Double take | Chafee unseated by a Yalie

Brown University graduate Sen. Lincoln Chafee lost his incumbency two years ago. He wants to make sure there are no hard feelings. The man who defeated him, after all, happens to be a Yalie.

“Honestly, I didn’t even realize that Sheldon Whitehouse ’78 went to Yale until people brought it up today,” he said.

In 2006, Chafee, then a Republican, lost his Rhode Island senate seat to the Democratic challenger Whitehouse. Despite maintaining a 51 percent approval rating on SurveyUSA, Chafee said he was hurt, politically, by the general unpopularity of President George W. Bush ’68 and the Republican Party in his state.

“While I was up for re-election, Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney still had two years left,” he said. “They were not going to change their divisive agenda, and I knew Rhode Islanders were not going to be happy about that.”

There was evident divisiveness at the YPU debate last night, too. When YPU President George Singer ’10 introduced Chafee as an alumnus of Brown, audience members hissed and booed in traditional Ivy style. Chafee, though, did not return the sentiment.

“Both my father and brother-in-law went to Yale,” Chafee said. “I have no hard feelings.”

Before the debate, Chafee had a chance to sample Yale traditions.

At a private dinner with 11 YPU members at Mory’s Temple Bar, the senator was introduced to Baker Soup and the legendary toasting cup. After discussing foreign policy, political trends and his suggestions for possible reality TV shows — “Dancing With the Senators” and “Amazing Race to Fiscal Responsibility” — he was asked if the discussion and banter were similar to what he encountered in Congress.

His answer? “Very much.”

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