March 13th, 2014
03:58 PM ET
9 months ago

Graham offers to 'help' Kerry deal with Boehner

Washington (CNN) - GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was caught Thursday on an open microphone offering to help the Obama administration try to convince House Speaker John Boehner to support the Senate's Ukraine assistance bill.

The moment happened as Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up testimony in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Graham walked over to the witness table, leaned over to talk to Kerry and was heard on a live mic saying "Hey John, good job! Let me know what I can do to help you with Boehner."


An aide to Graham tells CNN the senator was referring to whether to include International Monetary Fund reforms in the Ukraine aid package moving through Congress.

Graham and Kerry, Senate colleagues for years, both support including the reforms while Boehner opposes the move.

The GOP-controlled House passed Ukraine assistance legislation earlier this week, but it was rejected by Senate leaders.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday passed its own version of Ukraine assistance, which includes the IMF reforms.

Long list of former Cabinet members from both parties, including several from George W. Bush's administration, released a letter supporting the White House push for IMF reforms as part of the Ukraine package.

While Graham's been a longtime vocal critic of many aspects of President Barack Obama's foreign policy, he agrees with the White House on this issue.

The open mic moment may not play so well for Graham back home in South Carolina, where he faces four conservative primary challengers as he runs for re-election this year.

Friday morning Lee Bright, one of the leading primary challengers, said in a statement that "I don’t know what it is about Lindsey Graham, but he’s never seen a chance to work with liberals to sabotage his own party that he didn’t take."

"When he knows the microphone is on, Graham pretends to be this big conservative. We see the real Lindsey exposed in this instance," Bright added.

CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, CNN Senior Congressional Producer Ted Barrett and CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story


Filed under: John Kerry • Lindsey Graham • Senate • South Carolina • Ukraine
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Methinks I hear his lead drop.

    March 13, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    If there's a new government in Ukraine, don't they almost have to restructure, or whatever, any IMFdealings and obligations?

    March 13, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Uh oh....Miss Lindsey is gonna get the vapors....

    March 13, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    "Hey John, good job! Let me know what I can do to help you with Boehner."
    -----------------------------------
    That just may cost you in your primary Lindsey.

    March 13, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. gary

    No thanks, Senator War Monger II. The President is doing just fine without you. We have heard your hateful nonsense and no one likes it.
    A snake is a snake.

    March 13, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Econ301

    "Graham offers to 'help' Kerry deal with Boehner"

    Oh my.

    The double entendre is strong in this one.

    March 13, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. papanez

    Isn't this the way government is supposed to work? It becomes big news when a senator from the "other" party suggests he'll assist the administration. That's really sad.

    March 13, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. John Smith

    Lindsey Graham has never met a war he didn't like... Hope to goodness the people of South Carolina finally get this guy out of there.

    March 13, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. EDDIE

    Rutt- Row- he's not supposed to do that.He will have some splaining to do.

    March 13, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -papanez

    Isn't this the way government is supposed to work? It becomes big news when a senator from the "other" party suggests he'll assist the administration. That's really sad.
    *******************
    Yes, that is the way its supposed to work, which is precisely why Graham will see his lead in SC primary drop or disappear.

    March 13, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    I think these republican guys are so pathetic, vulnerable too. On one hand these idiots are crying to pass unemployment benefits, cut food coupons to needy poor Americans–And they want to pass Ukraine Aide bill. You think of this before you vote. Don't cry on free-loaders, free-loaders are not these, they are republicans that loot our taxes put in Cayman Islands, gist of this pass Tax-Code., Jobs-Bill.

    March 13, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. don in albuquerque

    God protect me from those who just want to help.

    March 13, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    @The Real Tom Paine
    -papanez

    Isn't this the way government is supposed to work? It becomes big news when a senator from the "other" party suggests he'll assist the administration. That's really sad.
    *******************
    Yes, that is the way its supposed to work, which is precisely why Graham will see his lead in SC primary drop or disappear.
    --------
    Yes, the way it works best, the way the Founders did it. The productive, cooperative way.
    However it is a direct violation of the Great Holy GOP Purity Test, which states:
    – no compromise
    – no talking
    – always say no at the mention of Obama's name
    amen

    March 13, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Wake up People!

    Ruh roh Mz..Graham, that's going to cost you your klan card. Have you forgotten the GOP mantra since January 20, 2009? Do absolutely nothing to help Obama the socialist weak dictator.

    March 13, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. len

    Silence DoGood,

    You are 100 percent correct. That is how government is suppose to work. But unfortunately, we live in a country that hates our President for one reason only, he is African American. Wake up and vote in 2014 or we will really be sorry.

    March 13, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |