CNN’s Alisyn Camerota spotlighted Senator Lindsey Graham on Monday’s New Day over his supposedly good performance at the earlier CNBC debate for the lower-tier Republican presidential candidates: “You being on that early debate has allowed you to bust out some great zingers and jokes. I mean, a lot of people thought that you stole the show…it gave you more air time that you wouldn’t actually get on the main stage…It also distinguished you in terms of substance.”

Overall, the South Carolina politician didn’t get the confrontational treatment that many Republican/conservative guests get on CNN. It should be pointed out that Senator Graham was “spotted at a private media party hosted by CNN…pouring and throwing back a few drinks with members of the media” the night before that debate on CNBC, as reported by MRC TV’s Brittany Hughes on October 28, 2015.

Camerota led the interview of the Republican senator with the issue of the recent meeting between the campaigns of many of the Republican presidential candidates regarding the format of future debates. She first wondered, “Do you still have confidence in the RNC?” Graham answered, in part, that “some of the questions have been downright silly…the second debate went on too long. The last debate was just a complete food fight. So, we’re trying to take control over the process — and Reince Priebus is a good friend. My beef is not with him.”

The CNN journalist gave her superlative language about her guest after mentioning that the South Carolina Republican called for splitting all of his fellow presidential candidates evenly between two debate:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: I know that what you’ve called for is splitting the number into two — having…seven candidates in the first debate; seven candidates in the second — just mix it up. And that does sound like a good idea. Was there any suggestion last night that they will do that?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, I think there were some. I think we’re making progress, so that the candidates can input about how the debate is structured — how long opening statements, closing statements. I think, over time, this is going to get better. CNN has a debate coming down the road, and I hope CNN will look at an evenly-divided seven and seven — whatever the numbers are by then — and give everybody a fair shot; ask us all hard questions; and you can understand who we are better in smaller groups.
CAMEROTA: I know — look, you have been on the early debate, and I know that your beef has been that you haven’t been on the main stage. But, to be honest, you being on that early debate has allowed you (Graham laughs) to bust out some great zingers and jokes. I mean, a lot of people thought that you stole the show. You know, it gave you more air time that you wouldn’t actually get on the main stage, in fact. It also distinguished you in terms of substance.
Mitt Romney recently Tweeted — he said, ‘After hearing Lindsey Graham talk foreign policy tonight at the last debate, it’s clear he belongs on the big stage.’ But, you know, that’s a double-edged sword. I mean, you have been able to get a lot of attention for how you’ve conducted yourself in that early debate.
Senator Graham complimented Romney and his wife for their support, but underlined that “when a million and a half people watch the first debate, and 14 million watch the second, your ability to break out is fairly limited. When you’re called the ‘undercard’ candidate, it sort of puts you in a different spot, too. I don’t think I’m an undercard candidate.”

Camerota also mentioned how competitor Ted Cruz called for “only let[ting] Republicans ask Republicans questions,” as she put it. The GOP presidential candidate replied that “journalists are not supposed to be Republicans or Democrats. I know there’s media bias. You know there’s media bias. But I thought the CNN debate was a well-done debate — by Jake Tapper. I have no problems with what he did…. I think it’s not the political bias of the moderator that’s driving the problem here. It’s this — sort of, this ‘gotcha’ stuff.”

The anchor followed up by citing the Washington Post’s take on the upcoming Fox Business Network debate:

CAMEROTA: Senator, we’ve heard that the new conditions will not apply to the next debate. That’s nine days from now. That’s on the Fox Business Network. And the Washington Post, this morning, suggests that the reason that there will not be new rules is because some of the campaigns are afraid of Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News. (Graham laughs) Are some of the campaigns afraid of Roger Ailes?
GRAHAM: I like Roger Ailes, but I’m not afraid of him. I’ve told him and others at Fox, I don’t like the idea of splitting the group in two, based on national polling, where the difference between fourth place and last is within the margin of error. There’s only two candidates consistently polling outside of double digits. The rest of us are from zero and ten. So, to the extent that Fox News uses that as a criteria, I think that’s wrong.
Camerota ended the interview with a softball question about Graham’s friendship with former Senator Fred Thompson, who passed away on Sunday.

The full transcript of Alisyn Camerota’s interview of Senator Lindsey Graham from the November 2, 2015 edition of CNN’s New Day:

SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: Look, I think there’s no question that last week’s debate was a complete disaster, and I think our candidates are rightly upset. Anyone who thinks that we can, sort of, put words in moderators’ mouth (sic) is crazy. The candidates have confidence in what the RNC’s doing.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: All right. That was Sean Spicer of the RNC on ‘New Day’ last hour, talking about the candidates calling for changes to the debate format. So what are the candidate’s biggest beefs?
Let’s ask Republican presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator, great to see you this morning.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Is Sean Spicer right? Do you still have confidence in the RNC?
GRAHAM: Well, I think we’re moving forward in a — in a productive fashion. We have too many people on one stage, and too few on the other. I don’t mind being asked hard questions and challenging questions. I think some of the questions have been downright silly. And this thing has gone on too long — the second debate went on too long. The last debate was just a complete food fight. So, we’re trying to take control over the process — and Reince Priebus is a good friend. My beef is not with him.
CAMEROTA: I know that what you’ve called for is splitting the number into two — having seven people—
GRAHAM: Yeah—
CAMEROTA: Seven candidates in the first debate; seven candidates in the second — just mix it up. And that does sound like a good idea. Was there any suggestion last night that they will do that?
GRAHAM: Oh, I think there were some. I think we’re making progress, so that the candidates can input about how the debate is structured — how long opening statements, closing statements. I think, over time, this is going to get better. CNN has a debate coming down the road, and I hope CNN will look at an evenly-divided seven and seven — whatever the numbers are by then — and give everybody a fair shot; ask us all hard questions; and you can understand who we are better in smaller groups.
CAMEROTA: I know — look, you have been on the early debate, and I know that your beef has been that you haven’t been on the main stage. But, to be honest, you being on that early debate has allowed you (Graham laughs) to bust out some great zingers and jokes. I mean, a lot of people thought that you stole the show. You know, it gave you more air time that you wouldn’t actually get on the main stage, in fact. It also distinguished you in terms of substance.
Mitt Romney recently Tweeted — he said, ‘After hearing Lindsey Graham talk foreign policy tonight at the last debate, it’s clear he belongs on the big stage.’ But, you know, that’s a double-edged sword. I mean, you have been able to get a lot of attention for how you’ve conducted yourself in that early debate.
GRAHAM: Well, one, Mitt has been very kind to me, and I appreciate what Mitt and Ann have done to — to be supportive of a — of a process that would include Lindsey Graham. But when a million and a half people watch the first debate, and 14 million watch the second, your ability to break out is fairly limited. When you’re called the ‘undercard’ candidate, it sort of puts you in a different spot, too. I don’t think I’m an undercard candidate. I’d love to have a discussion with my — my colleagues up there about Syria. What would you do differently regarding Syria than Obama? And this whole strategy in Syria’s failing, and it’s never going to work. It’s a complete disaster. But do the — do the other people running for president have much of a different plan? That’s the question.
CAMEROTA: Before we get to Syria, I do just want to tell you what two of your fellow GOP candidates are suggesting about the debates and the format and the moderators moving forward. So, please—
GRAHAM: Okay—
CAMEROTA: So listen to this sound bite.
GRAHAM: Okay.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from campaign event): Now, how about if we say, from now on, if you have never voted in a Republican primary in your life, you don’t get to moderate a Republican primary debate?
BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from interview on ABC’s This Week): We should have moderators who are interested in disseminating the information about the candidates, as opposed to — you know, ‘gotcha.’
CAMEROTA: Okay. So that was Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. Senator, is that the answer — only let Republicans ask Republicans questions?
GRAHAM: No, not really, because journalists are not supposed to be Republicans or Democrats. I know there’s media bias. You know there’s media bias. But I thought the CNN debate was a well-done debate — by Jake Tapper. I have no problems with what he did.
At the end of the day, we’re trying to grow the party; and one way to grow the party is be challenged by people who are not in it. So I — I think it’s not the political bias of the moderator that’s driving the problem here. It’s this — sort of, this ‘gotcha’ stuff.
CAMEROTA: Senator, we’ve heard that the new conditions will not apply to the next debate. That’s nine days from now. That’s on the Fox Business Network. And the Washington Post, this morning, suggests that the reason that there will not be new rules is because some of the campaigns are afraid of Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News. (Graham laughs) Are some of the campaigns afraid of Roger Ailes?
GRAHAM: I like Roger Ailes, but I’m not afraid of him. I’ve told him and others at Fox, I don’t like the idea of splitting the group in two, based on national polling, where the difference between fourth place and last is within the margin of error. There’s only two candidates consistently polling outside of double digits. The rest of us are from zero and ten. So, to the extent that Fox News uses that as a criteria, I think that’s wrong.
CAMEROTA: Senator, I know that you wanted to get to Syria, so tell—
GRAHAM: Yes, I do—
CAMEROTA: Let’s talk about what the President has announced — 50 more U.S. military special ops heading to Syria. What’s the problem?
GRAHAM: Well, one, it won’t work. ISIL is a direct threat to our homeland. They want to destroy the Christian faith, and they’re doing it. They want to purify the Islamic faith. They’re slaughtering people in their own faith who disagree with them. They want to attack Israel. But, most importantly, they want to attack us.
You know, ISIL’s very radical. They make al Qaeda look like the Rotary Club. So I want to destroy these guys before they hit us. Fifty people is not going to turn the tide of battle. You need a ground force. The air campaign is not working.
Here’s what I would do: I’d have a no-fly zone in Syria — to better train people; to stop the flow of refugees. I would enlist regional armies who have the same goal as we do — to destroy ISIL — and I would be part of that ground force that — there’d be three groups of ground forces: people inside of Syria, regional armies, and American troops. We’d be about 10 percent of that force. I’d go in on the ground, and destroy these guys. What Obama’s doing is not going to work.
CAMEROTA: Senator, last, on a sad note, we know that you were a dear friend of Senator Fred Thompson who we lost this weekend. I remember you guys being on John McCain’s ‘straight talk express’ in 2000, and just how much fun you guys had together.
GRAHAM: One of the reasons it was fun was because of Fred Thompson. He was incredibly funny; policy-wise, brilliant — great voice of conservatism. But more than anything else, he was just a hell of a good friend.
I was on a radio station with Fred and Cindy McCain in South Carolina, and Bush called in by mistake in 2000 (laughs). And all I can say is that Fred had a good time. He will be missed. He was a giant of a man. He was a talented fellow. But more than anything else, he was a great public servant and a dear friend.
CAMEROTA: We’re sorry for your loss. Senator Lindsey Graham, thanks so much for being on New Day this morning.
GRAHAM: Thank you very much.

Please help support the fight to keep America safe with your generous donation.

Source: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/matthew-balan/2015/11/02/cnn-plays-lindsey-grahams-great-zingers-undercard-debate

Support Security is Strength PAC with your generous donation.