U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced his campaign for president on Monday in Central, S.C., where he grew up.
Graham's life began modestly. He was raised in a one-room apartment behind his family’s liquor store. He served in the U.S. military for 33 years before being elected to the U.S. Senate. He has made it a priority as a lawmaker to protect his family and the U.S. from domestic and international terrorism threats.
“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.’
“I want to be president to meet our problems head on, honestly and realistically, for the purpose of solving them, not hiding them or taking political advantage of them," Graham said.
“Simply put, radical Islam is running wild,” Graham said. “They have more safe havens, more money, more weapons and more capability to strike our homeland than any time since 9/11. They are large, rich and entrenched. As president, I will make them small, poor and on the run.
“But to defeat this enemy, it will require more than military might,” Graham said. “The most powerful weapon in our arsenal isn’t a gun. It’s an idea. The terrorists are selling a glorious death. We must sell a hopeful life. I’ve learned from my travels that a small schoolhouse in a remote region educating a young girl can do more damage to radical Islam than any weapon we possess.
“We’ve learned over the past six years that speeches alone won’t make us safer. Superior power and resolve will,” Graham said. “I’m running for president because I am ready to be Commander-in-Chief on day one.
“Join me if you want to tackle problems at home that have been kicked down the road because they’re too hard to fix and too easy to demagogue,” Graham said. “Washington’s failure to do the hard, but right thing has put Social Security and Medicare in serious jeopardy. As my generation retires, both programs are on track to go bust. We’re living longer, and fewer workers are supporting more retirees. That’s unsustainable. Everybody knows it. Not everybody admits it.
“I intend to be president not of a single party, but of a nation,” Graham said. “I want to do more than make big government smaller. I want to help make a great nation greater.”