By Mark Hensch - 06/04/15 11:33 AM EDT
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamVulnerable GOP senator questions opponent's American heritage Trump on primary rivals who don't back him: 'I don't know how they live with themselves' The Trail 2016: Who is really winning? MORE (R-S.C.) told Americans on Thursday not to vote for him in the 2016 presidential election if they are worn out by war.
The 2016 GOP presidential candidate appeared on Fox News’s "Fox & Friends," where co-host Steve Doocy questioned his past war hawk rhetoric.
"Well, don’t vote for me," the Republican senator responded. "Don't vote for me, because I’m telling you what’s coming: Barack ObamaBarack ObamaPutin denies 2016 meddling: US is no 'banana republic' Black turnout key to House fight In this economy, Latinos are most frequent victims of wage theft MORE’s policies leading from behind are going to allow another 9/11."
"[ISIS] is large, rich and entrenched,” he added, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “If I’m president they will be poor, small and on the run.”
Graham also said that U.S. ground forces were necessary for defeating ISIS before they could reach targets on American soil.
“I’m trying to tell the American people and the Republican primary voter — the only way I know to defend this country is to send some of us back to Iraq and eventually to Syria to dig these guys out of the ground, destroy the Caliphate, kill as many of them as you can, hold territory and help people over there help themselves,” he said.
Graham further tied President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy to Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from New Hampshire Senate debate Trump losing cash race in final weeks Report: Biden on top of Clinton's short list for secretary of State MORE, his former secretary of State and the Democratic presidential front-runner.
“I think it’s the lack of confidence in her ability to distinguish herself from Barack Obama,” he said when asked about Clinton’s lack of media availability on the campaign trail.
“Her biggest nightmare is for someone to ask her, ‘Hey, do you think the war on terror is going well? Do you agree with Barack Obama’s foreign policy?’” he said. “’If you don’t, tell us why.’ ”
Graham added that Clinton’s perceived secrecy would likely cost her voters next year.
“Well, it’s easier to talk to the North Korean guy than it is her,” he quipped, comparing Clinton to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “At the end of the day, when 57 percent of people don’t trust you, you’ve got a problem,”
Graham officially launched his 2016 presidential campaign on Monday from his hometown of Central, S.C.
He has already made a muscular foreign policy a key theme of his bid. “I want to be president to defeat the enemies trying to kill us, not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them,” he said on Monday.