Graham on 2016: 'I may just jump in'

Graham said in a story out Friday that he'd consider a presidential bid.

Story highlights

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham fuels speculation on a potential 2016 presidential bid.
  • Graham says Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) "not quite ready" to be president in a Weekly Standard interview.
The field of potential Republican presidential candidates in 2016 might have just gained one more name: Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Known for his hawkish foreign policy approach, the South Carolina Republican told the Weekly Standard in a story published Friday that he'll enter the race if he thinks he's the most competent messenger for a more aggressive foreign policy approach.
"If I get through my general election, if nobody steps up in the presidential mix, if nobody's out there talking — ​me and McCain have been talking — ​I may just jump in to get to make these arguments," Graham told the Weekly Standard.
Graham has called for airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to fight terrorism, a position that aligns well with some 69 percent of Republicans who identify themselves as "hawks" according to a CNN/ORC poll last week. The senator, who maintains an 18-point lead over his Democratic opponent in his campaign for a third term, emerged as a vocal critic of the White House in 2012 when four Americans were killed in an attack at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
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When it comes to one other possible 2016 hopeful, Sen. Marco Rubio, Graham says the Florida Republican's relative inexperience could be a disqualifier.
"He's a good guy, but after doing immigration with him — we don't need another young guy not quite ready," Graham said in the Weekly Standard interview. "He's no Obama by any means, but he's so afraid of the right, and I've let that go."
Though a presidential bid for Graham, 59, is likely a long shot, he's earned accolades from McCain if he were to throw his hat in the ring.
"I've strongly encouraged him to give it a look," McCain said. "I think Lindsey has vast and deep experience on these issues that very few others have."