Lindsey Graham told a room of about 100 potential voters Monday that a focus on policies that benefit the middle class and minorities is what will help to bring the country together under Republican leadership.
Graham, Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from South Carolina, said the party is full of people who can lead the Republican party into the future.
“The Hispanic vote [for Republicans] has dropped from 44 to 27 percent in the last eight years,” Graham said during a town hall-style meeting hosted by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, at the Crown Reef Resort in Myrtle Beach. “Look at Tim Scott. Look at [Gov.] Nikki Haley. The party is full of young, bright, energetic people who are dying to do good.”
Another 9/11 is on its way. We’re living on borrowed time. Get them or they’re going to get you. I intend to get them.”
Lindsey Graham, presidential candidate, regarding radical Islamic terrorist groups such as ISIL
Graham suggested several ways to reform federal aid programs such as Medicare, social security and food stamps, saying that “entitlement growth” is what steepens the national debt.
“Medicare is much more of a problem than social security,” he said. “I would increase Medicare Advantage opportunities for seniors. For somebody in my income level – I make $175,000 a year, so maybe at $150,000 and up – on Medicare, the premium they pay is 40 percent of the actual cost. ... At my income level, we should pay the actual premium instead of have it subsidized.”
Graham also warned supporters of what he said is another potential terrorist attack on the United States.
“Another 9/11 is on its way,” he said of radical Islamic terrorist groups such as ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. “We’re living on borrowed time. Get them or they’re going to get you. I intend to get them.”
Graham said if were he elected president he would put troops on the ground in Syria to “destroy ISIL before we get hit here.” He also said that educating young women in the Middle East to have a voice about their children will destroy radical Islam.
“If you want a new foreign policy, you need to elect someone who will do something different,” he said. “We’re going on the offense.”
Surfside Beach resident Doris Helwig said she wanted to see Graham speak because she always has been impressed with his knowledge of the issues.
“I like the confidence of Lindsey Graham,” she said. “There’s no way he displayed any kind of weakness or wavered on any issue.”
Helwig said she also saw businesswoman and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina when she was in Myrtle Beach last week.
“I love her,” Helwig said. “She was wonderful and energetic and dynamic.”
She said she is not sure who will get her vote in the primary, but as of now she leans toward Graham, Fiorina or U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
Graham fielded questions from Scott – some that had been submitted by members of the audience ahead of time – ranging from abortion to national debt.
I like the confidence of Lindsey Graham. There’s no way he displayed any kind of weakness or wavered on any issue.”
Doris Helwig, Surfside Beach resident
Scott is hosting similar town halls across the state to get Republican presidential candidates in front of as many South Carolinians as possible.
Graham told supporters Sunday in Murrells Inlet that he is not concerned with polling numbers, where he had 0 percent of the vote among 15 Republican candidates according to www.RealClearPolitics.com, and is looking to do well in the New Hampshire primary in January.
“I’m going to work on getting known nationally,” he said Sunday. “I’m going to get to New Hampshire, meet as many people as I can, get support and keep this campaign financed.”
Graham touts his 20 years in U.S. Congress, the last 12 in the U.S. Senate, and his life experience in the middle class as reasons why he would make a good president.
“I really, honest to God believe I can win this election if I’m nominated, simply because I’ve walked in the shoes of an average American more than they [Democrats] have,” he said.