Lindsey Graham’s best one-liners from the 2016 campaign


Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines in October. (Photo: Brian C. Frank/Reuters)

The 2016 presidential campaign has already been filled with plenty of memorable made-for-cable news sound bites and pithy, totally tweetable one-liners. But with Monday’s announcement that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is dropping his bid for the Republican nomination, the race for the White House just lost its zinger in chief.

Below, a look back at some of Graham’s best.

“If I’m president, we’re gonna drink more.”

— Graham issues a boozy campaign promise in August at the Iowa State Fair

“I’ve got a lot of friends. We’ll have a rotating first lady.”

— Graham, a longtime bachelor, on who would serve as his first lady if elected, in an interview with the Daily Mail

“Strom Thurmond had four kids after age 67. If you’re not willing to do that, we need to come up with a new immigration system.”

— Graham scolds his fellow opponents on immigration reform with a reference to former South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond’s virility during a GOP debate in September

“I wasn’t the best law student. By the end of this debate, it would be the most time I’ve ever spent in any library.”

— Graham admits his academic shortcomings during the debate, which was held at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley

“His favorite movie is apparently ‘Princess Bride.’ Ted, getting in bed with Iran and Russia to save Assad is inconceivable. Princess Buttercup would not like this.”

— Graham pokes fun at Sen. Ted Cruz’s foreign policy — and film choices — during last week’s debate in Las Vegas

“Sequestration is Latin for ‘doing really dumb things.’”

— Graham during the same debate

“He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot. You know how you make America great again? You tell Donald Trump to go to hell.”

— Graham on Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States in response to the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.

“ISIL would be dancing in the streets — they just don’t believe in dancing.”

— Graham describes how the Islamic State militant group would react if Trump were elected president at last week’s early Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas

“Mr. Trump, you don’t have to speak about everything. It’s not required.”

— Graham’s message for the bombastic Republican frontrunner during the same debate

“I’m not afraid of a guy riding around on a horse without a shirt. The guy’s got a pair of twos and we’ve got a full house and he’s walking all over Obama.”

— Graham comments on Russian President Vladimir Putin during the debate in Las Vegas

“I blame Obama for ISIL, not Bush. I’m tired of beating on Bush! I miss George W. Bush! I wish he were president right now! We wouldn’t be in this mess!”

— Graham expresses his love for the former president at the same debate

“On our side, you’ve got the number two guy tried to kill someone at 14, and the number one guy is high-energy and crazy as hell. … How am I losing to these people?”

— Graham handicaps the presidential race on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in October

“You can’t deter these guys — they’re ready to die … bring on the virgins.”

— Graham on ISIS during last week’s GOP debate


Graham speaks during last week’s undercard Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters)

In an interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan Monday, Graham was asked to pick his personal favorite. The South Carolina senator did not, offering a story he has told on the campaign trail instead.

“My dad owned a bar,” Graham said. “If you own a bar, you got to do two things. You got to keep the customers coming back so you need to be funny and entertaining — you want them to drink as long as they can without getting totally drunk. You’ve got to be tough enough to keep the bar from being taken over by the loudest guy in the room.”

Graham added: “So I want to dedicate this campaign to every bar owner. I showed you can grow up in the back of the liquor store and even run for president of the United States.”