Lincoln Chafee
Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, center, accidentally announced he was running in the 2016 presidential elections. Reuters

Hillary Clinton may soon have competition in her bid to win the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential election. Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee dropped two accidental announcements that he will run for president this week.

When asked why he is so critical of Clinton during a 16 April interview on CNN, Chafee said, "That's why I'm running, because I feel strong about where we're going as a country." The comment comes a week after the former Republican announced he had formed an exploratory committee.

The slip during his CNN interview was not Chafee's first. According to The Hill, Chafee told Larry King: "I'm going to run on those issues," during his 15 April interview.

Chafee's camp was quick to clarify the former governor's comments. Debbie Rich, Chafee's spokeswoman, told CNN that he did not declare himself as an official candidate. "We are still in the exploratory committee phase," she said. "We will file the proper papers to be an official candidate, but that has not happened yet."

An outspoken critic of Hillary Clinton and the Iraq War

The 62-year-old Democrat reiterated Rich's comments during an interview with The Hill. "I have the intention of going through the exploratory phase and at the appropriate time, filling out the appropriate paperwork. That's always been my expectation," he said. "I probably should have said on CNN, 'that's why I am considering running.'"

Chafee has been an outspoken critic of Democratic candidate Clinton and her vote in Congress to authorise the war in Iraq.

"That was a moment where the premise for going to Iraq was so false that there were weapons of mass destruction; she didn't do her homework. We live with the ramifications," he told CNN. "You may say that's 12 years ago — that's a big motivator for me running. If you show a lack of judgement, lack of doing homework then, what can we expect in the future."

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules, prospective candidates are "no longer testing the waters when s/he...Makes or authorises statements referring to him/herself as a candidate". It is unclear if the FEC will make Chafee to declare after his recent comments, The Hill reported.

Chafee left the governorship in January 2015. Prior to that term, he served as a Republican senator for his home state of Rhode Island.