Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) dropped out of the presidential race via video message today.
“Today, I am suspending my campaign for president,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who has taken this journey with me; you have honored me with your support.”
Graham said his campaign put forward “bold and practical solutions to big problems” on issues such as the national debt and immigration. “This has been a problem-solvers campaign.”
He acknowledged that the centerpiece of his campaign, though, has been national security.
“I got into this race to put forward a plan to win a war we cannot afford to lose, and to turn back the tide of isolationism that was rising in our party. I believe we made enormous progress in this effort,” he said. “Four months ago at the very first debate I said that any candidate who did not understand that we need more American troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIL was not ready to be commander in chief. At that time, no one stepped forward to join me. Today, most of my fellow candidates have come to recognize this is what’s needed to secure our homeland.”
Graham had said from the start of his campaign that he was in the race to help influence the national debate on national security.
“I’m far more confident today that our party will reject the Obama doctrine of leading from behind and will provide the strong leadership America needs to restore our military, take the fight to our enemies, and do what it takes to make our country safe and preserve our way of life,” the senator continued.
“This is a generational struggle that demands a strategy and the will to win. I will continue to work every day to ensure that our party and our nation takes on this fight. I’m suspending my campaign but never my commitment to achieving security through strength for the American people. God bless our fighting men and women, and God bless America.”
Graham has registered at one percent or less nationally. He did deliver the most-cited soundbites from the early “happy hour” debates, which now will include former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) — unless more drop out before January’s Iowa debates.