By Ben Geman - 03/05/10 04:48 PM EST
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) believes his colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is getting a “bad rap” from state Republicans who have attacked Graham over his work on climate change legislation and other splits with conservatives.
Graham in recent months has been censured by two county Republican parties in South Carolina, where some activists are upset with his efforts to craft a climate and energy bill with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
DeMint is among the Senate’s most conservative members and splits with Graham on the bailout, climate change and other issues. But he strongly defended Graham in an interview with The Hill on Thursday.
“I think he got a bad rap,” DeMint said when asked about the attacks on Graham back home. “There are a lot of people up here who are the problem, but it ain’t Lindsey Graham.”
DeMint said Graham is a “great partner” in the Senate and one of the few people with “enough courage to stand up for things” such as tax and social security reform.
On climate policy, DeMint said Graham is trying to “pull a few Democrats our way” to advance GOP policies on nuclear energy and oil drilling.
“He isn’t going to vote for the House cap-and-trade bill. He’s trying to move things,” DeMint said.
“He is a player and he makes a difference and I don’t expect people to agree with me all the time because I am not always right,” he added.