- The Washington Times
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A former senior advisor to President Obama said Wednesday that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s attempt to draw a link between the crisis in Ukraine and the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya show that he is worried about his GOP primary race back home.

Responding to the situation in Ukraine, Mr. Graham, who is running for re-election and holds a double-digit lead in the latest primary polls, said via Twitter this week that, “It started with Benghazi.”

“When you kill Americana and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression,” he said.

David Axelrod, who worked in the Obama White House, countered on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Mr. Graham is trying to shore up his right flank ahead of his June 10 primary.

“It is not a new development in Washington where people shoot first and solve problems later, and in the midst of primary season that gets intensified,” Mr. Axelrod said.

“I think when Lindsey Graham tweeted that tweet he was thinking more of Buford [South Carolina] than Benghazi because he has a tough primary and somehow he thinks he will get points with the right by hitting the president hard here.”

Mr. Graham is a frequent target of tea partyers and grassroots conservative groups. The latest poll in South Carolina, though, shows he has a 36 percentage point lead over this closest rival in the GOP primary.

To avoid a June 24 two-person runoff, someone in the race must win over 50 percent of the vote in the race.

Meanwhile, Mr. Axelrod said Wednesday that the Obama administration is doing exactly what its critics want: giving economic assistance to Ukraine, isolating Russia by working with the nation’s allies and considering a package of economic sanctions against Russia.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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