White House says president passed on endorsement out of respect

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – White House spokesman Bill Burton says President Obama decided to stay out of Rhode Island's gubernatorial race because quote, "out of respect for his friend Lincoln Chafee."

When questioned by White House reporters on Air Force One, Burton elaborated. According to the press report, Burton says, "the president's feeling is he has respect for his friend Lincoln Chafee and he's not going to get involved in this race."

Chafee, then a Republican, and the president served together in the U.S. Senate. Chafee left the GOP and became an Independent.

In 2008, Chafee endorsed then candidate Obama's run for president. Caprio was supportive of Hillary Clinton.

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