Jul 27, 2015 11:36 PM

Steinhauser: Graham tells NH1 News 'I can't wait to unleash John McCain on the people of New Hampshire'

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

DERRY – Lindsey Graham can’t wait until Saturday.

That’s when the senator from South Carolina and Republican presidential candidate teams up on the campaign trail in New Hampshire with his good friend and colleague, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

“I can’t wait to unleash John McCain on the people of New Hampshire he loves dearly,” Graham said Monday in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News.

“John’s coming back. We’re going to launch him up here. We’re going to Littleton to do a VFW, we’re going to do a picnic. We’re going to do a town hall in Manchester at 3:30pm. So we’re back. He’s coming to help me. I was his wing man. Now he’s my wing man,” added Graham.

McCain’s well known in New Hampshire. He won the Republican presidential primary twice, once in 2000 and again in 2008, which launched him towards capturing the GOP nomination. Both times Graham helped McCain on the presidential campaign trail. Now the roles are reversed.

McCain first mentioned the likely possibility of coming back to New Hampshire to help Graham back in February, when NH1 News interviewed both men together during a centennial celebration of the first-in-the-nation primary held at the Newseum in the nation’s capital.

"Of course I'd be there as much as possible, which would be a lot, because one, it's a lot of fun. There's nothing quite as exciting as those last couple of weeks before the primary in all of American politics,” McCain said at the time.

Graham talked with NH1 News behind the bar at the Halligan Tavern in Derry, after speaking an event hosted by Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

Graham’s a longshot for the nomination, but he’s currently the star of a viral video which shows him destroying his cell phone. The video was released last week, days after Donald Trump, a rival for the GOP nomination, gave out Graham’s cell phone number.

Asked if the video was his idea, Graham said “no it wasn’t my idea. It was young people on my staff, thank God for them. They said ‘this would be an interesting response.’ There’s apparently seven ways to do everything on the internet, now including destroying your cell phone. So it was my staff’s idea. We did it in 20 minutes and we’ve had over five million viewings.”

Graham and Trump have been in a war of words for over a week, following Trump’s controversial comments questioning whether McCain, who was a prisoner of war for five and a half years during the Vietnam War, was truly a war hero.

“I think when he attacks Sen. McCain and all other POW’s as being losers for being captured, that that crossed the line, that will eventually show up. The problem is I think Mr. Trump is unqualified to be commander-in-chief, and I think if he were the nominee of our party we’d get killed,” Graham said.

Trump and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are the only two of the 16 declared Republican presidential candidates who are not attending next Monday’s GOP presidential forum in New Hampshire (which NH1 News will carry live on television).

Asked if Trump’s missing a good opportunity, Graham said “I predict he will be here. I predict that he’s smart enough to know that you can’t dish New Hampshire and that he’ll be here. Because if he doesn’t come here he’s basically telling the people of New Hampshire that he’s bigger than they are and I don’t think he’ll say that.”


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