By: Associated Press
LAS VEGAS — The 2016 Republican presidential candidates debated Tuesday night for the last time in 2015, this time in Las Vegas, as they raced for advantage seven weeks before the first votes are cast in Iowa.
Before the main event, the Republican presidential candidates participating in the undercard debate faced off and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham once again stole the undercard show with his colorful one-liners.
Graham railed against rival Donald Trump for his sharp rhetoric on barring Muslims from entering the country.
He said: “Mr. Trump, you don’t have to speak about everything. That’s not required.”
Graham also criticized Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for saying he’d be open to keeping Syrian President Bashar Assad in power. He quoted from “The Princess Bride,” Cruz’s favorite movie, to make his point.
He says “getting in bed with Iran and Russia to save Assad is inconceivable. Princess Buttercup would not like this.”
And he said of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “I’m not afraid of a guy riding around on a horse without his shirt.”
Graham also turned to humor as he tried to drive home his warning about the immediate threat the country faces from radical Islamic terrorists.
Graham said there’s no need to revive a military draft, saying he doesn’t want people fighting in a war who don’t want to be there.
Graham said if “you want to fix this, you get the Army to 500,000, not 420,000.” The Army has said it may have to cut down to 420,000 soldiers by 2019, depending on its budget,
Graham wants to send 10,000 U.S. troops into Iraq and 10,000 troops into Syria to fight as part of a coalition made up mostly of troops from Arab nations in the Middle East. He said: “There must be American boots on the ground in order to win. If you don’t understand that, you’re not ready to be commander in chief.”
Graham said at least 3,500 American Muslims are currently serving in the U.S. armed services and deserve to be thanked.
“Your religion is not the enemy,” he said.
He said Muslim-Americans are the solution to radicals.
Graham added: “Leave the faith alone. Go after the radicals that kill us all.”
Graham said, “Make me president, I will keep you and your family safe.”