Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, has launched a presidential campaign with intent to seek the 2016 Republican nomination. Graham is barely a blip in the polls, and will face an uphill battle in a very, very crowded field. However, Graham intends to push a message of strong national security and an interventionist foreign policy, with the hopes of contrasting himself with Senator Rand Paul.
Report from ABC News:
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is “ready to be commander-in-chief on day one,” the Republican said, announcing his presidential bid from his hometown today.
“I’m pretty sure no one here, including me, ever expected to hear me say, ‘I’m Lindsey Graham, and I’m running for president of the United States,'” he told a cheering crowd in Central, South Carolina.
“I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate in this race. That includes you, Hillary,” he said. “I know the players, I know our friends and I know our enemies alike — but most importantly, ladies and gentlemen, they know me.”
Graham, a retired Air Force colonel, enters the race just as a fierce battle over national security rages in the Senate.
The South Carolina senator – a noted defense hawk – stands in sharp contrast to fellow 2016 hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, who spent Sunday night railing against the anti-terror PATRIOT act and just last month declared that GOP hawks have contributed to the rise of ISIS.
“The Obama Administration, and some of my colleagues in Congress, have substituted wishful thinking for sound national security strategy,” Graham, 59, said today. “I want to be president to defeat the enemies trying to kill us, not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them.”
“Simply put, radical Islam is running wild,” he said. “They are large, they are rich, they’re entrenched. As president I will make them small, poor and on the run.”
Here is video of Graham’s announcement (apologies for video quality):
Why is he launching a campaign? Many speculate this as a resume enhancer since there is no discernible desire from the grassroots to draft him in the race. He’s thumbed his nose at conservatives on several instances, joining with John McCain on immigration reform and earning the nickname “Grahamnesty” in somce circles. Still, his credentials are no worse than the other Senators in the race. In fact, he has more years of experience. We’ll see how far Graham can propel himself into the primaries.