Mark Kirk: Lindsey Graham is a ‘bro with no ho’

Washington CNN  — 

Sen. Mark Kirk said fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is a “bro with no ho.”

While his remarks were perhaps less than diplomatic, however, they were no big deal to one of Graham’s presidential primary opponents. Speaking on CNN’s “Out Front” Thursday night, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum dismissed it as a “locker-room conversation” that people today aren’t afforded the “privilege” of having because of ubiquitous recording devices.

“You can’t say anything off-mic, off-camera – and you know, guys’ll be guys when they’re sitting there up on a platform,” he said.

Santorum demurred when asked whether Kirk should apologize, calling both he and Graham “decent folks” and the comments a “sort of funny remark.”

“To me it’s disappointing that someone would say something like that. I’ll leave it up to Mark Kirk to determine whether he wants to apologize or not,” Santorum said.

But as for the substance of the comments, Santorum said he didn’t think Graham’s lifelong bachelorhood should disqualify him from the presidency.

“I think you elect the person to be president,” he said. “We’ve had bachelors before in the White House.”

During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday, the Illinois senator was heard on the live microphone talking about the Republican presidential candidate.

“I’ve been joking with Lindsey,” Kirk was overheard saying. “He’s going to have a rotating first lady. He’s a bro with no ho.”

He can be overheard at the 0:26 mark of the audio recording.

Kirk’s office told The Huffington Post, who first reported the story, that he was “joking around with his colleagues.”

Last month, Kirk faced criticism after saying that he’d “drive faster” through black communities.

In this recording, he was referring to comments Graham made earlier this week about who would become the first lady if he were elected president.

“Well, I’ve got a sister, she could play that role if necessary,” said Graham in an interview with “I’ve got a lot of friends. We’ll have a rotating first lady.”

If Graham were elected president, he’d be the first bachelor in the position since James Buchanan in 1856.

“You know at the end of the day, we’ve got a great first lady, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush – the last two have been really good,” Graham said in an interview with CNN Wednesday. “I don’t bring that to the table, but I do think I bring something unique to the table in this regard.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest took a shot at Graham in the wake of his comments on Thursday during his daily press briefing.

“It’s hard for me to imagine both a Graham White House and what a Graham White House would be without a first lady. I would defer to the Senator to describe what that would be,” he said.

The Graham campaign responded by criticizing the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

“Let’s imagine a White House without Barack Obama,” said Brittany Bramell, a Graham campaign spokeswoman. “A Graham White House would be respected by our allies and feared by our enemies. It’s not that hard to imagine a Graham White House, particularly with the nightmare Americans have been living through these last 6 years.”