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Chafee Still Leaning in Favor of Bolton (posted May 8, 2005)

U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee still is in favor of United Nations representative nominee John Bolton. Interviewed on the WPRI-TV show Newsmakers, Chafee indicated "I still am leaning in favor of voting for Bolton." However, he said he wanted all the information on various allegations before announcing his vote on the nomination. Chafee called the allegations of ill-temper and intimidation "serious accusations", but noted the UN representative job was not a life-time appointment such as a federal judge that would require a higher threshold of acceptability.

The Senator said he was opposed to changing the filibuster rule in regard to judgships. That rule currently allows unlimited debate and it has been used by Democrats to block confirmation of several Bush nominations. Chafee said the current environment was a "poisonous atmosphere" and ending the rule would make things worse.

In regard to Social Security reform, Chafee said the president's proposed private account "doesn't have a chance". Instead, the Senator expressed support for "blended indexing" which would slow the automatic adjustment due to inflation. That change, Chafee argued, would accomplish "70 percent" of the reform desired by President Bush.

When asked about the possibility of a primary challenge by Cranston Mayor Steven Laffey, Chafee said "I speak to the Mayor on occasion", but expressed his hope that the GOP would avoid a primary fight. "There is a lot of opportunity for us as Republicans to pick spots," he noted. In 2006, the GOP faces open seat elections for Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and General Treasurer.

On energy conservation, Chafee said he was doing his part. He now drives a Toyota Prius, which he said gets 40 miles per gallon.