Lindsey Graham said he doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the polls and will continue campaigning hard in New Hampshire and Iowa in his quest to become the next president of the United States.
Graham, Republican senator from Central, S.C., told a room of about 50 potential voters Sunday at Uncle Mikey’s Brick Oven Pizza in Murrells Inlet that he feels as though he’s doing well in New Hampshire.
“It’s a small state where I can get to know the people there,” Graham said. “It’s a steady, slow walk. But with 15 or 16 candidates, it’s hard to break out. (About) 250,000 people vote in New Hampshire ... and with this many (candidates), if you can get 10 or 15 percent of the vote, you’re in pretty good shape.”
Ultimately, when it comes to being commander in chief, experience is what voters are going to care about. They want someone who is ready to be commander in chief on day one. I’m better prepared than anyone else.”
Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senator to South Carolina and presidential candidate
Graham – who is polling at 0.0 percent, according to www.RealClearPolitics.com – said he plans to campaign in the first-the-nation primary state with former presidential nominee Sen. John McCain in the coming weeks. McCain won the New Hampshire primary in 2008 before going on to win the Republican nomination.
“I’m going to work on getting known nationally,” he said. “I’m going to get to New Hampshire, meet as many people as I can, get support and keep this campaign financed.”
Graham said he feels as though his experience in the U.S. Senate and knowledge of important campaign topics including foreign policy and the deficit make him the best person to be the next president, despite polls showing that voters seem to favor political newcomers such as business man Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
“Ultimately, when it comes to being commander in chief, experience is what voters are going to care about,” he said. “They want someone who is ready to be commander in chief on day one. I’m better prepared than anyone else.
“But I will support the nominee,” he said. “If it’s Donald Trump, I will support Donald Trump. Because I am a Republican and I will support the will of the party.”
Murrells Inlet resident Richard Hanson said he decided to drop in to Graham’s campaign stop to hear what he had to say. He said he hasn’t been to see any of the other presidential candidates who’ve made stops along the Grand Strand.
“I thought it was good, but it’s like a politician,” he said. “Everybody talks. I want to see action.”
Hanson said his biggest concern was the national deficit and asked Graham a few questions about what the presidential hopeful planned to do to control it.
“My daughters are in their 20s,” he said. “I want them to grow up with what I grew up with. ... I want them to have the opportunities that I had.”
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott will host a town hall with presidential candidate Lindsey Graham 11:30 a.m. Monday at Crown Reef Resort in Myrtle Beach. Crown Reef is located at 2913 S. Ocean Blvd.
Graham said he thinks that the next president should adjust the retirement age to reflect that people are living longer and people who make more should be OK giving up more money.
“People at my income level have got to give some up,” he said of ways to bolster the social security program. “I’d give up some of my money to save a system worth saving.”
Hanson said he’s not sure Graham is the candidate he’ll eventually vote for in next February’s primary. He said if he had to vote today, the ticket he’d want to vote for is U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as president and businesswoman Carly Fiorina as vice president.
“[Graham’s] a good person, but I need to see action,” Hanson said.
Graham said he plans to continue to run on his experience and believes that experience will resonate with voters – something he will convey to voters Monday morning during a town hall with U.S. Sen. Tim Scott at Crown Reef Resort in Myrtle Beach.
“I have a plan and I have the drive,” he said. “I think I have the background and experience. But more than anything else, I have the heard to be the next president of the United States.”