COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s native son shined during Wednesday’s debate, handily defeating his rivals on the stage.
Refusing to pander, Graham seemed unfazed when asked to confront the reality that he was trailing in the polls, even in South Carolina, with 4 percent of the vote.
“All I can say is, if you look at polling in 2012 and 2008 at this level, at this stage, we had President Perry and President Guliani,” Graham said. “We’ve got a long way to go.”
Graham participated in the undercard debate, which started at 6 p.m. And even while discussing his call to end birthright citizenship — a move that could potentially isolate the children of immigrants who are voters — Graham got into an exchange with Rick Santorum over one of his failed proposals while he was in the Senate. The dispute caught the attention of the Hispanic community, at least online.
Graham: How many Democrats supported your plan? How many Democrats did you have on your bill?
Santorum: I don’t know how many Democrats I had on my bill.
Graham: I can tell you, none.
Santorum: But the point is that I had a bill.
Graham: That went nowhere.
Santorum: Well, you’re right Lindsey. It went nowhere, because we had a president back then who was for more comprehensive immigration reform.
Graham: George W. Bush.
Santorum: That’s right.
Graham: Who won with Hispanics. Compared to what we’re doing.
Santorum: You know what we need to do, Lindsey? We need to win fighting for Americans. We need to be fighting for the workers of this country who are hurting, including Hispanics.
Graham speaks over Santorum: Hispanics are Americans.
Santorum: The people who are hurt the most by illegal immigration are Hispanics.
Graham: In my world, Hispanics are Americans.
Here’s a clip of the exchange on CNN.
Graham: ‘In my world, Hispanics are Americans’ (Yahoo)
Lindsey Graham shines at undercard debate (CNN)
Funniest Lindsey Graham Jokes from the Undercard Debate (TIME)
Lindsey Graham’s best zingers (Politico)
GOP candidates debate Russia, immigration — and Trump (The Associated Press)
Carly Fiorina Tests Donald Trump’s Indestructibility (The New Yorker)
Fiorina emerges in GOP debate, but Trump still dominates conversation (The Washington Post)
Bush puts Donald Trump on defense, then lets him off easy (Yahoo)
What’s Behind Marco Rubio’s Mr. Nice Guy Campaign? (Bloomberg)
G.O.P. Focus on World Affairs Reveals a Divide Among the Contenders (The New York Times)
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South Carolina forum a chance for GOP candidates to reel in Trump, Carson (The Post and Courier)
Your chances to see a presidential candidate this week and next (The Greenville News)
Mayoral candidates take stands on growth, traffic on James and Johns islands (The Post and Courier)
Education Superintendent Molly Spearman talks the future of schools (The Post and Courier)
Charleston mayoral candidates release new TV spots (The Post and Courier)
Ethics board refuses to dismiss Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster’s case (The Associated Press)
Ethics board: It’s legal for Gov. Nikki Haley to get season tickets (The Associated Press)
Lawmakers urged to fund environmental management work, avoid government shutdown (Aiken Standard)
SC Consumer Affairs agency saves consumers, businesses $1.4 million (Bluffton Today)
Marchers renew call for different name for Tillman Hall (Independent Mail)
Amid outrage, most board members silent on hiring of superintendent’s wife (Island Packet)
S.C. education agency investigates claim of grade tampering in Chester County (The Herald)