Simply the best photo of Burton ever taken. (reuters)
It really looks like he's ordering pizza.
But anyway — the White House is responding (after a fashion) to Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial nominee Frank Caprio telling President Obama to “really shove it” on a Providence radio show today.
Caprio is miffed because Obama is refusing to endorse in the tight, three-way race for governor. And not to generalize based on geography, but the blog has been to Providence. We don't mess with those guys.
“As it relates to the local politics, out of respect for his friend, Lincoln Chafee, the president decided not to get involved in this race,” White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said.
Chafee, a former Senate Republican, crossed party lines in 2008 to endorse Obama. Now he's running for governor of Rhode Island as an independent.
“We're entering the final week of the election season, and emotions are running pretty high,” Burton said. “So I don't think anybody is surprised to see people feeling particularly strongly about these races.”
So far, no other reason for Obama to not endorse Caprio has surfaced. Earlier in the race, former President Bill Clinton campaigned for him. The White House is having some trouble squaring Obama's non-endorsement with the administration's claim he is doing all he can for Democrats this year.
“The president feels very comfortable with what he's doing in this race,” Burton said.
The incident was all the rage in Rhode Island today. Chafee is leading Caprio, 35 percent to 28 percent in the race, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll. Republican John Robitaille is trailing with 25 percent.
As the Obama-Caprio kerfuffle spun out all over on Monday, Robitaille suggested his Democratic opponent could be “losing it.”
“You don't tell the president of the United States to shove it,” Robitaille told WPRO. “He's either losing it and acting like a petulant little child, or this is a strategic miscalculation of significant proportions.”