(CNN) - Former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee was known for keeping a low-key profile on Capitol Hill, but the Republican -turned -Independent is making waves with his exceedingly blunt comments on newly-minted Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin:
She's a "cocky wacko," he told a Washington think tank earlier this week.
Chafee, the lone Senate Republican to vote against the Iraq war who endorsed Obama's White House bid earlier this year, told an audience at the New America Foundation in Washington Tuesday that Palin's selection has energized Obama backers.
"People were coming into my office, phone calls were flooding in, e-mails were coming in, 'I just sent money to Obama, I couldn't sleep last night' - from the left. To see this cocky wacko up there," he said.
He also described McCain's candidacy as "lackluster" and described the selection of Palin as a throwing "this firestorm, this tornado, into the whole presidential election."
Chafee, whose father served as senator from Rhode Island from 1976 until his death in 1999, narrowly lost his re-election bid two years ago to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse amid that election cycle's wave of anti-Republican sentiment.
Chafee made a stir earlier this year when he directly called out Democrats who supported the Iraq war and were now expressing regret for their vote.
"I find it surprising now, in 2008, how many Democrats are running for president after shirking their constitutional duty to check and balance this president," he wrote in his January 2008 book, "Against the Tide." "Being wrong about sending Americans to kill and be killed, maim and be maimed, is not like making a punctuation mistake in a highway bill."