U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) at 2015 Iowa Ag SummitPhoto credit: Dave Davidson - Prezography.com
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) at 2015 Iowa Ag Summit
Photo credit: Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

Monday morning U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared his candidacy to seek the Republican nomination for President in 2016.  He told a crowd gathered in Central, SC on Monday that he had what it takes to be America’s next commander-in-chief indicating his primary focus will be on national security.

“I want to be president to defeat the enemies trying to kill us, not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them,” Graham said.  “Ronald Reagan’s policy of ‘peace through strength’ kept America safe during the Cold War. But we will never enjoy peaceful co-existence with radical Islam because its followers are committed to destroying us and our way of life. However, America can have ‘Security through Strength.'”

“The Obama Administration, and some of my colleagues in Congress, substituted wishful thinking for sound national security strategy. Every day the headlines attest to the failures of the Obama/Clinton policies,” Graham added. “Simply put, radical Islam is running wild.  They have more safe havens, more money, more weapons and more capability to strike our homeland than anytime since 9/11. They are large, rich and entrenched. As president I will make them small, poor and on the run.”

Graham has been critical of U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the second Republican to enter the race.  Graham jumps in the race in the midst debate in the Senate over the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

Graham also addressed Iran.  “The world is exploding in terror and violence but the biggest threat of all is the nuclear ambitions of the radical Islamists who control Iran,” Graham stated.  “If the United States isn’t firm in our intention to deny them such weapons, Iran will trigger a nuclear arms race in the least stable region on earth, and make it more likely that people who aspire to genocide will have the most effective means to commit it.”

Graham follows former New York Governor George Pataki who was the eighth Republican to run.  He launched his campaign at an event in Exter, NH, but the socially liberal Republican first announced his campaign in a YouTube video released last Thursday morning.

“America has a big decision to make about who we’re going to be and what we’re going to stand for. The system is broken,” Pataki said in the video, which emphasized his post-9/11 attack leadership. “The question is no longer about what our government should do, but what we should do about our government, about our divided union, about our uncertain future.”

Graham and Pataki join Ted Cruz, Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum in the 2016 Republican field which will become even more crowded this summer with Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Donald Trump, Chris Christie, and John Kasich still considering a presidential run.

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