May 17th, 2009
10:50 AM ET
12 years ago

Lindsey Graham gets combative over GOP future

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. jodyo

    Republicans are the American Taliban,

    "Rush owns you pal …."

    Rush wouldn't touch this twirpy fool with a 10 ft. pole or you either for that matter. You need a mirror to see who is the "American Taliban."

    May 17, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Franky

    LOL!! Awesome!! I like Sen Graham, he is cool...

    But he in some sense, is right, they do in fact need a winner. And I like his passion too, he wants to compete in Penn and Conn, that's serious stuff. But Penn can go either way, is one of the oldest Unions in the country and it is in fact a swing state so that state can go either just ain't my fault I predicted that victory months prior to the elections, LOL!! I had to say it, I just had to...but I tell you what, don't you guys think is fair to say that it even is a surprised that my boy took states that Hillary took?? Like Indiana or Florida?? And remember the argument she made and even Dems for that matter??

    Some good stuff, LOL!!!

    I like Sen Graham's passion, I do.

    May 17, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. American Idol hater

    Is Graham a democrat or republican? He's the type that can make a seemless transition from party to party.

    I don't trust snakeoil salesmen like him.

    He still thinks there are WMD in Iraq.

    Let's vote him out.

    May 17, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. James

    So who is the leader of the Republican party?

    We all know by now, that there is no future for the GOP but to go back to it's roots, to become again the defender of the Republic and the US constitution:

    Ron Paul is the leader of the freedom movement, you will beg him to become the leader of the GOP, sooner or later, because all you want Mr Graham is stay in power

    May 17, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Jean, Indiana

    "I'm not going to give the party over to people who can't win."

    Excuse me? Who do you think has it now?

    May 17, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Trang

    I thought Ron Paul was good, and his son as well. They give good debate w/o getting personal. What Republicans have against them? They want 'Liberty', while 'Conservatives' want to dictate the nation on what is right and wrong to do in the 'bedroom'? That's irreconcilable differences there.

    May 17, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. hongli

    I'm sorry Lindsey you all are LOSERS.

    May 17, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Mario

    Graham, I'm a conservative, and beleive me, you are nio winner either! so why don't you exit...PAL!

    May 17, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Jake

    the GOP is looking more and more like a grade school playground!

    May 17, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Mark Eades

    I'm having so much fun watching the GOP implode. Truth be told, I hope they never recover. The idea that we somehow "need" a healthy Republican Party in America is hogwash. What we need is a dead Republican Party.

    May 17, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Bill ~ Down on the Bayou

    @ Republicans are the
    American Taliban:

    I, you slimy pig am a life long Republican, former US Marine, circa 1945, and if you consider me American Taliban I challenge you...Come take me out. No doubt you would be coddling the obama factions of the Taliban.

    May 17, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Finally the truth

    “Winning matters to me." There you have it. The entire philosophy of the Republican Party. I guess all the "Country First" crap during the campaign was just talk. It should be "Winning First". That's more appropriate. As another post noted, it seems that the Republicans just view governing as a game, to be won or lost. How pathetic. It explains why they don't have any new ideas or any vision to move the country forward. They only have the scare tactics and buzzwords like taxes, terrorism and gay marriage which they use to win elections in the South, but don't have anything to offer after they're elected. Finally, the truth.

    May 17, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Keeth in California

    “I’m not going to give this party over to people who can’t win,” Graham responded.

    You already have - to Boehner and McConnell. The GOP lost in the last two elections. When is this party going to wake up and replace the GOP House and Senate leaders?!?

    May 17, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. tiltjp

    the guy is not a statesman Graham said this ...
    "The release of these old photographs of past behaviour that has now been clearly prohibited can serve no public good, but will empower al-Qaida propaganda operations, hurt our country's image, and endanger our men and women in uniform," they...
    May 13, 2009 (70 occurrences)
    Check out his focus .. would be used as propaganda ... LOL.... he is all about manipulation of information ... propaganda ... that is always his angle ... he is a politician ... who spins and does not act in ways that support the people ... he is a pawn for the military industrial complex ... in whose interest does Ron Paul speak ? We who follow Ron Paul know the answer ... he stands tall with the people not any special interests ... on the outside looking in and wishing the great people of South Carolina all the best in the up coming election ... do the right thing with regards to Graham vote for freedom and responsibility and not for a Graham world view of people are free to do as they are told. Bound limit government not people.

    May 17, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. ED FL

    A perfect example of the kooks along the BIBLE BELT who preach hate and continue to depress their constituencies. They want to keep them in those states as the lower educated , highest divorce rate , most kids out of wedlock and every other less normal failure or desire. The south ws once a proud ,productive,and happy population but since it went GOP it is a disaster,due to Graham and his ilk. Better days are coming in 2010 when you can get rid of these suppressors.

    May 17, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Dan in Chicago

    Wait, Graham, a member of the party that has now experienced major defeats the last two elections, thinks he has what it takes to win?

    I'd take Ron Paul and his ideas over Lindsey Graham any day.

    May 17, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Ken in Fl

    Lindsey Graham you are foolish blind or bought.

    The current GOP is the problem.

    Ron Pauls ideas are the solution.

    May 17, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Phill Bias

    What mister Graham was saying is that he wants a gop without morals or rules ( just like the DEMS ) so i think that mister Graham should desert and grace the dem's with his presents. Even i will never vote REPUBlican again until it fully returns to being the moral choice. If grahams it i guessim a Independant until the GOP becomes a right movement again. So no mister Graham your not a winner , Just a republicrate.........

    May 17, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Annie

    Oh no, Lindsey Graham in a tither again. Isn't that a weekly occurrence?

    May 17, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. independent Jim

    Great comment, Steve from Charleston – and delivered with a sense of intelligent debate over the issues instead of the childness of some other posters.

    May 17, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Dimslie

    Perhaps Graham will have a more credibility as a winner when we forget his promotion of John McCain in 2008.

    May 17, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Proud American

    What future?

    May 17, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Edward

    **“I’m not going to give this party over to people who can’t win,” **

    You mean like that loser, Juan McAmnesty?

    Lindsey graham, you were one of the driving forces that took this party down the road to ruin. For that, you will be held accountable, punk.

    May 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. JR

    Don't you love seeing a dysfunctional family play out their squabbles in public.

    May 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. Paul

    Hurray for Senator Graham. He has the backbone to tell those right wing fruitcakes where thay can go. If the extreme right wing takes over and is exclusive it will ruin our 236 year tradition of a country with a big tent. Maybe they should think twice or three times what can happen when and if they ever take over. There is always the thought of Nazi Germany in the wings. If the Republican party can not come around then their ideals and philosophy should be sent right back to Ripon Wisconsin and burried forever.l

    May 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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