Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Lindsey Graham tells NBC's Meredith Vieira "I hope we'll have a debate."

| 7 Comments

Courtesy of Federal News Service

NBC "TODAY" INTERVIEW WITH SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC) INTERVIEWER: MEREDITH VIEIRA

7:08 A.M. EDT, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2008


MS. VIEIRA: Senator Graham, good morning to you.

SEN. GRAHAM: Good morning.

MS. VIEIRA: What happened yesterday, Senator? At one point, by late afternoon, we were being told we were close to a deal on this bailout; by the evening, total chaos.

SEN. GRAHAM: Yeah. As I understand it, about 10:00 or 11:00 in the morning, I was in the House, meeting with House Republicans to talk about what we could do. You had three senators, I think, from the Republican side and several senators on the Democratic side meet by themselves, have a news conference -- "We've got an agreement."

I never heard about it until I went to the Republican lunch. And if you were in the lunch, it was clear that there was not a consensus about this agreement. There was never an agreement that had buy-in by the House and the Senate.

I appreciate their efforts. But 20 percent of the money that would be collected back to retire the debt we're going to incur would have went to housing programs, programs like ACORN that have been very fraudulent in nature. So nobody on the Republican side was going to sign up to that.

MS. VIEIRA: Meanwhile, Senator --

SEN. GRAHAM: So let's start over. (Laughs.)

MS. VIEIRA: Yeah. Meanwhile, Senator, you had this summit meeting at the White House in the afternoon.

SEN. GRAHAM: Right. Yeah, yeah.

MS. VIEIRA: And that was really convened on the urging of Senator McCain the day that he suspended his campaign. He's the one who said to the president, "We need this summit." Yet Republicans and Democrats who came out of that meeting said that McCain was largely silent. He really didn't take a position on how to handle the crisis. So where is his leadership right now, sir?

SEN. GRAHAM: His leadership is to try to stop us from yelling at each other, announcing deals that don't exist, to actually talk to the House and Senate and get agreement, then go to the press, try to create organization out of chaos. Three days ago Harry Reid said, "There will be no deal without John McCain's support." Nothing happened for three days. John comes back to town. Now he's being criticized for coming back.

The point is, it's not about John McCain. It's about the country. And the way you get agreement is that you get all parties in a room. You talk it out. You go to the colleagues before you go to the press. You hold hands and you do this for the good of America.

MS. VIEIRA: But then why was he silent during that summit meeting, sir?

SEN. GRAHAM: I wasn't in the meeting. All I can tell you, that John McCain has been anything but silent. He suspended his campaign. He said, "This is more important than the election. Let's get something done." Yelling at each other is not going to get something done. Announcing deals to the press that you don't check out with your colleagues before you make the announcement doesn't get anything done.

We've got a chance today to get something done. It won't be done by yelling and it won't be done by press conference. It's going to be done by hard work in a room where reasonable people try to find middle ground. And that's why John is here.

MS. VIEIRA: Senator Graham, do you believe --

SEN. GRAHAM: John is here to solve the problem that hasn't been solved yet.

MS. VIEIRA: Do you believe that there will be a debate tonight in Mississippi, and do you believe that McCain will be there?

SEN. GRAHAM: (Laughs.) I think -- I hope we'll have a debate. But here's what's more important than anything -- that when we go to Mississippi tonight, both candidates can say that the Congress is working, back in business, that we have an outline or proposal that will protect the taxpayer and save the country from financial Pearl Harbor, as Warren Buffett called it. We're not there yet, but we'll get there. But we'll never get there by press conferences that are not checked out by people before they get them.

MS. VIEIRA: All right, Senator --

SEN. GRAHAM: And we'll never get there by yelling at each other.

MS. VIEIRA: Senator Lindsey Graham, I appreciate you being with us this morning. Thank you.

SEN. GRAHAM: Thank you.

7 Comments

WOW! John McCain has finally decided to put "COUNTRY FIRST" and actually show up at the debate so those of us out in the "country" can finally hear someone finally pin him down on what he may be thinking about these tumultuous problems.

In response to "Joe" commenting on McCain FINALLY putting "country first' you've either got a lot of nerve or are completely ignorant about his past. John McCain has put "country first" his entire life. He was being tortured in a midevil prison in N. Vietnam while Obama was trading baseball cards with his elementary school buddies. Please.....

Put country first!!!

When he was in a POW camp I guess he was serving himself.

Man are you out of touch.

Mc Cain may not have style but he has substance.

Give me someone with substance anytime.

I guess John McCain was serving himself when he was in a POW camp. This man has always put COUNTRY FIRST.

Thank you Ed.
In response to Joe. I have been sitting listening to every Democratic station there is. (That would be most of them) I would like to know what the Democratics are doing right now? They can pass this "fantastic" bill they have written any time. Why wait for the Republicans to ok it. Is it to try and have something to blame on the Republicans again? For those of us paying attention, let's recap- President Bush is a Republican - he is the Executive of the country. The Congress and Senate write our legislation, and they are run by Democrats. Who is at fault for everything right now??? Go look at the bills that have been passed by Democrats only the last few years, and then look at your paycheck.

As for this bailout:

Why do I have to pay for other peoples mistakes? Maybe, I should quit my job, (no more taxes), and then wait for the Democrats to take care of me. I have been waiting for a vacation for a long time. I should probably buy a house I can not afford first!
Thanks Democrats, Cradle to Grave!!

If a penny goes to that paragon of fraud, A.C.O.R.N., I will spend the rest of my life campaigning to defeat democrats and any Republican who didn't hold out. Full time, dawn to dusk, 24/7, in my sleep!

AFTER WHAT I SAW JOHN MCCAIN SHOULD HAVE STAYED
AWAY, HE WAS TERRIBLE, BUT WHAT DO YOU EXPECT
FROM A GUY WHO RANKED 894 OUR OF 899 IN THE NAVAL
ACADEMY!
HE WAS MARGINAL THEN AND HE IS MARGINAL NOW!
A LEOPARD DOESN'T CHANGE ITS SPOTS!
KEATING 5!
DUMPED FIRST WIFE, MARRIED RICH WIFE!
MCCAIN HAS A CHARACTER FLAW, MET SARAH PALIN ONCE
AND BRINGS HER IN AS RUNNING MATE, DIDN'T KNOW
SHE IS MENTALLY CHALLENGED, ANOTHER BLUNDER!
AFTER SHE DEBATES BIDEN, THE ELECTION IS OVER,
SHE IS A PROBLEM FOR THE GOP AND KARL ROVE!

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 26, 2008 10:28 AM.

Bush attempts to calm frantic markets was the previous entry in this blog.

Ole Miss, Memphis ready even if John McCain is not is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.