Lindsey Graham channels his inner comedian and Howard Beale with bonkers "SNL" bit: "How am I losing to these people?"

Carson "tried to kill someone at 14," Donald Trump is "crazy as hell," and Graham can't understand how he's losing


Scott Eric Kaufman
October 26, 2015 6:08PM (UTC)

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is not going to be the next president, but perhaps what he's really running for is a permanent seat on the "Morning Joe" panel.

In a frankly bonkers interview on MSNBC this morning -- filled with biting takedowns of the rest of the GOP field, especially Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, but also what almost seemed like a stand-up routine complete with classic "Saturday Night Live" references -- Graham spoke with the kind of honesty you're only allowed when you're polling at 1 percent and on Monday morning basic cable.

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For his first joke, he busted out a Bernie Sanders Goes To Moscow routine. "Can I give you my take on this race?" he asked. "You have two front-runners on the Democratic side, right? The No. 2 went to the Soviet Union on his honeymoon -- and I don't think he ever came back. The leader felt that she was flat broke after her husband was president for eight years -- and that's maybe why they stole the China."

Then he turned to Donald Trump and Ben Carson, saying "on our side, you've got the No. 2 guy [saying he] tried to kill someone at 14 and the No. 1 is high energy and crazy as hell.  How am I losing to these people?"

"How am I losing to these people?" alludes, of course, to the 1988 "SNL" debate parody in which a moderator turns to Michael Dukakis after a George Bush points-of-light word-collage and asks for his reaction. Dukakis is in disbelief:

Graham was also asked about abortion. "Is it possible for a Republican to get elected president if they have the position Marco Rubio has on abortion, which is to say no exceptions, even in the case of rape, incest and life of the mother?" wondered John Heilemann.

The senator replied that he is "pro-life," but that he "would never tell a woman who has been raped she's got to carry the child of the rapist. Eighty-three percent of the American people feel like that goes too far. So if you would veto a bill that had an exception for rape or incest -- you know, I appreciate your passion for the pro-life issue, but you're outside of the main stream and you cannot get elected. Anybody with that position will get creamed. I think you lose 350 electoral votes.

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Watch the entire interview below via MSNBC.

Who's In And Who's Out For GOP Debate


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 skaufman@salon.com.

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