I spotted an ebullient Senator Lindsey Graham in the lobby of the Nashua Crown Plaza last night where John McCain was holding his election night fete. I wanted some insight about the race moving into South Carolina, and Graham agreed to speak with me. He motioned me to sit with him in one of two adjacent chairs, the kind that Middle Eastern kings and “presidents” sit in when visited by foreign diplomats. Graham was charming gracious with me and the scores of reporters calling his blackberry.
He mapped out McCain’s strategy in South Carolina post New Hampshire, explaining that McCain had won the support of the state’s head of the National Guard, an elected position in the state. Understand this. There is a two star general in South Carolina, who needs to run for reelection. This general has endorsed McCain and will use his political organization on McCain’s behalf. “John uses the words ‘win’ and ‘victory,'” Mr. Graham, who described Mr. McCain as a Reaganite figure who could weave the Republican coalition back together, said. “John is the soldier’s candidate.”
Also interesting was what Patrick Buchanan told me about Rudolph Giuliani’s novel strategy of foregoing early contests to focus on Florida and the February 5 states. “You’re going to go 0 for 4 and win the thing?” Buchanan asked. “If he were my strategist, he’d be sleeping with the fishes,” he added.