GOP undercard debate: Lindsey Graham slams Rick Santorum for suggesting Hispanics aren't American

He also urged elderly, white conservatives to have more kids late in life to help make the GOP relevant again

Scott Eric Kaufman
September 17, 2015 3:05AM (UTC)

During a heated moment in the GOP undercard debate, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum bickered with current South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who had just claimed that George W. Bush had won the presidency with the support of Hispanics, "compared to what we're doing," a reference to the star of the evening.

Santorum replied that "we need to win fighting for Americans," compelling Graham to remind him that "Hispanics are Americans." The former senator acknowledged as much shortly thereafter, claiming "that the people who are hurt the most by illegal immigration are Hispanics."


Graham rolled his eyes and said, "in my world, Hispanics are American." Santorum speculated that recent Hispanic immigrants "who came to this country and played by the rules" are the most negatively impacted by undocumented immigrants because they're fighting for the same low-wage jobs.

"I have a little different take on where the country's going with this issue," Graham said, before explaining that old, white conservatives aren't reproducing quickly or long enough.

"Strom Thurmond had four kids after he was 67," he explained, "if you're not willing to do that, we're going to have to do something about illegal immigration." That he was suggesting that elderly members of the Grand Old Party marry women significantly younger than them for the sole purpose of reproduction didn't seem to occur to him, because the GOP isn't waging a war on women.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Elections 2016 Gop Undercard Debate Lindsey Graham Rick Santorum

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