CBSN

Hillary Clinton's surprise 2016 competition

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee faces reporters at the Statehouse in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Chafee said Tuesday that former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is wrong to blame the state for any of his video gaming company's financial woes and to accuse the state of broken promises.
AP Photo/Steven Senne

Lincoln Chafee, the former governor and U.S. senator from Rhode Island, has announced that he's forming an exploratory committee to consider running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Campaigns are the time for debates... for voters to assess the character and experience of those offering ideas," Chafee says in a video explaining his decision.

In an interview with CNN, Chafee said that he plans on criticizing Hillary Clinton, the presumed frontrunner for the nomination, for her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq war.

"Considering the premise for invading Iraq was based on falsehoods and considering the ramifications we live with now from that mistake, I would argue that anybody who voted for the Iraq War should not be president and certainly should not be leading the Democratic Party," he said.

In 2002, Chafee was a member of the Republican Party, and he was the only GOP senator to vote against the Iraq war authorization. After serving one term in the Senate, Chafee lost his seat to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006. He then left the GOP to become an independent, endorsed Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, and was elected governor of Rhode Island in 2010. In 2013, he announced he was joining the Democratic Party, but facing low approval ratings, he opted against seeking a second gubernatorial term.

On his 2016 website, Chafee lays out his priorities, shares his biography and offers up a link to his 2008 book, Against the Tide.