Rounding out a lengthy response to the question of whether or not he has policy positions that qualify him more to run as a Democrat than as a Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina took shots at the Democratic presidential field Wednesday night during the GOP "undercard" debate, mocking Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for being a self-proclaimed socialist.
"The No. 2 guy [running for the Democratic nomination] went to the Soviet Union on his honeymoon, and I don't think he ever came back," Graham said to raucous applause.
Sanders went to the Soviet Union with his new wife in 1988. The trip was a part of a diplomatic trip to the city of Yaroslavl, which is northwest of Moscow. At the time, he was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He is trailing front-runner Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic Partty's presidential nomination.
In his response during the debate, which was hosted by CNBC, Graham also qualified his position recognizing climate change as a threat to the planet and his support for immigration reform. He repeatedly mentioned his foreign policy background and insisted that the United States needs to be more aggressive.
"I think I'm trying to solve problems," Graham said. "I'm tired of telling people things that they want to hear that they know we're not going to do."
Graham has made hawkish foreign policy a central part of his political identity, saying during the second presidential debate last month that his plan to take on the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, is to “kill every one of these bastards we can find, because if not, they are coming” to American shores.
Still, Graham’s campaign has struggled from the start with voters. He stood at 11th place with national voters, according to an average of polls from Real Clear Politics. He received a meager 1 percent of the national vote and is ahead of only former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former New York Gov. George Pataki. That poor polling has meant that Graham hasn’t shared a stage with the top GOP contenders during the prime-time debates, including the CNBC debate held Wednesday. He has only been a part of the earlier debates for the lowest-polling candidates, which have been dubbed the "kids’ table."
Graham’s poor polling has forced him to resort to campaign tactics that have included destroying his cell phone in a stylish, slow motion video after real estate mogul and longtime Republican front-runner Donald Trump told reporters publicly what Graham’s personal cell phone number was.