May 17th, 2009
10:50 AM ET
3 years ago

Lindsey Graham gets combative over GOP future

Sen. Lindsey Graham spoke at the South Carolina Republican convention on Saturday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham spoke at the South Carolina Republican convention on Saturday.

(CNN) – A combative Lindsey Graham got into a sharp back-and-forth with some audience members at the South Carolina GOP convention on Saturday as he made the case for an open-tent Republican party.

According to The State newspaper and video posted on YouTube, the South Carolina senator told the convention he wants to build a party that can compete in Pennsylvania and Connecticut as well as in his home state.

“You’re a hypocrite!,” one man in the audience yelled.

“I’m a winner, pal,” Graham retorted. Moments later, after saying he wants to the party to reach out to independent voters, he said: “Winning matters to me. If it doesn’t matter to you, there’s the exit sign.”

The crowd in Columbia also featured some Ron Paul supporters who offered several libertarian resolutions during the convention that were rejected by the state party.

During his speech, Graham told the audience, "Ron Paul is not the leader of this party." That remark drew a few jeers, with several people yelling, "Yes he is!"

“I’m not going to give this party over to people who can’t win,” Graham responded.


Filed under: Lindsey Graham • Ron Paul • South Carolina
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Lynn

    Has Senator Graham forgotten his constant sidekick during the election. His memory seems to be slipping like McCain's!!

    May 17, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Martin

    The Democrats seem to be winners. Time to change sides Lindsey!

    May 17, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Too True For You

    It's not so much what he said, it's that he had to say it at all. And it's not so much his message as how it was received – badly, and in friendly territoy to boot.

    TO American Libertarian, similarly, no one is afraid of Fox News as journalism, we are many of us terrified, however, of its unapologetic bias in its efforts to BE the news, rather than REPORT it. They are like The Daily Show with John Stewart except they don't acknowledge they are fake news and they aren't intentionally funny. That. my friend, is indeed frightening to those of raised on uncle Walter (Cronkite) who remember how it is supposed to be.

    May 17, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. James from TN

    I don't like Sen. Graham, like several others in his party, he thinks if you disagree with him youare wrong. The base of the republican party can not carry them back to the White House. I agree with James Carville, who said, "The party could be out of power for the next forty years". I think the party was damaged during the Bush Administration and people will change as they fill necessary.

    May 17, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Bill

    Look I agree with Senator Graham:. However, the GOP cannot get on their own members in Congress if they oppose the party line in some votes. Look ar the Northeast not one Republican in the group.

    May 17, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. HostileKnowledge

    Graham is just another RINO.

    May 17, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. George Holman

    I am a Democrat, but you have to admire this guy for trying to expand the Republican Party. So long as it is the party of the narrow and the extreme, it will fail.

    May 17, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. E-Man

    These Republicans are a very entertaining group...LOL

    May 17, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. No Incumbents in 2010

    Lindsey Graham is a hypocrite who (1) says he wants a big tent party, and (2) wants to exclude Ron Paul supporters from the GOP. Yes, those Ron Paul supporters who have the "radical" belief that a government under the Constitution, i.e. a smaller government, where the federal government doesn't do everything, government debt is reduced, and state governments have more autonomy. The same radical beliefs of Jefferson that founded our country.

    May 17, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Rudolph Schmidt

    to Trang:
    Steve in Charleston is right: The current "Republican" party are not really Republicans.
    Nowdays they have pretty much the same economic policies and military policies as the Democraps. They talk about limited government, but they're just as bad as the Dems.
    Ron Paul is the true conservative and should be the leader of the GOP.

    May 17, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Rudolph Schmidt

    to Lindsey Graham:
    You are not in the position to "give" the party to anyone. The American people are waking up. They are seeing that you and your ilk are squandering our liberties with no regard for the Constitution. Get ready to say goodbye in 2010.

    May 17, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. Ed

    Ron Paul is the most Sane of the Insane GOP.
    “I’m a winner, pal,” Graham retorted. Moments later, after saying he wants to the party to reach out to independent voters, he said: “Winning matters to me. If it doesn’t matter to you, there’s the exit sign.”
    Winning that political power is all that matters in the GOP. Win at all costs even if America fails.

    May 17, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. The Unshrub

    Where does Graham and Boehner get their plastic hair? They must shop at the same plastic hair store. Yick.

    May 17, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. JB

    Steven in Charleston – Well Said.

    May 17, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Andy White

    Lindsay Graham is an effeminate ninny.

    May 17, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. David

    Have you noticed? The Repubicans can't seem to even agree with each other. The GOP is circling the drain.

    May 17, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. GOPer

    The GOP will start to heal when these clowns are voted out of office!

    May 17, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. Bethie

    You can pull the handled now...it's time to flush the GOP!

    May 17, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. J.C.K.

    It's funny that Graham can't find time to reconcile and work together with democrats OR republicans for that matter.

    His distaste for cooperation between American's is going to usher the downfall of the Republican party and the conservative movement.

    May 17, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Joe

    How about not giving the party over to IDEAS that can't win? The philosophy of neoconservatism can't win.

    May 17, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. RWD

    The only reason he would be saying over and over, Ron Paul is not the "leader" is because Ron IS leading the way for Individual Liberty, Personal Responsibility and Constitutionally Limited government, unlike all these republicrat goofballs doing the oppisite of what they say every time. The Paul's on the other hand are consistent and practice what they preach. The repubs are dying and the Paul's are thriving! I will keep supporting them and the future of the party is Randall "Rand" Paul starting with Kentucky! R3volution!

    May 17, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. lancealotlink

    Thats right Lindsey I want you to close your eyes and click you heels together and repeat threes times"Ron Paul is not the leader of the Republican party'.Maybe if you wish hard enoiugh it might come true-not'

    May 17, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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