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Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island Governor, Gets 3,600 Calls Over 'Holiday' Tree Controversy

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LINCOLN CHAFEE RHODE ISLAND HOLIDAY TREE FOX NEWS
A Christmas tree stands tall in the rotunda of the Rhode Island Statehouse Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2003, in Providence. Gov. Carcieri and his wife will host the annual tree-lighting ceremony. (AP Photo/Victoria Arocho) | AP

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Thousands of people have lodged complaints over independent Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee's (CHAY'-feez) decision to call a spruce erected at the Statehouse a holiday tree and not a Christmas tree.

Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger says his office has received 3,600 telephone calls of protest since Fox News included his office number in a piece on the tree squabble last week. All but 700 of the calls were from out of state. Ninety-two callers supported Chafee.

Chafee says the word "holiday" is inclusive and reflects Rhode Island's origins as a haven for religious diversity. Previous governors also used the term to describe Statehouse trees.

Chafee will host a tree lighting ceremony Tuesday evening. A Republican state lawmaker upset with Chafee's terminology plans to decorate a Christmas tree outside her Statehouse office at the same time.

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