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Chafee Criticizes Bush for "Steering to the Right" (posted February 16, 2003)

Senator Lincoln Chafee has criticized President George W. Bush for "steering to the right." Appearing on the WPRI-TV show "Newsmakers" with Jack White, Chafee complained about Bush's foreign and domestic policies. Speaking of the president's Iraq plans, Chafee encouraged Bush "to go through the United Nations. If we can't convince these countries, we don't have the facts."

In addition to expressing unhappiness with a unilateral approach to Iraq outside of the UN framework, Chafee worried about how difficult it would be to rebuild Iraq after a war. "What is difficult is sustaining peace," he noted. "It takes a lot of time to stabilize these countries" he added, referring to Afghanistan and Iraq. Unless there is an "imminent danger" to the United States, a decision to go to war requires a broad coalition.

Providence Journal reporter Scott MacKay asked Chafee why he continued to stay in the Republican party despite his serious policy differences with the president. Chafee responded by noting that "many of my votes I share with [fellow Republican] John McCain. People want more of a centrist government." Chafee pointed out that in a closely divided Senate, his vote still was important and that he hoped that party has "learned from Jim Jeffords," the Republican Senator from Vermont who switched to being an independent and voting with Democrats. Chafee said he worked hard to maintain a working relationship with the president and said "I still have the ability to keep good relations with the White House."

When asked about the state Republican party's failure to file campaign finance reports in 2002, Chafee called the omission a "terrible embarrassment" and claimed the party was working to fix that problem.

Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services