POLITICS

Lindsey Graham: 'It Would Be Devastating' For GOP To Nominate Rand Paul

06/02/2015 11:31 am ET | Updated Jun 02, 2015

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who officially launched his 2016 presidential bid Monday, is coming out swinging against fellow candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday, Graham said if the race came down to Paul versus Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, he would reluctantly vote for the GOP senator.

"Well, when I came out of my coma, I would support Rand Paul," Graham said. "I mean, it would be devastating, I think, for our party to nominate Rand Paul as our nominee, on national security in particular, but if he wins the primary process, I will support him. But that has very little chance of happening in my view."

Watch the interview above.

Graham has been a frequent critic of his libertarian-leaning colleague, and has positioned himself as the anti-Paul candidate.

"It’s nothing personal, not at all," Graham told Politico in April. "My problem with Rand Paul is foreign policy. He’s a libertarian and I come from a more traditional Republican perspective."

Paul has drawn criticism from Graham and other hawkish Republicans who view his foreign policy as isolationist. That ire increased last week as Paul forced portions of the Patriot Act to expire, including the National Security Agency's bulk metadata collection program. Some of Paul's colleagues accused the senator of using the vote as a publicity stunt for his presidential campaign.

“I know what this is about -- I think it’s very clear -- this is, to some degree, a fundraising exercise,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday. "He obviously has a higher priority for his fundraising and political ambitions than for the security of the nation."

McCain has said he will support Graham's bid for the Republican nomination.

Meanwhile, Paul has accused Graham and McCain of being "lapdogs" for President Barack Obama.

”I believe in a strong national defense. I believe in peace through strength. I think that intervention’s not always the answer and that some interventions lead to unintended consequences," Paul said of his foreign policy stance.

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