August 4th, 2013
10:05 AM ET
10 years ago

Graham praises Obama administration; trip to Egypt still on

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(CNN) – One of President Barack Obama’s most vocal critics in the Senate said Sunday that he approves of how the administration is handling the recent terror threats.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, also said he plans to continue his trip to Egypt with fellow Republican Sen. John McCain, despite a United States global travel alert amid fears that al Qaeda may launch attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond in coming weeks

“I appreciate what the administration is doing. They're taking the right approach to this,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. announced it would close 22 embassies and consulates Sunday, including in Yemen, which was a focus of concern.

Graham, who’s on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said this was the appropriate action, compared with actions before last year’s terror attack against a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

“The threats were real there. The reporting was real. And we basically dropped the ball,” he said. “We've learned from Benghazi, thank God, and the administration is doing this right.”

The senator said the attack in Benghazi, which left four Americans dead, further fueled momentum for those wanting to terrorize the U.S. And he remains highly critical of the administration’s handling of the aftermath of the attack.

“A year has passed, and no one's paid a price. After Benghazi, these al Qaeda types are really on steroids, thinking we're weaker and they're stronger,” he told Candy Crowley, CNN’s chief political correspondent.

Their goal, he said, is ultimately to get Western interests out of the Mideast.

“This is an effort to terrorize us, to drive us out of the Mideast. And if we ever take the bait and try to come home and create fortress America, you’ll have another 9/11,” he said.

Graham said he would be leaving for Egypt “very soon,” where he and McCain will urge military leaders to begin the democratic process of turning over control to civilians and hold elections.

Asked if the senators plan to have extra security as they travel, Graham said “I hope we are.”

“If you’re going to pick between the two of us, Sen. McCain is far more valuable than I am,” he joked.

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

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. rla

    Like these two know how to tell the Egyptans how to run their lives. I think they got it right– their revolution was hi-jacked by radicals and they are saying NO THANKS! GET OUT OF THEIR WAY!

    August 4, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. Donkey Party

    Well, it lloks like Graham just sealed his fate. Any time a GOPer praises Obama, they get banished from the party for being a RINO or a Liberal.

    August 4, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Donkey Party

    Well, it looks like Graham just sealed his fate. Any time a GOPer praises Obama, they get banished from the party for being a RINO or a Liberal.

    August 4, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Why they think the Islamists won't simply wait one day, or two days......and then carry out their attacks, is beyond me.

    Graham has really lost it, recently, and no longer represents his state in a meaningful way.

    August 4, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. don in albuquerque

    @Rick McDaniel-So you would just ignore it? What a Bushy thing to do. I believe he ignored warnings of 9/11. But so common in the right wing.

    August 4, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. fuzzback

    So, maybe one less republican. What's the problem?

    August 4, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. ed dugan

    When both sides realize there is NO solution to the problems of the Middle East and that we should just leave them to their sorry selves, the world might have a chance to just sit back and watch them kill themselves over silly religous rules. Look at Israel and learn. How many years and not an inch of progress. It's like trying to get a divorced couple who had a really nasty breakup to consider reconciliation. Not a chance!

    August 4, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Graham Praises Obama. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Graham and others within his party are finally understanding that "just say no" isn't working for the GOP?

    Too bad Mr. Graham and others within his party in and outside of Washington D.C. spent the better part of 5 years ignoring all the hate filled comments directed at this President and the majority of Americans who support him. Quite often Mr. Graham and others within his party encouraged that hate with their own incendiary comments against Mr. Obama and his majority of supporters.

    It's going to be a heck of a 2014 mid term election. I can't wait for the talking points coming from Mr. Limbaugh; Mr. Hannity; Ms Coulter; Mr. Beck; the Koch brothers. THEY run the Grand Old Party now. THEY are the leaders.

    Not Graham. Not McCain. Not Boehner.

    August 4, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. DC

    when I read the headline, I knew it would either be about Lindsey or McCaine.

    August 4, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. bcrunner

    @Rick McDaniel: I am sure the administration is taking that into consideration. I think they announced the closings just to make sure the world knows we are on alert... Even though I don't agree with all his politics, I wish we had a lot more of Grahams these days as opposed to the Rand Pauls, Ted Cruzes and David Lees..... you know... the wacko birds...

    August 4, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Splasher6

    other words Barry thanks for not screwing this one up....

    August 4, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. OrangeBlue81

    It's good to see a Republican actually give proper praise to the President and not just emit hate like so many of his fellow party members. Good for McCain and good for Graham.

    August 4, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. MJ

    So the most warmongering, bloodthirsty GOP holds praise for Obama? That certainly doesn't speak well for Obama seeing how Graham is nothing but a bloodthirsty liberal.

    August 4, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. JCDavis

    Lindsey Graham and Barack Obama, the two in our government with the shadiest backgrounds and the easiest meat for NSA blackmail. So it's no surprise that they are hitched together to do the grunt work of our secret government.

    August 4, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. Quixote

    lindsey is a demure southern belle who appreciates a handsome man of color......

    If he would act in the senate in a way commensurate with this praise it would mean a whole lot more. If he could get a handful of his fellow conservatives to actually do something productive insted of constant obstructionism......

    August 4, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. Bolaji99

    “If you’re going to pick between the two of us, Sen. McCain is far more valuable than I am,” Either or both of you would make the opposition salivate, so there's much need for extra security. McCain has been in the hands of the enemy before albeit in his much younger days. With a name like Lindsey, doubtful Graham would last in captivity.

    August 4, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. bear

    The 2 parties are more alike than different:

    Foreign policy is the same with the same results.
    Bush passed prescription drugs, Obama passed Obamacare
    Bush increase federal involvement into schools with NCLB, Obama further increased it.
    Bush did nothing about China's unfair trade, neither has Obama
    Bush did nothing about illegal immigration, neither has Obama
    Bush spent billions on defense, so has Obama
    and on and on.

    Both parties have strong libertarian groups which want the same things. The DEMs libertarians prioritize no government involvement in personal lives, the GOP libertarians prioritize no government involvement in economic activity. But both libertarian groups want the same overall thing. Its time these 2 groups got behind a true libertarian candidate. Voting for either party is self defeating for a libertarian, because both parties are wed to strong, large, expensive government.

    August 4, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. TD

    As Splasher said, "thanks for not screwing this one up." That's all there is to say.

    August 4, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. LiveFreeOrDie

    That a passing positive comment from across the isle makes news shows how politically divided Washington has become. Sad.

    August 4, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. LiveFreeOrDie

    ...oops "aisle", but a fitting slip!

    August 4, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. Daze Bell

    This should be a wake up call to every Obama supporter in America. Candidate Obama promised to have the most transparent administration in history and to roll back the egregious abuses of presidential power started by the Bush Administration. Instead, President Obama has not only not reversed the abuses, but has pushed them out to previously unthinkable levels. Between Bush and Obama,the 4th amendment (yes, #4 in our treasured Bill of Rights) is dead. Instead of a right to due process and and protection from illegal search and seizure, we are left with the Patriot Act, NSA-driven wiretapping, IRS abuses, and drone strikes on American citizens.

    The fact that Lindsay Graham and John McCain are now Barack Obama fanboys does nothing but prove my point. This is NOT the President Barack Obama that we were promised by Candidate Obama, This is the president that we were promised and predicted by George Orwell.

    August 4, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Gary

    I took in a snake once as a pet, just when I thought he was a true friend, the damn thing bit me. Look out Mr President, a snake is a snake is a snake. This one has two heads.

    August 4, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. davecu

    Good to know that Al Qaeda is on the decline.

    I, too, salute Barry for seeing the world AS IT IS rather than what his advisers tell him.

    August 4, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. PJ

    Of course he "praised Obama". After all, he has been chosen to go to Egypt, along with his tied at the hip
    cohort. They will strut around, taking notes, and feeling oh, so important. Then they will return home
    and blather on and on about how they have all the answers, and the President had better listen up.
    Two hot-air ballloons drifting over Egypt with nothing to offer.

    August 4, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. SpgfldTom

    Graham was misquoted....what he meant to say was "the Obama administration is doing a good job of channeling the the leadership style of Jimmy Carter". I think the thought of spending quality time with John McCain confused (I know it would me).

    August 4, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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