South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham endorsed presidential candidate Jeb Bush during a press conference in Charleston on Friday, saying the former Florida governor is the best prepared to lead the country.
Graham, himself a former candidate for the country’s highest office, cited the former Florida governor’s stances on national security – especially their agreement on how to resolve the conflict with ISIS as well as the need to make the military more robust – as the main reason for his endorsement.
“Last night, he did not talk the most, but he made the most sense,” Graham said, referencing Thursday night’s GOP debate in North Charleston. “Last night he demonstrated someone that, in my view, is ready on day one to be Commander-in-Chief and a temperament that the next Commander-in-Chief needs to possess.”
Graham also commended Bush for his campaign style during the primary season, using a veiled swipe at some of the other presidential candidates, saying, “He hasn’t tried to get ahead in a contested primary by embracing demagoguery. He’s not running to be Commander-in-Chief by running people down.”
In accepting Graham’s endorsement, Bush praised the South Carolina senator for the impact he had on the current political debate during his brief participation in the presidential race.
“He ran because he wanted the voice of a strong national defense and the role of America in the world – the leadership role – to be heard,” Bush said. “While you may not have been successful in terms of electoral politics, you were successful in that regard.”
His plan to defeat ISIS is the most comprehensive and well thought out of anyone on both sides of the aisle.
Bush also declared he plans to campaign aggressively in the Palmetto State, sending a message to voters that he expects to remain in the contest after the initial results in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
“South Carolina is going to be a really important primary. It always seems to be that way,” Bush said. “The table is set by Iowa and New Hampshire, and the direction of campaigns are set in South Carolina.”
In a national poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released Thursday, Bush received five percent support, tied for fifth among the twelve candidates.
During his endorsement, Graham said he expects Bush to have a strong showing in South Carolina, altering the road to the presidency.
“South Carolina is going to reset this race,” Graham said. “On Feb. 20, we’re going to give Jeb Bush the momentum that he needs and deserves to win the nomination.”