It can happen that quickly in Washington, especially in the age of Twitter.
On Wednesday evening, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had reached the pinnacle of power in the nation’s capital: His second meeting with the president in mere days. Your correspondent and others declared Graham and his ‘Three Amigos’ running buddies officially back after losing influence in the last Congress. And then, Twitter came after the senior senator from South Carolina.
On Wednesday evening, Graham and 11 other GOP senators dined with President Barack Obama, talking deficits and other issues. At the same time, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was on the Senate floor filibustering Obama’s nominee for CIA director, John Brennan (who eventually was confirmed on Thursday), over the Obama administration’s unmanned aircraft strike policy.
Graham unleashed a Twitter onslaught when he slammed Paul for suggesting the administration was willing to use unmanned aircraft on U.S. citizens inside the United States. It’s typically a very bad thing when a movement with a Twitter hashtag pops up focused on one individual. Enter #PrimaryGraham.
Graham faced the onslaught head on, refusing to apologize when asked about the flap by a throng of reporters Thursday just off the Senate floor. He also refused to apologize to ultra-conservatives in South Carolina who are criticizing him for having dinner with Obama. Graham also claimed he isn’t worried about a challenge from his right.
There have been whispers on Capitol Hill for months that Graham is worried about a tea party primary challenger. Thursday could have been the moment that makes that a reality. Stay tuned.
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