Updated: Monday, 01 Nov 2010, 12:41 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 01 Nov 2010, 12:40 AM EDT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) - Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday didn't make much of President Barack Obama's decision not to endorse Rhode Island's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio, joking instead at a rally that he's surprised Caprio hasn't received the support of the tea party.
Clinton said Caprio's platform and his pledge not to raise taxes should appeal to elements of the movement. He touted Caprio's proposal to stimulate job growth among the state's small businesses and move the state out of its economic malaise.
Citing Caprio's record as the state's general treasurer, Clinton added: "I can't figure out why the Tea Party hasn't endorsed him."
A crowd of hundreds attended the rally at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence. It was Clinton's second campaign visit in three months for Caprio, who is running for the governor's seat against independent Lincoln Chafee, Republican John Robitaille, and Moderate Party candidate Ken Block.
Last week, Caprio said Obama could "shove it" for not endorsing him over Chafee , who supported the president in 2008 while Caprio supported Clinton's wife and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Initially, Caprio stood by the remark, but in a statement released ahead of Clinton's visit on Saturday, he said he wished he had "chosen different language."
Caprio referenced his disappointment with Obama's decision in introducing Clinton on Sunday.
"Last week, I got knocked down a little bit just like many of you have been knocked down," he said. "But here in Rhode Island, we don't mind getting knocked down because we get right back up. I'm running for governor because we're going to get this whole state back up."
An exclusive Eyewitness News poll released last Tuesday showed Independent candidate Lincoln Chafee with a seven-point lead in the gubernatorial race. Caprio and Republican candidate John Robitaille were tied for second.
During Sunday's rally, Clinton prefaced his remarks by recalling his experience as governor of Arkansas.
"I love this state, you've been good to me, and I've tried to be good for you," Clinton said. "And I have seen you suffer. You've got the fourth highest unemployment rate in the country. Why are we being distracted by stories that don't have anything to do with real life, your children's future, and how you're going to live?"
Also stumping for Caprio was former Democratic primary rival and 2008 Obama supporter, Attorney General Patrick Lynch.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg campaigns for Chafee on Monday, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns with Robitaille.
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