Graham: GOP Obama attacks are 'off base'
March 25th, 2012
10:19 AM ET
10 years ago

Graham: GOP Obama attacks are 'off base'

Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized two Republican presidential candidates for playing politics off President Barack Obama's comments on the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

"I think the criticism by our guys is a little off base," Graham said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

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GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused the president of politicizing the incident in remarks at the White House Friday, while rival Newt Gingrich characterized Obama's comments as "nonsense."

Obama commiserated with the Martins, whose 17-year-old son was shot in Florida by a neighborhood watch volunteer, and said: "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon."

Graham, a South Carolina legislator, said the president did not help the situation by injecting his own voice into the conversation following the shooting.

"We all know there's a racial component to this and when the president highlights it, I don't think it adds a whole lot," Graham told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "I don't really think the president added a whole lot by injecting himself into it."

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Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. AJS

    Obama simply stated what every father of a black son is thinking. There is nothing wrong with a President showing that he is also a family man, with a heart and soul. He has the courage to show us that he is a man, father, husband, first, and that he can relate to all of us on some level.

    March 25, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Wake up people

    My goodness, he was speaking as a father. I feel the same way as a mother of a black son. It's called empathy people. If you don't know what it means, look it up!

    March 25, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Cooper

    Taking my thought off of what AJS' comment, I think the was stating what every father was thinking, it could have easily any father's child in that awful situation. Glad he said it. I am sure the Republicans would have pounced on him if he hadn't said anything.

    March 25, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. Mark

    I am not a republican but I do admire Mr. Graham for putting those 2 hate-soaked idiots in their place.

    March 25, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. Obama wins

    Pres Obama was absolutely 'on' what he said
    These Repub candidates will go to any lengths to tear down our president.
    They are fools. Fools who have divided our country even more by their simpleton rhetoric.
    The R party is going down in flames!

    March 25, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Vader

    Thank you Senator Graham (though your remarks could have been a bit stronger). You are one of the dwindling few on the Right who, though may honestly disagree, show a willingness to listen and think, and understand the importance of doing so.

    March 25, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Annie, Atlanta

    A "little off base?" Seriously. Methinks Lindsay underestimates by a whole lot.

    Maybe it's time we be honest with ourselves, do a little soul searching. How many times have young black men been stopped for walking while black, driving while Black, etc. My sons were raised not to see color. They have friends in the various colors in which humanity comes. They also wear hoodies, lord forbid. Do I have to worry about them when they're walking or riding or standing around with their friends of color? Is this where we really want to go? \

    We've been programmed into thinking these young men in our society pose a threat, which has only been heightened by the dogwhistles, e-mails, and blatant racism we're seeing since we elected an African American President, one who is discarded as valid by a larger segment of our population than I would think possible in an age where information is at our fingertips, literally. Who, in reality, is posing the threat here? Honestly, I'm scared for all of us until we do a little soul searching.

    March 25, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. king

    What a repubs showing logic! This is UN heard of for the past 3 years. Most of what these repubs spew is unrational. If Graham Liberman and I forgot the other warmungerer name is, weren't such warmungerer they would be the only trio of rational leaders the repubs have.

    March 25, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. enkephalin07

    All the candidates were asked for a statement on Trayvon's death, so why shouldn't the President issue one? The media politicized it before he did. And Gingrich showed surprising perception with his statement, but he blockheadedly turned on Obama for saying anything at all.

    March 25, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. chuck weidemann

    Obama spoke as a father...not everyone is so blind as to see only with their eyes. When candidates speak only as attack machines,only as destroy your opponent screw what is right or moral,as Newt and Santorum have they lose their humanity. Lindsey Graham is human and spoke like one.

    March 25, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Scef

    I appreciate the partial compliment and the scolding of the GOP candidates by Graham. Zimmerman's attorney stated that the Stand Your Ground law does not apply to this case.
    Zimmerman was the individual who pursued and initiated contact with Trayvon against the instructions of the 911 operator. These were aggressive actions. One then can surmise that the original aggressor, Zimmerman, then escalated the confrontation into a physical altercation. One can further surmise that a 240 lb man was unable to physically subdue a 140 lb unarmed kid. While losing the physical confrontation that the aggressor initiated, he then brandished his 9mm automatic handgun and shot the unarmed kid dead.

    March 25, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  12. Dave Harris

    It makes you wonder if there's anything Obama could possibly do or say that Republicans would not try to twist into something evil. If the cure for cancer were discovered, and Obama praised it, what would they say? That he was denying cancer cells their 'right to life'? That not having to die of cancer was "socialism"? It's hard to imagine any sort of craziness that's beyond them.

    March 25, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. easydoesit

    I think the neighborhood watch zealot made the worst mistake of his life. However it seems the neighborhood he lived in was filled with crime and he overreacted. I don't see this as a hate crime though.

    March 25, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Just a thought

    I too feel the President simply spoke to what any father would feel and say. Please tell me why any decent person wouldn't feel how tragic this really is. And no its not about color, its about being a human being, something the GOP/Tea Clowns have lost somehow.

    March 25, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. Scef

    @Annie Atlanta I bow at your feet. Your post is so true for blacks, whites, and all Americans.

    March 25, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. JustMe

    But if he hadn't said anything the GOP would still be complaining. And although I did not see the press conference it was my understanding Obama was just answering when asked about it.

    March 25, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. mtbeau

    So much hate from the "right" is directed toward the President, that very little common sense is used.
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson said:
    "There is no shame in not knowing. The problem exists when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance."

    March 25, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. TiredOftheBS

    Do people not get he was ASKED about it. He didn't INJECT himself into anything.. jeez

    March 25, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Graham: GOP Obama attacks are 'off base'◄
    I am SHOCKED a GOP is standing up and calling ginGRINCH & Santorum a DISGRACE
    Also MANY here are really missing the POINT when they mention Obama should have spoken out
    When WHITES are attacked by Blacks in crimes that may have been the same as Trayvon's bout!!!!

    NO ONE is saying that Trayvon’s incident does not happen in the reverse
    And those who feel it DOES should examine the outcome of the Black “Perps”
    Are they roaming in the streets – PROUD of their corruption – Bragging about their BUST!!
    Hell no – they are in JAIL – for ALL levels of crimes – In reality in jail all you see is “JUST US!!!!!”

    This is NOT a CASE about RACE
    ginGRINCH and Santorum need to FACE
    The fact that THEIR comments were a DISGRACE
    And they should apologize – But they’re NOT – they are WHITE and always SAFE on BASE!!

    Obama 2012 – The ONLY Trusted Way Forward!!!

    March 25, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. out of step

    And if it had been a white boy who was killed by a black youth, and it gained this much attention, these same republicans would be asking the president to make a comment on it. Let's face it, Newt watches president Obama eat a hamburger and comments about the president eating alot and not doing enough to help the hungry... ie... Newt wants that hamburger, he has a gut to fill up.

    March 25, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Doug Ericson

    It looks like Lindsey has slimmed down some. He is going to be President someday.

    March 25, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. Jerseygirl

    @Annie of Atlanta: so true, so true!
    @Dave Harris: if more people believed like you, then the current President's poll numbers would be way higher. But the Repubs have made it their mission to discredit him at every point, and so you get Sanctimonious & 'ol Newty injecting themselves into what the President said; no matter what he said, they would find a reason to discredit him! But you see, the low-informaiton Faux-News watcher will never see that...too bad...

    March 25, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Jules

    Hello! There are off base about everything they say about President Obama. Also, the president wasn't adding a racial overtone to the whole episode, he was stating a fact.

    March 25, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. c'mon america

    Senator Grahams comments suprised me , and i'm thankfull for that suprise. Poll after poll shows that 90% of Americans want the same things . It is but a small percentage of people that want us to believe we are so different . Hopefully the senators remarks will go a long way to demonstrate how close we really are as a people in our thoughts and feelings . A son is a son , adaughter is a daughter , aparent

    March 25, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Scef

    @T'sah Virginia Damn sister, they have you PO'd, go get'em. Having going to college at Hampton, serving at Ft. Lee, and living in Richmond for 2 years, I feel you.

    March 25, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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