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13. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Senator
Graham made his official announcement in his hometown of Central, South Carolina, on June 1, 2015. He focused on his experience with foreign policy and national defense.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Graham represented South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In an op-ed for CNBC on October 15, 2015, Lindsey Graham explained how he would prevent “the coming debt crisis.” Graham’s plan included raising the retirement age for Social Security, eliminating the payroll tax and “expanding rehabilitation and work opportunities for those on disability.” He would also cap individual and corporate tax deductions and require that “any new revenues would have to be paired with spending cuts in a 3:1 ratio of cuts to revenues.”
Speaking at an editorial board meeting of The Conway Daily Sun on October 14, 2015, Lindsey Graham primarily discussed his view on foreign policy in the Middle East. He said as long as Bashar al-Assad remained in power in Syria, there would be war there because Syrians had rejected him. If he were president, Graham said he would put 10,000 troops on the ground in Iraq and work with Turkey and other regional powers to remove Assad from Syria.
During a town hall meeting hosted by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in September 2015, Lindsey Graham said seniors in his income bracket should pay actual medical premiums instead of having them subsidized to 40 percent of the cost under Medicare.
On October 12, 2015, Lindsey Graham held himself up as an example that a Republican could support amnesty for undocumented immigrants and still succeed “in the reddest of red states.” He added, “I am called ‘Lindsey Grahamnesty’ and ‘Lindsey Gomez.’ To all the Gomezes out there, I will try to honor the family name.”
Lindsey Graham opposes Common Core Standards. In 2014, he introduced S.Res.345, which would have allowed states to establish and define their own “academic standards and assessments.”
On September 21, 2015, Lindsey Graham encouraged his colleagues in the Senate to support a 20-week abortion ban. “We’re one of seven nations in the entire world that allow abortion on demand at 20 weeks, the fifth month of the pregnancy. I’d like to get us out of that club,” Graham said, referring to Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore and Vietnam.
On September 1, 2015, Lindsey Graham called on a Kentucky clerk who refused to give out same-sex marriage licenses to “comply with the law or resign.” He also stated, “The rule of law is the rule of law,” and said that while he himself supports traditional marriage and appreciates “her conviction” he believes “she’s accepted a job in which she has to apply the law to everyone.”