We’re going to need a bigger stage, people.
Today, Lindsey Graham stood up before an enthusiastic crowd in Central, South Carolina, and announced his bid for President of the United States, making him the ninth Republican to jump in the race. He focused mainly on highlighting his foreign policy and national security chops, taking swipes at Obama’s disastrous foreign policy and Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.
Via Fox News:
“I’m running for president of the United States,” Graham said. “I want to be president to defeat the enemies that are trying to kill us — not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them.”
Graham slammed President Obama’s policies for fighting terror, and said “radical Islam is running wild.” He said the biggest threat remains Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Graham said he has more experience on national security than any candidate in the race.
He quipped, “That includes you, Hillary.”
You can watch the announcement here, via C-SPAN.
Graham seemed to be having fun as he jabbed at Clinton, saying, “[w]e will have a reset with Russia that sticks.” The jokes were there, but Graham really did deliver in his first official stump speech as a candidate, elevating himself in the foreign policy debate that is likely to shape the 2016 primary season.
Both Marco Rubio and almost-candidate Rick Perry have taken similar approaches to their campaigns, not shying away from the oft-overwhelming task of defining their approach to international politics. Graham came out full hawk, his words contrasting sharply with those of Rand Paul, whose dovish statements on American intervention overseas have rocketed that campaign into the spotlight in recent days.
Graham’s pivot to domestic policy played well with the crowd, but is almost guaranteed to provide clickbait for those opposed to a President Graham. He advocated for the buy-in that comes along with entitlement programs, saying “[a]s President, i’ll gladly work to save a program that once saved my family.” He did, however, temper those statements with promises to work for smaller government and cut unnecessary spending while protecting important safety net programs.
Is this campaign going anywhere? I have no idea. I’m not of a mind to underestimate Lindsey Graham; but with his preliminary polling numbers still in the single digits, it’s clear that he has a long way to go in convincing Republican primary voters that his tenure in the Senate has prepared him to serve as a foil to Obama and his disastrous legacy.
With as many as 10 more candidates currently weighing a bid, we have nothing but time to decide whether we’re willing to listen.DONATE
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