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CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript

Interview

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BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. So now we turn to two of the most astute analysts of Republican politics in the history of politics. Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Well, Senator Graham and Governor Barbour, don't you agree that that would make a wonderful debate if we could get the two of them to sit down next Sunday morning? Senator Graham?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-South Carolina): I agree that you're a danger-- I think you're a dangerous man on TV. I think you've just sealed the deal there. That would be a wonderful debate on FACE THE NATION, and I would tune in and watch. I hope I do it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, if you can help me and call Governor Romney, I think we can make this work. Senator Graham, what happened down there? Did-- is-- is South Carolina just too conservative for Mitt Romney or is there a problem here that goes deeper than that with his campaign?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: John McCain won, Bob Dole won. Not the most conservative people in the world but good-- good Americans who impressed South Carolina in sobriety, Newt won. The debate Monday night in Myrtle Beach was probably the best explanation of conservatism in a bold fashion coming from Newt Gingrich I've heard in decades. And Newt not only won the debates. He convinced people that he could beat Barack Obama and electability was the issue before South Carolina primary, during the primary and on voting day. And Newt won. He's the guy that we saw forty percent of us, the best to go into the arena and beat Barack Obama. Governor Romney did fine. Rick Perry did very well. He had some stumbles by Romney. We had six hundred thousand people vote. The largest Republican primary in history occurred yesterday. And people were energized. They were looking close and they picked Newt. This was Newt winning more than anybody else losing.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Are you ready to endorse him that sound, those were very complimentary words.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, here's what I am willing to say. That Newt Gingrich has changed a lot in a positive way. This immigration issue is tough for our party, tough for our country. And Newt is putting on the table an idea that once you secure your borders and control who gets the job and you have to deal with the twelve million, we're going to have a rational system, most of them will have to go back. But if you've had a lady who has been here twenty-five or thirty years and has done nothing but be part of the community, committed an immigration violation, we're going to give her a second look. She'll have to learn English, pay a fine. She can have legal status, not citizenship. That's a-- that's a way of thinking that I think will help our party because she may have a young son or grandson who is in the Marines in Afghanistan. And I don't want a party who says to Sergeant Gonzalez, congratulations, you just won the Purple Heart. Unfortunately, we're going to have to deport your grandmother. I hope you get home before she leaves. Newt's putting on the table real solutions in a way today that he wouldn't have done in 1994. And that kind of maturing and thought I think is going to help the party and help him.

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