FOX News Channel "Your Election Headquarters" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Lindsey Graham
Date: April 2, 2008
Location: Unknown

FOX News Channel "Your Election Headquarters"

MS. KELLY: Well, the big question tonight among Republicans -- who will McCain pick as his number two? The GOP nominee today saying he is in fact putting together his list of names. And he may nail down a choice before the party's convention this summer. Well, our next guest just returned from a trip overseas with Senator McCain, and he could be on that short list. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham joins us now.

Good evening, Senator.

SEN. GRAHAM: That was a great segment before. I really enjoyed that.

MS. KELLY: Right. It's good, right? We enjoyed having them on. And we enjoy having you on. And the question that we have for you tonight is, come on, have you talked about it? Have you and McCain at least talked about it?

SEN. GRAHAM: No.

MS. KELLY: Oh, come on!

SEN. GRAHAM: (Laughs.) No. And honest to goodness, we've traveled all over the world together. He's got a committee. I don't know who's on the list. I know this -- he's got a lot of good people to choose from. And we'll see. I think his idea of picking sooner rather than later makes sense.

MS. KELLY: Do you want the job?

SEN. GRAHAM: No. Why would I want to cut my life short? Senators from South Carolina live to be about 100, so I'm in a pretty good spot right here.

MS. KELLY: (Laughs.) Interesting tactic, okay. Let me shift gears with you for a minute and talk to you about McCain's effort in the meantime to shore up the Republican Party and his conservative base, or THE conservative base, which he has admitted he needs to win this general election. James Dobson coming out and saying to The Wall Street Journal that he has seen no evidence that McCain is successfully unifying the Republican Party or drawing conservatives into his fold. Of course, James Dobson, a prominent Christian conservative leader. Your response to that? That could be a real problem for Senator McCain.

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I respect Dr. Dobson, but I think there's ample evidence that Senator McCain is enjoying support from conservatives all over the place. And I won't run down the list of people who have come out in support of John McCain, but the reason I'm confident conservatives will be there for John is because for 24 or 25 years, he's been a fiscal, social, economic conservative. And at the end of the day, Megyn, the choice as to who's going to be on the Supreme Court looms large in this next election. And John says that Alito and Roberts are his models. The idea of making the Bush tax cuts permanent is center stage. The idea of allowing withdrawal from Iraq without consequence, allowing al Qaeda to get back in the fight and sending a signal to Iran that we're going to give up in the Mideast, these are issues that will rally conservatives to John's side. He's been a solid conservative. He doesn't have universal agreement on every issue, but that won't be the test. The test will be John McCain is a conservative, Obama and Clinton are liberal. And independents will gravitate to John, because he's his own man. I like that. I really do.

MS. KELLY: How does McCain get past this problem that folks like Dobson have with the fact that -- well, Dobson pointed out two things. He said, number one, his position on supporting embryonic stem cell research is an issue for him. And he said, number two, his refusal to support the marriage amendment, his decision to say, let's leave it to the states and not add a ban to the U.S. Constitution on gay marriage are problems for conservatives.

SEN. GRAHAM: I really believe conservatives are going to rally to John's side. They are, in large numbers. The Republican senators are all behind John. John's pro-life. Obama and Clinton are pro- choice. John is going to stand up for the conservative agenda. He will be his own man. So I'm not worried about conservatives. I'm worried about Clinton and Obama winning this election. And from a conservative point of view, the stakes are enormous. I hope we understand as conservatives we got a chance to take the country in a new and different direction versus Clinton and Obama. And I think that will unite us.

MS. KELLY: Well, one new and different direction we saw this campaign going last night was on David Letterman.

SEN. GRAHAM: Yeah, that was pretty cool.

MS. KELLY: McCain appeared. I want to play a clip and get your reaction.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): (From videotape, appearing on CBS's "The Late Show with David Letterman.") You look like a guy caught smuggling reptiles in his pants. (Laughter.) You look like the night manager of a creepy motel. (Laughter and applause.) And you look like the guy who enjoys getting into a hot tub and watching his swim trunks inflate. (Laughter.)

MS. KELLY: (Laughs.) Do you think that's a side of McCain we see too little of, the humorous side?

SEN. GRAHAM: Oh, I see a lot of it. And he's really a funny, witty guy. As a politician, you get in dangerous waters when you go on the comedy shows. But I thought he did a great job last night of being funny and being serious and talking about the war and the issues that matter to people. So yeah, he's got a great sense of humor. He's quite a fellow.

MS. KELLY: Letterman said to McCain, you look like a guy who's always talking about your tomatoes. Have you ever been on the receiving end of that, Senator?

SEN. GRAHAM: (Laughs.) Well, let me put it this way. John is passionate about his politics. But as you can tell, I'm a big fan. I believe he's best prepared to lead my country in a time of trouble and a time of war. But I understand John's politics, and I feel really comfortable with him as a conservative. And we've got to win this thing, and we're going to win it.

MS. KELLY: Senator Lindsey Graham, thanks so much for being here. Come back, would ya?

SEN. GRAHAM: Thank you. Yes, ma'am.

MS. KELLY: Take care.