Speed Reads

2016 Watch

Lincoln Chafee accidentally exposed the farce of 'exploring' a run for president

For a brief moment on Thursday, former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee was running for president. He's still sort of in the race, just not officially, but perhaps he will go all in soon. Maybe.

Confused? Behold, the farcical game of testing the presidential waters.

While discussing Hillary Clinton in an interview with CNN, Chafee — a Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat who last week formed a presidential exploratory committee — let slip that he is already in the race: "That's why I'm running," he said. Soon after, though, Chafee's not-quite-campaign walked back the remark.

"Nothing has changed," a spokeswoman told Politico. "He has formed the exploratory committee and he will file the appropriate paperwork when he makes a decision."

Technically, an exploratory committee is not an official declaration of a candidacy, but the step is largely considered a formality on the way to a full-blown campaign.