Lindsey Graham In Eyes Wide Shut
The following is a transcript from part of the August 31, 2008 broadcast of This Week with George Stephanopoulos with guest, the less than honorable Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
George Stephanopoulos: I want to show everybody what you said about Senator McCain’s criteria for Vice President back in May. Take a look.
Lindsey Graham (on tape): He’ll pick a vice presidential nominee that he thinks will help the country if something happened to him, someone who will lead the country if something happened to him…
George Stephanopoulos: Is that the criteria Senator McCain used, someone who could lead the country if something happened to him?
Lindsey Graham: I think what he was looking for is a partner to tell a story about what he wants to do in Washington. The idea of Washington being broken is accepted by most Americans. The Congress is at 12% approval rating. Who are the 12% and what do they like? John has a reputation of being a guy pushing the institution called Congress. And Senator…excuse me…Governor Palin, what she’s done in Alaska is what we would hope to do in Washington. That’s why he picked her.
George Stephanopoulos: But is she ready to serve on day one? It sounds like you’re shifting the criteria.
Lindsey Graham: I think so. I think so. Compared to Barak Obama absolutely. She has done things that Barack Obama would never dream of. To go in her state and say I’m not going to build a bridge to nowhere. A 400 million dollar appropriation that was passed by brute force in the Congress between two senior members of the congressional delegation, very powerful figures in Washington and for her to say to the citizens of Alaska, we’re not going to do this cause this is not necessary it’s wasteful. Take on your own Republican…
George Stephanopoulos: But Senator, she turned against that only she campaigned for it in her 2006 race and turned against it in 2007 only after it became a national joke.
Lindsey Graham: Well, the point is that she had the courage to say we’re not going to do it ’cause it’s not the right signal we want to send to everybody else in Alaska. She took on the Republican Party chairman and called him unethical. She took on the attorney general who eventually resigned because he was doing things that were inappropriate. I’m in politics. I voted against the bridge to nowhere. I was one of 14. Scared the heck out of me because I knew what was going to come my way. I can’t imagine being the Governor of this state and telling the people who were able to secure the bridge we’re not going to do it.
George Stephanopoulos: But what national security experience does she have?
Lindsey Graham: She’s been a Governor. She’s been in charge of the National Guard. More than Obama. What has he done? What has he done? What has Senator Obama done in terms of managing a war? The only time he’s been involved in war is was when he voted in Iraq. He voted to cut off funding to people in the war. He opposed the surge. Said it wouldn’t work. That it would make things worse. His judgment when it comes to matters of war have been terrible. She’s tough. She’s talented. She’s ready to lead.
George Stephanopoulos: But Senator, Karl Rove and other Republicans when Governor Tim Cain was being considered said that the National Guard experience is irrelevant. That’s what President Bush said about Governor Clinton back in 1992. What do you say to this Republican delegate from Mobile, Alabama, Todd Burkhalter? He says this, “We’re in a global war. We’re in a global economy. So it is less than honest if someone says that this woman is qualified to lead America right now.”
Lindsey Graham: I would say that compared to Senator Obama she is qualified beyond belief to change the culture in Washington that is…
George Stephanopoulos: But that’s the argument that you’ve been using against Senator Obama.
Lindsey Graham: The argument I’ve been using…
George Stephanopoulos: So how does she meet the standard that John McCain is setting?
Lindsey Graham: When you look at her resume of being a Governor versus his resume of being a Senator, he’s been gone more than he’s been there. She’s been in office since 2006. She’s vetoed budgets that were excessive. She has given money back to the people of Alaska by tax cuts. She’s reformed institutions that have been incredibly broken. She’s been bold. She’s been a leader. She’s put her own political career at risk. And Senator Obama’s been gone more than he’s been here. And he’s never challenged his own party to do anything different. So John McCain is trying to tell the American people, ‘I got it. You think your government is broken? So do I. I picked somebody that knows how to fix broken governments. I picked somebody that will stand up to powerful people in her own backyard and together we’re going to change this place.’ Joe Biden is a wonderful man but there’s not a change bone in his body when it comes to budgets and spending.
George Stephanopoulos: But he does have more national security experience.
Lindsey Graham: He has more national security experience but experience and judgment need to come together. He voted against the first gulf war. He opposed the surge. He wanted to petition Iraq. I think Governor Palin has the characteristics of a leader that can take over on a moments notice. But the most qualified person to be commander in chief of all four is John McCain.
George Stephanopoulos: So Senator McCain wins and, god forbid, tragedy strikes, you’d feel confident safe and assure, a year from now.
Lindsey Graham: I would dread the day Senator Obama takes the oath to become commander-in-chief.
George Stephanopoulos: That’s not what I asked.
Lindsey Graham: Well, let me tell you, here’s my choices. My choice is to elect him, Barack Obama, who got it incredibly wrong in Iraq, who would sit down with Ahmadinejad and change the whole dynamic of the Middle East by empowering a nut and sending every wrong signal to extremists and moderates. His judgment has been terrible. Proven to be terrible. I would be proud to call her my President. I think she can step in and fill the agenda domestically and internationally that John McCain wants to set for the country. Compared to Barack Obama I think she’d make one hell of a commander-in-chief.
George Stephanopoulos: Our next guess is Senator John Kerry. I want to show you a bit of what he said at the Democratic National Convention. Take a look.
John Kerry (on tape): Senator McCain who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target has morphed into candidate McCain who has used the same Rove tactics, the same Rove staff, the same old politics of fear and smear…
George Stephanopoulos: Your response?
Lindsey Graham: I don’t know what he’s talking about. Who have we feared or smeared? We’ve run ads questioning whether or not Barack Obama is a celebrity or a leader. We’re putting questions out there about Senator Obama. What has he actually done? He’s been in the Senate since 2006, he’s been gone more than he’s been there, he’s never reached across the aisle to do one hard thing, and when it came to Iraq he went 2 and a 1/2 years without visiting the country, never sat down and talked to General Petraeus about how the surge is going, declared the surge a failure, never got engaged at all, went to Iraq because we made him go, shamed him into going, comes back and says the surge still hasn’t worked and I wouldn’t have changed my vote. So what we’ve tried to do is expose the guy for the calculating politician that he is. And Governor Palin, whether you think she’s a good choice or not, I can tell you she’s got a resume of taking on hard issues and standing up to tough people. If you could take on Ted Stevens and that crowd in Alaska then you can take on the Russians.
George Stephanopoulos: Senator Graham than you very much.
Lindsey Graham: Thank you.
I really could not believe what I was hearing. I know the good Senator from South Carolina is only doing his best to support his friend and colleague Senator John McCain with his decision to select Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. But goddamn! If someone can’t see that Mr. Graham’s responses in this interview was thick with bias and utter contempt, they must truly be pretty thick themselves.
Mr. Graham asked who did he fear and who did he smear. Well, for starters, off the top of my head, I would have to say Senator Obama. Mr. Graham talks about how much he will dread the day Mr. Obama takes the oath for President. That smells a lot like the stench of the fear of a coward. And when it comes to smear, all the comments about Mr. Obama being gone more than he’s been present in the Senate would qualify. Without supplying any facts or any numbers Mr. Graham will call to question Mr. Obama’s attendance. The man is running for the presidency after all. How does it compare to Mr. McCain’s attendance since he started his campaign for the presidency?
According to the Washington Post dot COM website, Mr. Obama does have one of the worst voting records in the United States Senate for the 110th Congress. Mr. Obama missed two hundred ninety votes with an absentee record of forty five point five percent. He has in fact been present more times than he has been absent. But if absenteeism was an Olympic event, Mr. Obama would only get the bronze medal. Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who suffered a brain hemorrhage on December 13, 2006, and spent several months in recovery, has a worse record. It should be understandable considering what he went through. Mr. Johnson missed three hundred eleven votes with an absentee rate of forty eight point seven percent. But that only entitles Mr. Johnson for second place. The top honors for most votes missed goes to Mr. Graham’s good friend absentee king Mr. McCain who has missed four hundred seven votes making his absentee rate a substantial sixty three point eight percent. Mr. McCain’s has missed nearly two out of every three votes in the Senate. Mr. Graham is a politician so it is pointless to say that he should get his facts straight. Surely this must fall in the smear category. Please click here to verify these numbers for yourself.
The idea that the twenty month old Governor of Alaska has more experience that a four year old United States Congressional Senator (Mr. Obama has been a U.S. Senator since 2004 and not since 2006 as Mr. Graham contends) is bold faced ridiculousness at its very worst. Ms. Palin vetoed a budget that is fiscally the size of a city like Birmingham, Alabama and that gives her presidential experience? Please! The next thing we know Mr. Graham will say that because she tried to fire her sister’s Alaskan state trooper husband she has experience going after terrorist. Mr. Graham would have more credibility selling the public on the notion that Mr. Obama is indeed a Muslim hate monger.
Mr. Graham obviously doesn’t think much of his job as Senator. Mr. Graham believes that Senators don’t run the National Guard so they are incapable of obtaining military experience. Mr. Graham also believes that Senators don’t veto budgets so they can’t have any national fiscal experience. With the criteria that Mr. Graham list in his diatribe against Mr. Obama the leader of Boy Scout troop number whatever would have more experience. Maybe the people of South Carolina should rethink who they send to represent them in the United States Senate. Obviously Mr. Graham thinks any yahoo from Wasilla, Alaska could do a better job.