John McCain finds key ally in S.C.'s Lindsey Graham

Charlotte ObserverSeptember 2, 2008 

MINNEAPOLIS — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was mid-sentence in his hotel lobby at the Republican National Convention when Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty rang one of Graham's two cell phones to invite him to dinner.

Well, Graham explained, Sen. Joe Lieberman also wanted to go to dinner. So did former presidential candidate Fred Thompson, Graham said, as did Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. By the end of the conversation, Graham had worked it out and snapped the phone shut.

"We're all going to have dinner at the governor's mansion,” he said, grinning.

This sort of scenario likely will play out time and again, with stakes much higher than the evening menu, if Republicans succeed in electing John McCain president. Graham is McCain's most trusted political ally. He pre-emptively declared he'll stay in the Senate and undoubtedly would play the lead role in moving McCain's agenda through Congress.

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