Oct 8, 2015 10:41 PM

Steinhauser: Graham tells NH1 News 'I do weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs'

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – Lindsey Graham may not have poll numbers to brag about, but he’s got a great sense of humor.

Talking about his pitch to Granite State voters, the senator from South Carolina and Republican presidential candidate jokingly told NH1 News that “I do weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, friendly divorces. I’ll come to see you and your family.”

Graham, who’s a long shot for the GOP nomination, spoke to NH1 News in Concord Thursday morning, as he kicked off more than a week straight of campaigning in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Graham, who’s a frequent visitor to New Hampshire, said that “this is the place for me to break through if I’m going to break through.”

This weekend Graham will once again be joined on the campaign trail by his good friend and fellow senator John McCain. The Republican from Arizona is a two time winner of the New Hampshire GOP primary, coming out on top in 2000 and again in 2008, on the way to capturing his party’s presidential nomination.

“The whole idea of the town hall, the house party, fits me well,” said Graham, who hopes his embrace of New Hampshire’s retail style politics will earn him a ticket back home to South Carolina, which votes right after the Granite State in the primary and caucus calendar.

His home state’s dealing with massive flooding right now, which delayed his trip to New Hampshire by a day. Graham, who’s considering asking for federal aid for South Carolina, is being called a hypocrite by some because he opposed the massive recovery for New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy three years ago.

But Graham says that bill was filled with pork.

“When Sandy hit, it hit New York and New Jersey hard. The $60 billion package put together by my Democratic colleagues had funding for 47 different states, build an Amtrak line hundreds of miles away from Hurricane Sandy. It was full of pork. The Republican response was $24 billion which dealt with the immediate needs of the people in New York and New Jersey,” Graham told NH1 News.

“Here’s what I promise the people of New Hampshire. When I ask for your help for the damage done by these historic floods in South Carolina not one penny will be requested that’s not related to the flood damage, and I’m going to fight anybody who tries to pile onto this bill,” he added.

Graham’s also been criticized for missing a number of votes in the Senate while he’s out on the presidential campaign trail. But he pushed back against the notion that he’s not doing his job.

“I take my day job seriously,” he said. “I was all day yesterday, flying all over the state looking at flood damage, coming up with a plan to help my state in an appropriate fashion. I voted on the defense authorization bill yesterday that I helped write.”

“I’m going to miss some votes but I’ll be there when my state needs me and when my presence is demanded. But I’m going to be in New Hampshire as much as possible,” Graham added.


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