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