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Chafee Calls Critics "Vicious" (posted March 30, 2003)

Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee called his critics "vicious" for their personal comments about him. Appearing on the WJAR-TV show "10 News Conference", Chafee was asked about last week's unflattering New York Times article about him which questioned his intelligence and quoted unnamed sources saying he was "borderline impaired". Speaking of that quote, Chafee said, "I was surprised by that. Of course, the quotes are anonymous so you don't know where they are coming from....That is kind of vicious language to use about a colleague."

Chafee defended his record of standing up to the Bush Administration on economic and foreign policy. In regard to tax cuts, Chafee noted that the administration never admitted during debate that big tax cuts would lead to budget deficits. "We are in deficits. I was right," he noted. However, he also pointed out that he helps the administration where he can, such as in getting conservative judges approved by the Senate.

When asked whether he was running for re-election in 2006, Chafee said, "yes, I am planning a fundraiser ... and plan to run." He also knocked down speculation about a switch away from the GOP. "I have been a Republican my whole life," he said, and pointed out that he was named after the first Republican, Abraham Lincoln.

He criticized the administration's handling of the Iraq war. "The war of liberation is not turning out that way....That is a big miscalculation," he said. Those opposed to Saddam Hussein are feeling a sense of nationalism now.

Chafee expressed the view that Middle East peace required an agreement concerning a Palestinian state. However, he noted that "it is hard to have a state of Palestine as long as those [Israeli] settlements are taking place."
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