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Graham: Rand Paul 'ill-prepared' for White House

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 02. 2015 10:49PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during an interview at the New Hampshire Union Leader in Manchester on Tuesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham said fellow Republican senator and White House foe Rand Paul misrepresented elements of the U.S. government’s spying program designed to help identify terrorist threats from around the world.

“I think he’s the most ill-prepared person in the entire body to be commander in chief,” Graham told the New Hampshire Union Leader in an interview Tuesday. An aide later clarified that Graham’s use of “body” was a reference to all Republican senators.

Michael Biundo, senior advisor to the Paul campaign, responded: “Senator Graham is a perfect example of someone who hasn’t learned from the mistakes of the past. Of course that’s not surprising, since so many of them were his own.”

Graham said warrants aren’t needed to obtain phone numbers but would be required to hear the content of those calls.

“I’m not trying to listen to somebody’s phone call,” the South Carolina senator said.

“At the end of the day, I want to know who every terrorist is calling anywhere in the world,” said Graham, who officially entered the race Monday. “We’re at war. We’re not fighting a crime.”

In other matters, Graham predicted Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., wouldn’t win reelection in 2016 and may not even win a primary after the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday issued a report in which Guinta’s mother disputed the source of the congressman’s campaign funds.

“I don’t think he can survive,” Graham said.

Graham said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., would be a fine vice presidential choice — and “could be president” — but “the problem with her vice presidential aspirations in 2016 is you probably give this seat away” to the Democrats.

Graham, who will return to New Hampshire on June 19, said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is running an “awful campaign” and should be interacting more with voters.

“There’s more spontaneity in North Korea than there is with her campaign,” Graham said.

“I mean it’s easier to talk to Kim Jong-un than it is to her. At the end of the day, you’re not going to be president of the United States with this model,” he said.

“I think she’s making a fatal mistake of trying to insulate herself. She is a sports team with a lead trying to run out the clock. It doesn’t work. Here’s my advice: Hillary, get out where the people are. Take all questions. Show people you’re tough. Show people you can handle any question.”

A Clinton campaign spokesman declined to comment.

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