August 7th, 2007
06:25 PM ET
15 years ago

Graham poses with Clinton/Obama/Osama sign

Graham is seen holding the sign in a photo obtained by TMZ.com Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have taken heat recently for posing with a controversial campaign sign likening Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden, but that didn't stop South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham from holding a similarly worded sign, in a photograph published by TMZ.com Tuesday.

Graham, a supporter of Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential bid, is seen in a photograph dated July 27 holding a sign saying "Obama, Osama, and Chelsea's Moma say cut and run," next to a McCain campaign sign.

The sign is an obvious grouping of the two leading Democratic presidential candidates - Sens. Hillary Clinton, the mother of Chelsea Clinton, and Barack Obama - with Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Graham said, “I was handed the sign by a rally attendee as I was leaving. I should have been more careful and I apologize.”

The sign is nearly identical to a sign Romney posed next to two weeks ago - right down to the misspelling of "momma." The sign Romney was photographed with said "No to Obama, Osama, and Chelsea's Moma."

Romney, who was criticized by one member of a New Hampshire town-hall meeting - later identified as a Democratic blogger - for posing with the sign, said, “I have a lot of pictures taken with people. I don’t really spend all that much time looking at the signs and the T-shirts and the buttons. I don’t have anything to say about a sign somebody else was holding.”

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Evan Glass

soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. E. Caldwell Philadelphia, PA

    Wow this guy is a Senator, he might as well have held up a sign that say's "I am a racist". Does this Senator believe that all muslims are related to Osama Bin Laden. Does this mean because i am black i am related to OJ Simpson, and he is white so he must be related to G. Bush. Enough with the anti – Obama propaganda. I find this article, and the Senators tactics very disturbing.

    August 7, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Lance, Monrovia, CA.

    Obama/Osama? Huh?

    Is this the best they can do to Barrack Obama? We're reduced to name calling now?

    This is the most obvious, base, unintelligent, indefensible, downright childish bit of political porn that any candidate could possibly produce, only proving that the Republican candidates and indeed the party overall ain't got spit to shinola with.

    Let's not talk about the issues, no, let's not talk about things that once made the Republican party great, things like reducing the size of government and allowing people to think for themselves. That would take half of a brain, a brain that apparently refuses to inhabit the cobwebbed skull of Lindsay Graham or for that matter dog hanger and chief Mit Romney.

    The Republican presidential race has just sunken to a new low in something already so sub-basement that it belongs on a Houston class submarine retrofitted for the war on terror at 30 Billion a pop, complete with billion dollar torpedos retrofitted as troop transports doing the same damn thing the Coast Guard does with canoes.

    Just look at these Republicans standing on stage Sunday. They look like they all might fall over and turn to dust instantly if not held up by their bossom breasted trophy wives.

    This isn't politics, it's something best reserved for the cigar rooms these mindless, thoughtless, backward thinking non entities should go back to.

    August 7, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. Matthias Akron Ohio

    Very cheap. It is disgusting. I guess some people do everything to get into the news.

    August 7, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    Liar, liar pants on fire!

    Is that the best Republican Presidential hopefuls can do is play elementary school name games?

    Since they all are seeking some distance from Bush
    How about…Bush Bush rhymes with Tush!
    Although I don’t know how far from being a tush they actually are.

    August 7, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Kyle, Columbia SC

    South Carolina is always the state that get laughs at and with me living her all my life I SEE WHY!!! When he was running I knew he wasnt what he bragged to be. This is a slap to the face of every Muslims, African-Americans, women and all other ethnic races. HE'S SUCH A LOSER!!!!!!!!!!

    August 7, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. Docta M, Baltimore, MD

    How many other Republicans will apologize for taking a picture with that shameful sign before the real issue is addressed? That sign is too big and too explicit for this Senator to say that he didn't read it. Can you imagine taking a picture saying that "I, Lindsey Graham, I am an idiot and should not be a Senator"...

    August 7, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. Matt, NYC

    Wow, I used to have respect for Sen. Graham. The fact that he did this, and then used the same bs answer as Romney just shows how ignorant and dumb he is. Why does this guy represent a state in the Senate? He should go do propoganda for the Taliban.

    August 7, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  8. Bob, Greeley CO

    Wow, well if youre a senator maybe you SHOULD be paying attention to the people you take pictures with and the signs they hold. If youre in politics, you know the company you keep makes your career...I wouldnt want a career based of childish name calling.

    August 7, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. Leilani

    You'd think someone running for president would pay attention to the messages they send the public.

    August 7, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Rich Chicago, IL

    As if it matters, Graham is supporting McCain for petes sake. McCain! The man was respected and had a chance not too long ago but has become a complete joke. Soon he will be riding his bike to appearanaces. Graham is a right-wing South Carolina knucklehead, this isn't news.
    By the way, WHAT is the deal with these people spelling MOMA? Are they really that freaking stupid? Any mention of a planned and phased withdrawal from the Civil War currently waging in Iraq equals 'cut and run', huh? Morons.

    August 7, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  11. Jim, Clarksburg, MD

    Let's all be worldly adults here. Republican functions are so tightly controlled & scripted, and attendees vetted that this couldn't be a mistake. Either some die-hard Republican embarrassed a Presidential Candidate, or this was intentional.

    Still speaks volumes about the Republican Party...

    August 7, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. Leilani, Anchorage Alaska

    You'd think that a supporter of a presidential candidate would pay closer attention to the messages he sends the public.

    August 7, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Benson

    "Posted By E. Caldwell Philadelphia, PA : August 7, 2007 5:31 pm"

    Racist? You realize this is the Senator who pissed off his base in the GOP for supporting the guest worker program and path to citizenship for undocumented aliens, right? He then proceeded to call them "bigots" for not supporting it.

    August 7, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. A Simpson, Post Falls ID

    Out of the mouths of incompetents – and I definitely believe them. They scrutinize anything shoved into their hands just as responsibly as they screen all the legislation they vote for and against.

    August 7, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. Bruce, Franklin, TN

    Can you say "error in judgement?"

    August 7, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. David, Gilbert Arizona

    "I was handed the sign by a rally attendee as I was leaving. I should have been more careful and I apologize."

    At least Graham had the decency to apologize. It doesn't excuse his sheer stupidity, but he did say he was sorry...unlike Flip-Flop Romney who said he could not be held responsible for someone else's sign.

    August 7, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  17. Dinizulu, St. Petersburg, FL

    Who do "they" think "they're" fooling? "They" are truly contemptuous of the electorate aka The American People. What public figure or competent handler of a public figure would, in this age of instant communication and world wide web proliferation, take a picture with something or someone without being aware of who and what they were being photographed with. I would have to question the judgement or motives of anyone that would be so reckless, public figure or private citizen notwithstanding. However, they would not get to hide behind or feign ignorance because such behavior would remove any doubt.

    August 7, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. Scott Springfield, IL

    I hope the Obama campaign downplays/dismisses/laughs off this incident. Obama should give off the impression that he is above even commenting on petty stunts like these, and for heaven's sake, I hope he doesn't try to use this in a fundraising appeal.

    August 7, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. Darren, Morgantown, WV

    I just find it kind of sad that somebody went to the trouble to make this sign, but they spelled "mama" wrong – not even in keeping with the "-ama" endings of both other names. What the sign lacked in cleverness it may have made up for in word play, but not with a glaring error like that.

    August 7, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. Amy, Houston, TX

    CNN you didn't counter Romney's claim that he wasn't holding the sign. That was a lie. He was pictured with the sign in his hand, and he was called out on it in that same exchange. To my recollection, he didn't have an adequate response (check out C-SPAN) except to try to take another question.

    I'm not an Obama supporter, but I still consider this behavior repulsive and not worthy of any American and especially not a United States Senator. Is the Republican party running out of ideas?

    August 7, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Christian, Palmetto FL

    Perhaps Republicans need to start LOOKING at the signs they are handed before they pose with them.

    August 7, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. Scissors, St. Louis, MO

    I am also disgusted. What are these poeple thinking? How low and amoral are the Republicans? It certainly doesn't give you much hope for the future of our country if we are reduced to this kind of behavior. At times, I just shake my head in disbelief.

    August 7, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  23. Tonya, RTP, NC

    amazing the cowardly tactics these people use

    August 7, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. Barabas, Hot City, TX

    E. Calwell from Philly:

    Excuse me, but wwwwwwhat? He is a racist because he uses a play on words that rhymes Osama with Obama!?? He is in no way insinuating that Osama is muslim because of the sign. If that was the case, then he would be calling Clinton a muslim too. What kind of waked-out thought process did you go through to get to your viewpoint?

    I mean, I don't support the guy , but geesh!

    August 7, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  25. Emily, Fergus Falls, MN

    "9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden"

    And why did we go run after Saddam in Iraq instead of Osama in Afghanistan. If you ask me, and anyone other than the President, you will be told that we should be looking for Bin Laden instead of having caught Saddam. Poor baby Georgie had to go get revenge for his daddy. Seriously, if more of our troops where in Afghanistan we would've found the man who caused the worst terrorist attack in U.S. History.

    Obama should never be compared to Osama. If anything, it should be the current Commander in Chief, it's because of his failing efforts that Osama is still on the run. I feel sorry for the families of the victims of 9/11. They get screwed every which way. First, their leader went after the wrong guy in "The war on 'Terror'". Now, they might not even be able to visit Ground Zero because it's unstable?! And they need to do construction. Please. I cannot wait until January of 2009, we will no longer be under the control of a man who claims to be acting against terror when he didn't get the man who actually caused terror in the U.S. Nothing good is going on in "The war on 'Terror'", except the terrorists are getting smarter. I'm just glad that I can use my freedom of speech, the only thing that I am happy to have...

    If Romney gets the presidency, I will move north to Canada because I will not want a racist president. He'll probably want slavery back. I wouldn't be surprised...sickening.

    August 7, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
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