WASHINGTON -- BP's failure to plug its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico isn't President Barack Obama's fault, Sen. Lindsey Graham said, while giving him "fairly low marks" in responding to damage caused by the disaster.
The South Carolina Republican addressed the spill and several other topics during an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," airing this weekend.
He applauded Obama for soliciting solutions to the spill from a number of experts. At the same time, he said affected states aren't getting all the resources they need.
"We're trying everything under the sun to stop the leak, and it's not his fault that we can't find a way to cap it," Graham said.
"I would give him fairly low marks in terms of responding to the consequences of the spill," he said, "but stopping the leak, nobody could do any better."
Obama will make his fourth trip to the region Monday to survey the response to the spill as oil washes ashore in four states.
Graham cited complaints from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose state has borne the brunt of damage caused by the spill, that not enough was being done by the federal government to keep oil from coming ashore.
"The criticism is fair," Graham said, in regard to Obama being "less than responsive to state officials and local officials about ways to mitigate the effects of the spill.
He rejected criticism that Obama hasn't been emotional enough in dealing with the spill.
"He is who he is," Graham said. "He's been very successful in life being Barack Obama. My advice to the president is to be yourself."
Graham said Obama is "a measured guy" and "emotion doesn't come easy to him."
On U.S.-China trade tensions, Graham said legislation aimed at getting China to raise the value of its currency has "huge" support in Congress, and Obama "runs the risk" of being overridden if he vetoes it.
He called the measure a "test" of the administration because Obama "campaigned that he would stand up to China currency manipulation." Graham has joined Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in sponsoring legislation targeting China's yuan.
On the nomination of Elena Kagan to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he is "open-minded to voting for her."
Graham is among a handful of lawmakers in his party who have offered praise for Kagan, 50, who as solicitor general is the Obama administration's chief courtroom lawyer.
The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin its confirmation hearings June 28. Senate leaders aim to vote on her confirmation before a five-week congressional recess that begins Aug. 9.
Graham said he isn't worried about Kagan's lack of judicial experience and called her academic background "stellar."
On the nation's political climate, Graham said if Democrats and Republicans can't find ways to compromise on issues such as energy and immigration legislation, the "country is going to go away from the two-party system."
Graham said he will continue to seek compromise on tough legislative issues.
"I don't want the job if I can't sit down and do the hard things that my country needs to do," he said.