May 17th, 2009
10:50 AM ET
9 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. carlos

    graham, first learn how to speak english, your drawl is really sickening, hehehehehe

    May 17, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. 60's survivor

    I prefer graham to other republicans in this state, however, I always vote Democrat because of people like Rush, Boehner, palin. etc. these people scare me with their rhetoric and la k of intelligent compassion!

    May 17, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Dan, TX

    Conservatives should demand all republican candidates adhere to the proper doctrine for all policies. No moderates, no compromise.

    May 17, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Chris in SC.

    Will Lindsay ever come out of the closet? That is one of the questions South Carolians have had for years. Oh wait, that may interfere with 'winning' first.

    May 17, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Sara

    Jeff Spangler – oooh, that's telling him! A cogent arguement if I have ever heard one! No wonder the Repigs are in the wilderness.

    May 17, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. tom

    How dare this closet queen speak ill about Ron Paul

    Ron paul has done more for this party than lindsey will ever do

    May 17, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. propeace profreedom

    Oh, Boy Mr. Graham! You just don't get it. The more the GOP resists Ron Paul's propeace and profreedom message, the more the GOP will lose elections. Mr. Graham, if I'm ever put in jail for paying the communist income tax, I'll call you and let you know that your taxes are paying for my room and board. I don't support Obama, but I'm glad the GOP got a kick in the pants in 2008.

    May 17, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. proud army navy mom

    lindsey grahamn is a fast talking liar.

    listening to him question the military sergeant in charge of interrogating prisoners was quiet eye opening. He was throwing any arguments out there and pouncing when he thought he had a crumb that he could use.

    Hardened criminals would have admired the crafty underhanded way he was twisting the info, to somehow prove he was correct. This man is dishonest and does not care for the truth.

    May 17, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Matt

    Ego First!

    May 17, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Dave from Jacksonville

    Bill on the bayou...Why don't you get an education...maybe you will see the Republicans have already used you (to fight their wars for profit) and now abandon you (and us all) in favor of their real friends, corporations!

    May 17, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. propeace profreedom

    Oops, in my last comment, it should have said "not paying" instead of "paying." Rats like Graham make my blood boil and that hurts my cognative functions.

    May 17, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Dan In Nor-Cal

    Ron Paul is just about the ONLY thing appealing to me about the republicans right now, for his stance on the war and on drugs, however, when you get right down to it, his fiscal ism is practically liege-craft in today's economy. His arguments during the primaries about what we should do about the economy were incredibly naive and unfounded in economic science.

    I can see what Grahmn is trying to do, he just does not realize the moderates have already left, and become democrats. LOL.

    May 17, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. proud army navy mom

    to Bill ~ Down on the Bayou

    you need to calm.

    lots of people are present and past military soliders. that does not give you a right to call names.

    Since it was your rep party who dishonored and used the military for torture and other war crimes, you should question why you want to be part of that organization.

    May 17, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Dave

    Graham has become a country club Republican. Even though his "big tent" has given the Rats a 20 seat majority in the Senate and an 85 seat majority in the House, he is STILL bent on making the GOP the Democrat Lite party.

    What an idiot.

    May 17, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Dave from Jacksonville

    American Libertarian..... Fascists are conservatives, not liberals, you nut. Faux News is like fingernails on a chalkboard to an educator....where did you get so stupid? Just listen to Rush and you SHOULD know the party of "HATE" !!!

    May 17, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. meek

    It's the end of the Republicans and it's almost fascinating to watch. I guess that's what happens to a country when more and more people become educated. Another justification for higher education.

    May 17, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Peter E

    If the current republican party wants to keep excluding people who aren't parroting Rush Limbaugh, if they keep pushing people out who aren't Bush apologists, if they think that America is ONLY small town white evangelical Christians with guns and a third-grade education, then they will continue to diminish and go they way of the Whigs!

    May 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. John Farren

    To Bill on the Bayou-

    Glad to see you choose party over country. I appreciate your sacrifices, but I too made the same sacrifice. The difference between us is that I choose country over party. While you see color, I see American. Semper Fi.

    May 17, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Peter E

    When will these people learn that white evangelical Christians are NOT a majority in America? America is very diverse, and a national party has to represent ALL people, not just a select vocal minority. No, we do not have to compromise our core principles, there is plenty of common ground. Compromising our conservative principles through the big government spending, privacy invading, interventionist neocon principles of Cheney and Limbaugh got us into this mess in the first place and lost uf the election in 2006 and then 2008. Conservatives need to take back the GOP, away from the pretenses of these liberal neocons!

    May 17, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. David Schurkamp

    Mr. Graham, Adolph Hitler wanted to win too. I would rather stick to my conservative values than to win by compromise. You need to learn something...If I compromise my values by appealing to the values of the right then I lose. You seem to be a Man that wants to win at any cost even if it compromises your values...on the other hand maybe you have no values. Maybe what you are most interested in is winning power at any cost. I recognize you. You are self serving, self motivated and you’ll do anything to win even at any cost. You are a man without principles.

    May 17, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Buddy Gilmour

    Religious fundamentalists have taken control of the GOP. As long as they remain in control the GOP will be relegated to the sidelines. This is the logical conclusion of Lee Atwater's Southern Strategy and the appeal to racist southern whites. It was accelerated by 8 ruinous years under Bush and the neo-cons. The defection of Specter makes it official, the moderate wing of the GOP will be re-invented as the fiscally-conservative wing of the Democratic party, which is the party of people of color in this great, melting-pot nation of ours.

    May 17, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  22. Mike in Texas

    Politics is all about winning and having power. Democrat or Republican. Graham just admitted that. He didn't say we need to do this for America, he is in it to win, to have power. You don't change Washington, it changes you.

    Thank you and have a great day.

    May 17, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. John

    The exit Mr Graham is for you and all the other neo cons who ruined the country. The party is over for you, we will unseat you soon, get ready, the freedom movement is here to stay and to clean up the GOP from people like, PAL

    May 17, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Becky

    What do you expect from a Republican? Look at what that party did to our nation the past 8 years under Bush/Cheney!

    Mr. Graham – why don't you just go away and take your 3 buddies with you.

    May 17, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Bill in Austin

    I hear that every speech given by a Republican politician must be approved by Boss Limbaugh. From what I have seen lately, this seems to be case.

    May 17, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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