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U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham asked a lot of questions to supporters and spoke his mind during an appearance at the Lancaster County Republican Party meeting at Mike Williams Builders on Thursday, Feb. 20.
Graham, who expects a challenge from conservative activists, including the Tea Party movement, in the 2014 Senate primaries, worked to unite a divided party he considers the “heart and soul of America.”
He had praise for his fellow Republicans, including state National Committeeman Glenn McCall, junior U.S. Senator Tim Scott, Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile and U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-5).
“Mick Mulvaney rocks. Do you know Paul Ryan? Mick Mulvaney is going to be the new Paul Ryan.
“The guy is wicked smart. He’s going to be the man to defeat,” Graham said.
Graham, however, was less supportive of Democrats, criticizing everyone from Hillary Clinton to John Kerry and President Barack Obama.
He said if the Republicans win back the Senate in the upcoming election, they can use their subpoena power to ask unanswered questions.
“How many of you think Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for 2016? If we took the Senate back, I would want her to come back in the Senate and answer two questions – how could you not know about the security requests and needs of a consulate under your control and the secretary of defense know?” Graham said. “How could the secretary of defense know about all of the additional security requests that people under you denied that you have no clue. What were you doing?”
Along with the comments on Clinton, Graham’s remarks on Kerry and Obama also got an agreeing audible response from the partisan audience.
“Would you let John Kerry buy you a car? I sure as [expletive] wouldn’t let him negotiate a deal with the ayatollahs. But we’re about to do that,” Graham said.
He called Obama a “terrible” commander in chief and questioned the president’s leadership skills.
“You should never be president if you haven’t run a lemonade stand. You should never be a commander in chief if you have no clue who our enemies are,” Graham said.
In order to unite the Tea Party, traditional republicans and libertarians for both 2014 and 2016, Graham focused on high profile issues including the Affordable Health Care Act, Israel, Benghazi and abortion – an issue which Graham called “the effort of my political lifetime.”
In 1999, Graham introduced the Unborn Victims of Violence Act which recognizes a child in utero as a legal victim, if he or she is injured or killed during the commission of violence. The bill was signed in 2004.
Graham hopes to have similar success with a current proposal, the 20-Week Abortion Ban, which, among other things, prevents abortions after the fetus is susceptible to pain.
“I believe that life begins at conception. But if a woman’s raped, a child is born of incest, I support that high exception. And I know that’s not pure, but that’s what I feel comfortable with as a politician,” Graham said. “If I’m your senator, I’m going to fight for the baby. Why? Because I would want someone to fight for me when I was baby.”
Graham encouraged the conservatives in Lancaster to join together to win the upcoming elections and focus on restoring the American dream.
“This coalition is either going to come together or the Democrats are going to win this election,” Graham said. “If I lose, I’m not taking my ball and running away. I won’t abandon the party because they picked somebody else. I just hope the other people will do the same. The only way we can lose in the near-term is friction between ourselves.”
“The American dream used to be owning your own home. Today, it’s getting your kids out of your home,” Graham said. “Do you know what the Republican party should be focused on? Saving America.”
Contact reporter Laura Caskey at (803) 283-1158