Graham Stumps on National Security and Deficit Reduction but Challenged on Immigration
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is seeking the Republican nomination, was joined by Sen. John McCain in New England College’s Concord Center. Both senators spoke to a packed house. John McCain, no stranger to campaigning in New Hampshire used humor and praise for New Hampshire’s retail politics to introduce Sen. Graham. The prepared remarks were limited to two major themes: National Security and Deficit Reduction. Graham warned the audience that the United States must solve these two critical issues. Graham embraced retail politics, limiting his remarks and fielding questions from the audience for over an hour.
The most heated questions centered around both senators being challenged on immigration reform. Graham staked a position that might not appeal to segments of the Republican base but may appeal to moderates and independents, who can vote on the Republican primary. Saying while a secure border is essential and an imperative, he is against deporting the “eleven million” illegal immigrants.
He focused on expanding legal immigration especially for students who get degrees in STEM fields, allowing trained individuals to stay in the United States. Citing the demographic statistics dealing with the aging and retirement trends of Baby Boomers, the senator stated the country needed to have a strong work force. He reminded the audience that for any progress on legislation related to immigration is to be made, Republicans and Democrats must be able to agree.
When asked about global warming, Graham also tried to appeal to independent voters, by saying that while he is no scientist, when “nine out of ten climate scientist” agree that there is global warming, he is not in a position to second guess them. But he stated that tacking this problem could not be at the expense of destroying the U.S. economy.
The Senator seemed most comfortable when dealing with national security. He suggested that President Obama weakened America when he drew a “redline” in Syria and did not back up his rhetoric with action. “Iran, China, and Russia saw that as weakness.”
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