Lindsey Graham in CBS "Face the Nation" interviews during 2013

On Health Care: Let ObamaCare show itself as a continuing debacle

Q: What about this idea of shutting down the federal government to stop ObamaCare?

GRAHAM: I hope we learn from this tactical mistake that they made regarding defunding ObamaCare. We have got a unique opportunity here after this debacle called the shutdown to reenergize the Congress and maybe get better standing.

Q: What about Senator Ted Cruz--has he hurt your party by shutting down on ObamaCare?

GRAHAM: I think the tactical choice that he embraced hurt our party. After this debacle called the shutdown, our party's been hurt. Our brand name is at its lowest ever. ObamaCare actually got a bump in polling. And we got in the way of a disastrous roll-out, so from my point of view, this was a tactical choice that hurt us, but the good news for the Republican Party is that of the debacle is over, if we don't do it again and ObamaCare is a continuing debacle. ObamaCare is a debacle that will go into 2014. The shutdown should be in our rearview mirror as Republicans.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 on 2014 South Carolina Senate race Oct 20, 2013

On War & Peace: Get involved in Syria to protect against al Qaeda and Iran

Q: Are you satisfied with the approach the administration is taking about chemical weapons in Syria?

GRAHAM: No, I haven't been satisfied for a long time. Four things are going to happen if we don't change course in Syria

  1. It's going to become a failed state by the end of the year. It's going to be an al Qaeda safe haven.
  2. The chemical weapons are going to be compromised and fall into the wrong hands.
  3. I worry about the king of Jordan. He's had 500,000 refugees flood his country from Syria. His kingdom could fall.
  4. If we keep this hands-off approach to Syria, we're going to have a war with Iran because Iran's going to take our inaction in Syria as meaning we're not serious about their nuclear weapons program. We need to get involved.
Q: A no-fly zone could be pretty dangerous for the US....

GRAHAM: There's nothing you can do in Syria without risk, but the greatest risk is a failed state with chemical weapons falling in the hands of radical Islamists.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 on 2014 South Carolina Senate race Apr 28, 2013

On Homeland Security: Cuts to military systems will leave us with a hollow force

Q: You've got the cuts that sequestration ordered. Why not keep those cuts but give the President the flexibility to decide where within each of his departments those cuts will come?

Sen. McCAIN (R-AZ): As Lindsey gave you the numbers, there are disproportionate cuts to defense. Defense is 19% of the discretionary spending. It's taken 50% of the cuts.

Q: But wouldn't that be a way to start, though?

GRAHAM: Here's why it won't work. We're taking $45 billion a year out of the Defense Department over the next decade. At the end of the decade, we're going to have the smallest Navy since 1915, 232 ships. We're going to have the smallest Air Force in history; the smallest Army since 1940. Our defense spending will be below 3% of GDP. We will have a hollow force. Personnel costs are exempted from sequestration. So you take all the systems, except military pay, and over a decade, you destroy the Defense Department. There is no amount of flexibility in the world will fix this.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 on 2014 South Carolina Senate race Mar 3, 2013

On Homeland Security: President did not do enough to protect Benghazi embassy

Q: During all those recent confirmation hearings, it was pretty obvious that you are still not satisfied with the administration's version of what happened on that night when four Americans died in Benghazi. We understand that on that night, the government chartered an airplane in Tripoli, and flew some security agents in to Benghazi, but they were held up at the airport. Tell us what you found out about that.

GRAHAM: Well, there's a six-person rescue team left Tripoli to reinforce the annex in Benghazi. They arrived at 1:30 in the morning Libyan time. And it was not until 5:00 that they could get to the annex. They were held up for three and a half hours at the airport, had a lot of bureaucratic snafus. Here's my question: Did the president ever pick up the phone and call the Libyan government and say, "Let those people out of the airport?" Secretary Clinton said she was screaming on the phone at Libyan officials. Did the president call? This was incredibly mismanaged.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 on 2014 South Carolina Senate race Feb 10, 2013

The above quotations are from CBS "Face the Nation" interviews during 2013
(Bob Schieffer interviewing candidates for 2014 and 2016 races).
Click here for other excerpts from CBS "Face the Nation" interviews during 2013
(Bob Schieffer interviewing candidates for 2014 and 2016 races)
Click here for other excerpts by Lindsey Graham.
Click here for a profile of Lindsey Graham.
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Page last updated: Jan 06, 2014