June 28th, 2009
12:50 PM ET
13 years ago

Graham: 'I don't think Democrats are for dysfunctional families'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/28/art.sanford0628.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, pictured, was lucky to have his wife, Jenny Sanford."]
(CNN) - After recent confessions of adultery by two Republican politicians, Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday decided against casting the first - or any - stones regarding ethics.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Graham, R-South Carolina, went out of his way to avoid any disparaging comments about rival Democrats in terms of family values. When former Massachusetts governor and fellow Republican Mitt Romney spoke of strong families as a core Republican value, Graham quickly interjected on behalf of rival Democrats.

"I don't think Democrats are for dysfunctional families," Graham said, adding that President Barack Obama has been "one of the better role models in the entire country" as a good family man and a good father.

"President Obama has done a lot of good in the way he carries himself and conducts himself" regarding family, Graham said.

His comment followed questions about South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who admitted last week that his disappearance for five days was due to visiting his mistress in Argentina. Earlier this month, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada also admitted to an affair.

Graham said he was godfather to one of Sanford's four sons and that Sanford's top priority must be to reconcile with his wife, Jenny, and keep his family together. If Sanford does that, Graham said, then he believes the governor can serve the rest of his term, which expires in January 2011.

"Mark Sanford's lucky to have Jenny Sanford," Graham said. "I hope he realizes that. I think he does."

Filed under: Jenny Sanford • Lindsey Graham • Mark Sanford
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Longwolf

    DYSFUNCTIONAL YES – Yes Democrats are dysfunctional when they put emphasis on music makers and movie stars and let the rest of the world go hungry, depressed, bondage and the likes of Iran, Saudia Arabia, Syria Pakistan, Libya and Osama Bin Laden go unpunished. Our government leaders are more interested in illicit sex, money and fame than they are of their citizens. It is a disgrace when our now PRESIDENT feels it neccessary to acknowlege a PEDIFIER. But then race does supercede.

    June 28, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Lynn

    Teflon Mitt Romney is a loser. Why are people putting him on television?

    June 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. B.H.

    Counter to what Graham says about Sandford’s term, he should be removed!!

    June 28, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Hugo

    I don't care who they sleep with, all America expects is that they do the job they're elected to do! Enforce our immigration laws, prosecute corruption in our Government and serve your constituents, not your lobbyist groups for BIG Oil and Giant CORPORATIONS! 2010 Clean House!!

    June 28, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Claudia in Houson

    Sanford isn't resigning because he sees he can have it all; one year left in office and his mistress will be waiting with open arms. Remember this is a 8 year relationship so what is one more year. If you think he's not playing the GOP, think again.

    June 28, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. JayG

    GL: I think the playing field is kind of level when it comes to sleezy politicians democrats or republicans. And I seem to remember President Clinton doing it as the most powerful man in the world in front of the whole country, nothing slimier than that.

    June 28, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. Shingo

    Why Lindsey Graham? What's up with that? And using the line not casting stones? Why now? They do it every week but today they are not going to cast stones? Interesting. Whats in their past?

    June 28, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Henry

    CNN not biased for the Repiglicans? RIGHT!!!!

    John King, Mr Independed (sure) Lou Dobbs, are right wing water carriers much the same as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are. At least MSNBC does not pretend to be unbiased.

    June 28, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. D. Tree

    Good for Graham, its the most sensible thing he's ever said. Republicans need to stop acting they own good values.

    June 28, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Denna

    Thank you Senator Graham. Democrats are not in favor of dysfunctional families. We are just a little ticked about Republicans always insisting that they are the party of family values and high morals. Last I checked, Republicans were humans too. Gov. Sanford, while espousing the usual GOP talking points, strayed. He proved, as we Liberals always knew, that Conservatives are flawed human beings who make mistakes. I truly hope that when the next round of elections come up that the Republicans can come up with some realistic talking points and skip the self-righteous gloating about how they espouse family values while the Godless liberals don't. Remember, you are as human and we are.

    June 28, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. Ennis, LA

    Like the Democrats are any different? Spitzer, McGreevy, Edwards,
    were all caught with their pants down. Maybe if Bill Clinton wasn't
    given a pass from the public in the Monica affair, the others would
    have kept their britches buttoned up tight!

    June 28, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. ThinkAboutIt

    To everyone who thinks CNN is picking on Republicans: The GOP is doing this to themselves. It would be negligent of CNN to not report on Sanford going AWOL on Father's Day, having an affair when he publically espouses "family values" and refuses stimulus money but has no qualms using taxpayer money to fund his trips to see his mistress.

    Accountability and calling elected officials on their hypocrisy is important; I personally don't want slimedogs like Sanford getting away with his immoral and (potentially) illegal behavior.

    June 28, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. Kelsey

    Well, as a Democrat, I would tend to agree simply because I think a lot of what the Republicans have done (especially in the last campaign) was very dirty and wrong. With that being said, Democrat's do have the John Edwards issue. It doesn't quite equate to the numerous issues Repubs have had (Sarah Palin's issues being one of them) but I'd say each party has their own issues.

    I do think that Obama has been a great role model for many men and his wife a great role model for many women. They seem like a great, loving family and I think they are a family people should strive to be like!

    June 28, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. renea

    I feel that Democrats can have good family values but unlike the republicans they donot have their noses stuck in the air, they dont put their standards too high where they cant live up to them, The comment about The president being a good family man is true and im glad that he dont have his nose stuck in the air where he can not empathize with other people.

    June 28, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Nice distraction! But the fact remains that the GOP is in trouble not because of their moral hypocrisy, but because they have no alternative plans for the country. Their 'alternative' budget was 16 pages and had NO NUMBERS! Their 'alternate' health care plan had no cost estimate on anything, was just a 3 page outline, and 80% of it was just stolen from the Obama health care plan. They need to spend more time actually thinking and coming up with real, workable plans, instead of whining about Obama, grand-standing on moral issues, or running for president! They would actually be contenders for a change!

    June 28, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Peter E

    Does Lindsey Graham ever have any ideas of his own or does he just parrot Rush Limbaugh all the time? Graham never comes up with any real, workable policies of his own, he spends 100% of his time either criticizing democrats or making excuses for his fellow republicans. Just like Rush Limbaugh. Is this what taxpayers are paying his salary for?

    June 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. JS007

    First, cudos to Graham for speaking the truth for a change, even if it conflicts with the party line. Second, Sanford should not have to get back with his wife as a condition of keeping his job. Why force a man to live a lie? He obviously loves the woman in Argentina. I personally think that Sanford is a bad governor because he is wreckless and puts his own ambitions ahead of the benefit of his people (e.g. rejecting the stimulus so he'd look tough for 2012 while his state suffers). Therefore, fire Sanford for the proper reasons, not for following his heart.

    June 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Gerald Shields

    It's interesting that the Republicans "preach" core family values then when one of them fails to practice those values then most of them revert to a "Nobody's Perfect" mantra. I think that's the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Even when one Democrat gets popped, well they didn't collectively as a party market themselves as for the family did they?

    June 28, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Northwest Washington

    First Sanford gets caught using State tax payer money to fund some of his trips to Argentina and now he has committed to pay the State of SC back for these trips. Hmmm. This must mean that it is going to come out of his own pocket which is also half of his wifes pocket to fund his trist.

    If I was Mrs. Sanford I would file for divorce tomorrow and get this loser out of my life and away from my children ASAP.

    June 28, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Scott

    Apparently the democrats have forgotten about their stories of infidelity in their ranks. Yes, the republicans have brought this on themselves. But, infidelity and family values is a bipartisan issue.

    June 28, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. fred

    This week I heard a democratic strategist heated because he was sick of republicans telling people how to run families and then doing stuff like what Sanford did. And then I realized that he was making the dumbest argument ever, because it's not like democrats are for having affairs or see nothing wrong with it. This is something that almost everyone thinks is wrong. Everyone tells everyone not to have affairs. While traditional marriage and abortion are more partisan family issues, this whole affairs issue is quite bi-partisan in that everyone is against it.

    June 28, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. fred

    gl, Graham called Obama weak on Iran. You can be a good role model as a parent and still be a not so good leader when it comes to foreign affairs. That is not hypocrisy on Graham's part.

    June 28, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. DawnL,CA

    "Mark Sanford is lucky to have Jenny Sanford"

    Jenny Sanford is not lucky to have a cheating, lying,dirtbag like Mark Sanford. Ditch him, Ms. Sanford. Once a cheater, always a cheater.

    June 28, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Carl Justus

    Whoever started the rumor that the republicans were better family members than any other party was either drunk, on drugs, or had learning problems of some kind and a tongue that wagged before the brain woke up.

    I have found that no one has a monoply on family values and I have seen family values decrease across all walks of life in my years. I have seen a slowly decline in all kinds of values that were taken for granted 60 years ago.

    June 28, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. sifto77

    glpittsburgh–unlike the left, Graham does not have to agree with Obama's policies to compliment him on being a good family man. great difference with those who smear Sarah Palin's lovely family because they don't agree with her policies.

    June 28, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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