It's easier to get North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to answer questions than it is Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who announced his own presidential campaign
this week, said Thursday morning.
"It's easier to talk to the North Korean guy than it is her," the South Carolina Republican told Fox News' "Fox & Friends"
program. "When 57 percent of the people don't trust you, you have a problem. You better explain to them they're wrong.
"I don't know how you set the record straight about whether or not you should be trusted."
Story continues below video.
Graham is running behind in most national polls
but on Fox and on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
show, he launched attacks on Clinton and the Obama administration, while keeping words on potential rivals more friendly.
"I look at a lot of good people thinking they can beat Hillary Clinton," he told Fox. "Here's what I look at in terms of Lindsey Graham. If this is a national security election, I like my chances. I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan. I learned the hard way what's going on in the Middle East.
"I've been more right
than wrong than this administration. I think I understand the war on terror better than anybody running, including Hillary Clinton. Watch those numbers grow."
And on MSNBC, he said that he believes he is best qualified for the presidency because he thinks national security is failing on multiple fronts and "people are very interested in about what I would do, not just how much I think [President Barack] Obama sucks."
But as far as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who announced his own candidacy Thursday, Graham said he has a "great record as governor, a great family, an Air Force veteran. All good."
And of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is to make an announcement on his presidential ambitions on June 15, Graham said he thinks "he's a good guy."
He insisted he's not running because of a problem with Bush, but because "I think I'm the best guy to defend the nation."
"I understand the threats we face and we're reducing our military budget at the time we need it the most," Graham told Fox News. "I've been yelling about budget defense cuts over a year now. Radical Islam is running wild. NATO is disarming. What's wrong with this picture?"
On both shows, Graham continued his tough stance on the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) and terrorism, and on Fox railed against the changes approved to the nation's Patriot Act.
"This is not a privacy issue as far as I'm concerned," he said. "We destroyed the program ... we're at war. We're turning the war into a crime and I am sick and tired of this."
Obama, said Graham, did not back the National Security Agency, whose agents Graham thinks are "patriots."
"The people trying to protect us are not the enemy," he told Fox. "I'm not worried about the NSA, I'm worried about ISIL penetrating this country and killing us. If you're an American citizen and you're thinking about joining ISIL and you actually do, if I'm president of the United States, you'll be killed or captured under the law of war."
Graham said he is also concerned that the nation will not embrace the economic and foreign policies necessary to defend the country.
"On the national security front, everything President Obama has tried to do has blown up in his face," he told Fox. "We're less safe today. I'm trying to tell the American people and the Republican primary voter, the only way I know to defend this country is to send some of us back to Iraq and eventually to Syria to dig these guys out of the ground, destroy the caliphate, destroy as many as you can."
And as for people who are tired of war? "Don't vote for me," he said on both programs.
"Barack Obama's policies of leading from behind are going to allow another 9/11," he said. "They [ISIS] are large, rich and entrenched. If I'm president, they will be poor, small and on the run."
He told MSNBC that if he is elected, he wants to "take the fight" to ISIS and he wants to restore the military to full power.
Graham also said he wants to put "around 10,000" more troops in Iraq and entrench advisers and a "couple aviation battalions" so Ramadi and Mosul can be liberated.
He further said he would advocate leaving troops behind in Afghanistan, so there is not a repeat of Iraq.
"I cannot tell the American people [that] I know how to defend this country without some of us being deployed," Graham said. "They need us. This is our war.
"Here is the real question: Is it just their problem or our problem? ISIL is humanity's problem. It's our problem, too."
Watch the video here.
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