.

“The senator was shocked at how intemperate the remark was, especially with the president due to arrive in Rhode Island later today,” Mr. Trainor said.

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