August 28th, 2007
09:05 AM ET
13 years ago

GOP Senator predicts Clinton will win Dem nomination

Graham officially supports Sen. McCain for the GOP nomination.

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told a group of local Republicans here on Monday night who he believes will win the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Whoever wins this [GOP] nomination is going to get my full support," Graham told a meeting of the Richland County Republican Party. "You know why? You know who we're going to be running against? Hillary Clinton."

Graham, a member of the Air Force Reserves who just returned from a stint serving in Iraq, also offered a vigorous defense of President Bush's Iraq strategy to loud applause, declaring that the troop buildup is working and that the President's policies are the reason the United States has not had a terrorist attack since September 11th.

The senator made one of the boldest statements yet to come out of the debate in Washington over whether Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is competent enough to bring rival political factions together in Baghdad.

"I predict that in a matter of weeks, not months or years, there will be a political breakthrough in Baghdad," Graham said. "The politicians will find a way to bring their country together. And you want to know why? Because the Iraqi people are sick and tired of the killing and the dying, and they're putting pressure on the politicians."

But he differed with Bush over the president's recent comparison of Iraq to Vietnam.

"This is not Vietnam," Graham said. "This is World War Three."

The crowd of about 75 people was overwhelmingly friendly to Graham, but there were several Republicans critical of Graham for his support of this summer's comprehensive immigration reform bill, which died in the Senate in June.

The senator's defense of the bill has irked many conservative activists in this state.

At one point during Monday's speech, when Graham tried to explain why he believes there are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States, a critic in the back of the small room interrupted several times, yelling: "Just enforce the law!"

There was also one man wearing a "Mitt '08" sticker–though he was not officially affiliated with Mitt Romney's presidential campaign–distributing brochures blasting Graham's support of the immigration bill.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Lindsey Graham • South Carolina
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Raymond, El Paso TX

    Here go the Republicans again but this time instead of WMD's, now it's CMD (Clintons are Mass Destruction). Isn't this the same tactic they tried in the last election (i.e. Nancy Pelosi and a Democratic Congress)? Look where that got them. Most Americans have already figured them out, divide so they can conquer. They already have their Republican frightened sheep in the bag so except for their responsibilities to the corporations and very rich, fear-mongering is all they have to persuade regular Americans to vote for them.

    August 28, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Posted By Lance, Monrovia, CA: "What does the GOP have to gain by crowning Hillary Clinton so early? They're obviously playing games, but what ARE those games?"

    It's called reverse psychology. The republicans are actually afraid Hilary can beat a candidate like Giuliani so they start blowing the Hilary trumpets hoping democrats will be fooled into nominating someone else instead, like Edwards or Obama. Obama is a good man but will get beat because of the experience factor, whether it is warranted or not.

    As a republican I can only pray that my party doesn't do something stupid and nominate Rudy. I'd hate to have to choose between Rudy and Hilary. They're almost identical. I don't trust either of them.

    If democrats were smart they'd nominate Joe Biden. If I had to choose between Rudy and Joe I'd pick Joe.

    August 28, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    This question on Hillary's electability keeps coming to my mind, too. Even though, I believe she is clearly the best candidate and will make the best president. So, what do we democrats do? Some say, don't nominate her even though she's the best. I say, nominate her and work like hell to get her elected.

    August 28, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Robert Roman Palm Springs, CA

    Now that we know that hypocrite Sen. Lawrence Craig (R-Idaho) is really gay, I wonder when Senator Lindsay Graham will come out...?

    August 28, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. James, Phoenix AZ


    You asked why would Republicans focus on Hillary now?

    Several reasons:
    1. Hillary has the highest negatives of any Presidential Candidate. 50% of the people WILL NOT vote for her – therefore she would be an easier candidate to beat than Obama.

    2. Hillary has more baggage and most Americans were tired of the "Clintons" which is why Gore couldn't carry the next election. Americans will tire again of the Clintons during the final campaign.

    3. Obama isn't as divisive as Hillary, has popular endorsements (Oprah) versus Hillary's (Heidi Fleiss, Jenna Jameson, etc).

    4. Hillary takes special interest campaigns which neutralizes any attack against GOP candidates – whereas Obama would have that angle.

    Certainly there are more reasons – but when calculating the weakest opponent in a national election, Hillary is the winner (for Republicans).

    Rove says she's fatally flawed. Interesting because 1) it's true and 2) Many dems will fall prey to the reverse psychology (Rove tells dems Hillary isn't electable – and the dems WILL nominate her just to spite Rove).

    August 28, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. j, sac., California

    I will say it again, if Clinton gets the nomination, I will vote for Ron Paul...'nuff said.

    August 28, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Michael Cosgrove, Syracuse, New York

    The senator is forgetting about the anthrax attack that occurred shortly after 9/11 that killed several people.

    August 28, 2007 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. VanReuter NY NY

    3. Obama isn't as divisive as Hillary, has popular endorsements (Oprah) versus Hillary's (Heidi Fleiss, Jenna Jameson, etc).

    Anyone who presents that dreck above, to bolster their argument, has no credibility and shows their ugly bias.

    We get it, you HATE Senator Clinton.

    Lucky for her, the kind of garbage you spew is more likely to create new supporters for her campaign, than influence them against her.

    Keep up the good work!


    August 28, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. David, Los Angeles, CA

    We've been hearing this doom and gloom about the Clintons since '91. The results? Clinton elected President in '92. Clinton re-elected President in '96. Clinton elected Senator in '00. Clinton re-elected Senator in '06 (Giuliani, incidentally, was too scared of her to run). Now that these unelectable, divisive people have proven time and time again that they know how to beat the Republicans at their own game, now that Hillary is leading in the primary and general election polls, we are supposed to believe she can't win a general election.

    Heard it all before.

    Wasn't it the Republicans who told us how electable John Kerry was versus Howard Dean? Yawn.

    Thanks for the generous and I'm sure selfless advice, GOP, but we'll take our chances with our experienced stateswoman over your flip-flopping, tired old philanderers any day. Thanks again though!

    August 28, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  10. Frank NH

    Graham is probably correct (though lots of future develeopments could prove him wrong). Hillary best represents the current positions of the Dems. She's got lots of support from various wings of the Democrat party, is climbing in the polls, and has softened her harsh manner of presenting herself. She's worked hard to win the nomination and should get it.
    The good news is that the Romney/Giuliani ticket will knock her so far out of the Presidential race she won't remember what planet she's living on. By the time the Republicans get done with her she'll think the Whitewater scandal was a trip to Disneyland.

    August 28, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  11. David, Salinas, CA

    Why assume that Karl Rove, or Newt Gingrich or Lindsey Graham or Fidel Castro is using any kind of psychology when they predict a Democratic nomination for Senator Clinton? Maybe they’re just reading the polls.

    Look at the average of the five national Democratic polls you’ll find these results:

    Clinton: 38.2%
    Obama: 21.3%
    Richardson: 4%

    It’s obvious that Senator Clinton is in the lead. It’s also true that the primaries are a long way away. Trying to second guess Karl Rove’s reverse reverse psychology isn’t particularly useful.

    Let’s talk about why these candidates should be President of the United States.

    And why the Republican candidates should not.

    August 28, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  12. Chima, York, PA

    A Hillary nomination will guarantee record turnout on the GOP side come election day. The "anybody-but-Hillary" sentiment will sweep the GOP back into power.

    Just the fact.

    August 29, 2007 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  13. Daniel SLC UT


    August 29, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Frank, Hartford

    The GOP is attacking Hillary for two reasons:

    Nummber 1: They want people to not bother voting for anyone else, so that she will win. Telling people it is already over, and stay home on election day.

    Number 2: They are beginning their attacks early.

    The truth is, she cannot win. Someone above said that no Hardcore Republican will vote for the Democratic Nomination.

    That is true, but what about the non hardcore Republicans or the Independents?

    All of those votes go to the GOP nomination if Hillary wins the nomination. Then, a new Republican will be the next President. Hillary is not liked by Independents. Also, Bush did not ignore the other side of the table. Remember his first campaign. . . "I am a uniter not a divider"

    This election more than ever, someone like Hillary stands no chance. Nominate Obama or Edwards and things change drastically.

    August 29, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. James, Phoenix AZ


    Hillary Clinton's unfavorable rating is 49%. It is the highest recorded unfavorable rating (of a Presidential Candidate) EVER in the history of Gallup Polling.

    Close your eyes to reality and keep being her cheerleader. Oddly, You don't get it. As a conservative I WANT Hillary as the democratic nominee. It is my view (as is many conservative voices) that Hillary would be the best candidate to defeat. LOOK at the comments from other left-leaning people on these blogs who won't vote for her.

    Van – I've seen you go after Obama supporters so clearly you're a die-hard Hillary lover. And I can understand when Lance (above) asks why republicans would be targeting Hillary and I share my honest observation... how that might sting a little.

    Sorry if my appraisal of Hillary doesn't fit in your world.

    August 29, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Kristy Sanborn Dixon

    Hillary has YET to explain her words that she would be the best to 'deal with that' if 'certain' things pertaining to terrorism were to happen before this election, and WHY she fells she's the best to deal with the 'unexpected'.
    That is what America will get if hillary becomes President, words with no backing or explaination behind them, just running her mouth to the media and not explaining the words off her mouth such as these words of hers.
    That would be like going to war or something and she doesn't even explain the 'why', when all she has done is run down the President for this war when he has explained many times, its over terrorism, and hillary doesn't seem to be able grasp that.
    Let alone the "why" she thinks her opponents are after her, as she also has said.
    Then the transportation union endorses her, thats almost too funny since they said they are so good at picking 'winners'
    which only tells me the transportation union must have backed President George W. Bush in the last election. Otherwise, if the transportation union did not endorse President George W. Bush last election, that would only mean, is this union really as good as they say they are at picking winners?
    Then that would only mean if the latter is the case, what could their (transportation union) endorsement of hillary possibly mean that she is so honored over?
    I feel the same way as Senator Graham does, I think Mr. John McCain should be the next President of the United States, a man who has the integrity to tell it like it really is. And isn't afraid to take that stand.

    August 29, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
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