Lindsey Graham Defends McCain

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," March 25, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have been in South Korea; we have been in Japan for 60 years. We have been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. That's fine with me. I would hope it would be fine with you.


SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: That was Senator John McCain speaking about our presence in Iraq. Democrats are trying to use the 100 years remark to attack Senator McCain, claiming that he will keep the war going indefinitely. The Arizona senator clarified these words during our exclusive sit-down just two weeks ago.


MCCAIN: This war will be won if we stay with it. And then it's a question of American presence. We have troops in South Korea as a result of the Korean War. We have troops in Germany and Japan ...


Click here to watch the interview with Senator Lindsey Graham

MCCAIN: ... et cetera, et cetera. So, that is an agreement. We have troops in Kuwait as a result of the first Gulf War. But we will win this war. We will win it. We will succeed.


HANNITY: Joining us now South Carolina senator and big, big John McCain supporter from the very beginning, Senator Lindsey Graham. How are you, Senator?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Hey guys, doing great.

HANNITY: One of the things and it was very difficult for the audio to be heard here, but what he said and this is clearly and purposely for political reasons being taken out of context by Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. He pointed out that we stayed in these other countries and he was using it as an analogy if they're safe. If they are secure. I mean, that is never printed every time they use that 100-words remark. Do you find that distortive?

GRAHAM: I hope we have a fight every day of the campaign about foreign policy with John McCain. I don't know why they would want to do that. It's like picking a fight with Muhammad Ali, but I welcome this debate, yes. Every day I want to talk about who would be the best commander in chief, who understands the world, the threats that we face, yeah, let's have this debate.

HANNITY: I think what's — and if I'm trying to interpret Senator Clinton's position and Senator Obama's position, I think they are thinking all right, right now the American people find this war has gone on too long.

GRAHAM: Right. Right.

HANNITY: It has not been run perfectly. So I think what they are thinking there, oh, if we take out or isolate out of context the 100-year remark that that will hurt Senator McCain. Do you think it's important that it be put in its proper context, which is that as long as they are safe, as long as they are secure as part of a broader partisanship? Does he need to do that?

GRAHAM: Well, I think that John has explained what he meant very well that people in America are not stupid. Nobody in their right mind would want to be at war for 100 years with anybody. And of all the people in this campaign, only one has been at war. If you have ever listened to John describe war, he knows better than anybody running that it's not a very pleasant experience.

But he also understands the consequences of losing this war or any other war. What he meant was that it's not how long we stay in Iraq; it's the conditions upon which we stay. I don't expect us to withdraw troops from Kuwait because we have been there since '91. John McCain, I think, will be able to make a very good case that he understands the threats that we face internationally and he has the solutions to make us safe and I think this will work its way out.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Senator, it is Alan. Welcome back to our show. One of the issues ...

GRAHAM: Hey, Alan. How are you doing?

COLMES: Good to see you, sir. If you go back and look at the — you know John McCain talks about how consistent he has been, how he's been right and you look back and I've gone over his statements today. He said in '02 I believe the success will be fairly easy. He then said I believe we can win overwhelming victory in a very short time.

Then he said we understood in the very beginning it would be very, very difficult. He said in '06, a few years later. In '03, he echoed what Bush said saying that the end was very much in sight. And then in '07, he says I knew it was going to be long, hard and tough. He has changed his position of how easy this would be to win over and over and over again.

GRAHAM: I think you left out the part for four years where he was arguing with Secretary Rumsfeld standing up in front of the entire world, including his own party, saying this strategy is not working. I have been to Iraq 11 times. John has been eight. I have been with him from the fall of Baghdad up until the surge. Alan, you can't have it both ways. You can't say this is the McCain surge and he has never disagreed with ...

COLMES: How do you go from saying it's going to be really easy to I've never said it was going to be easy.

GRAHAM: He's never.

COLMES: It's going to be tough ...


COLMES: ... to be tough, he changed his position on that.

GRAHAM: My friend, he said that beating the Saddam Hussein regime militarily was quick and it was lethal. He has never said that this war would be easy. He has been the guy saying for four years that we're getting it wrong. We need more troops.

COLMES: I believe success will be fairly easy.


GRAHAM: We're losing, not winning. The only reason we are winning now in Iraq is because John had the courage to stand up when nobody else would and say we need more troops. We don't have enough troops.

COLMES: We have got to run. But I look forward to having you Senator.

HANNITY: Thanks, Senator.

COLMES: . that dialogue and hearing more explanations about those comments.


GRAHAM: I look forward.


GRAHAM: .... for the rest of the campaign.

COLMES: Thank you, Senator.

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