Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believes his parents are looking down on him from Heaven as he seeks the presidency.
The South Carolina Republican's parents died within 15 months of each other when Graham was in college and his sister, Darline Graham Nordone, was in middle school, leaving him to help raise her along with the help of an aunt and uncle.
He talked to Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" on Monday about growing up running a pool hall in the basement of his parents' restaurant and liquor store.
"Only in our country are you able to grow up in the back of a bar and go to the Senate and maybe to the White House," Graham told Van Susteren as they looked at a banner proclaiming his candidacy. Graham announced his White House run
outside his family's old establishment earlier Monday.
"It is audacious for anybody to think they could be president. But when you look at other people running, I say why not," he said. "We've got good people running this time. ... But I feel ready. I feel prepared. I feel it is the right thing for me to do."
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From a table at the restaurant, Graham discussed the Islamic State (ISIS), abortion and gay marriage.
He reiterated his call for more boots on the ground in Iraq to stop ISIS. Most people in the region "are not buying what they are selling," he said, "but the region is in chaos."
Bush made his own mistakes in Iraq, but was able to adjust, Graham said, but Obama is sticking to his script even when he sees his plan isn't working.
Graham noted that he and Arizona Sen. John McCain once asked for Bush Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign because they thought the Bush White House didn't know what it was doing.
"I can promise you President Obama doesn't know what he is doing," Graham said.
Graham said he is "proudly pro-life," and that same-sex marriage should be decided state-by-state.
But if the Supreme Court rules this month that same-sex marriages must be recognized nationwide, "then we have to move on."
The next step, he said, would be ensuring that religious institutions and people of faith are not forced to act in ways inconsistent with their faith and "to make sure that church is not forced to do things outside of their religion."
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