Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE (R-S.C.) stopped just short of announcing a 2016 presidential bid in his home state Friday, telling a group of GOP activists to “get ready.”
“Get ready for a debate that's been long overdue within the party. Get ready for a voice that understands you can't save America without someone willing to sacrifice and die for America,” Graham said at a prominent GOP gathering in Columbia, S.C., according to media reports.
“To our enemies: Get ready, because there's a new way of doing business coming. To our friends: Get ready for the America that you used to know. To Iowa and New Hampshire: Hello.”
Graham has been telegraphing for months that he’d make a bid for the White House, seeking to gain some traction with his hawkish defense views at a time when foreign policy is becoming a central issue to GOP primary voters.
The South Carolina Republican, along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), his close friend and the GOP’s 2008 nominee, have long been seen as prominent Republican voices on national security.
Graham has frequently derided one of his potential rivals for the nomination, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for his more libertarian views on foreign policy.
At the South Carolina event Friday, Graham complimented some of the other contenders for the GOP nomination, including Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).
But he added: “The next President of the United States should have an accent. That's the only thing I'm going to say about that.”