Elections

Graham on 2nd-tier debate: ‘I think it sucks’

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is in the debate undercard Wednesday and he’s not happy about it. In photo, Graham speaks during a No Labels Problem Solver convention on Oct. 12, 2015, in Manchester, N.H.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is in the debate undercard Wednesday and he’s not happy about it. In photo, Graham speaks during a No Labels Problem Solver convention on Oct. 12, 2015, in Manchester, N.H. AP

. Lindsey Graham’s in the debate undercard Wednesday and he’s not happy about it.

“I think it sucks,” the South Carolina U.S. senator told a CNN reception on the eve of the debate, discussing the one hour debate featuring four Republicans low in polls.

“With all due respect, I know there are a lot of us running, but I don’t think I’m an undercard candidate when it comes to national security. I think I’ve got something to offer.”

At the reception, moderator Dana Bash got Graham to play a popular bar game she called “date, marry or disappear forever.” He was asked about Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina and Sarah Palin as his choices.

Graham said he’d date Palin, the Republicans’ 2008 vice presidential nominee. “We’ll go hunting on our first date,” said Graham.

He’d marry Fiorina. “She’s rich; she could keep me in the life I’m accustomed to,” said Graham, who is not married. Palin and Fiorina are.

And Clinton? He wouldn’t say he’d make her disappear but she could be a drinking buddy.

Earlier this week, Graham criticized real estate mogul Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who have led the polls.

“On our side, you’ve got the No. 2 guy (who) tried to stab somebody at 14 and the No. 1 is high energy and crazy as hell,” Graham said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” referring to Carson, who has recalled the violent instant recently, and Trump.

“How am I losing to these people?” Graham asked.

Graham has been around 1 percent in most polls. CNN asked him how he was going to start moving up, and said he had a secret plan.

He criticized the emphasis on polling, saying it was “hurting the Republican Party process.”

It’s only October, he said. Look at how Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, is far behind in polls, despite his name recognition and well-tested political network.

“Don’t write Jeb Bush off,” Graham said. “Don’t write any of us off.”

David Lightman: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid

Related stories from McClatchy DC

  Comments