In small town SC, Sen. Lindsey Graham announces run for presiden - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

In small town SC, Sen. Lindsey Graham announces run for president

CENTRAL, SC (WIS) -

Just 20 minutes outside of his hometown of Seneca in the small town of Central where he was born, Sen. Lindsey Graham formally announced his plans to seek the nation's highest office.

"Get ready," Graham told the assembled crowd of hundreds. "I know I'm ready."

Graham officially enters an extremely crowded Republican primary field that includes fellow senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. 

Mobile users, check out who else is running for president.

Graham is no stranger to the 2016 race. On April 19, he told Fox News there was a 91 percent chance he would run for the nation's highest office.

Recently in an interview with CBS This Morning, Graham was a bit more bold in his declaration, saying that he was "running" without actually formally announcing.

"I'm running because of what you see on television. I'm running because I think the world is falling apart. I've been more right than wrong on foreign policy," Graham said.

Graham echoed those sentiments in his announcement speech, saying President Barack Obama has made the country less safe.

"We've learned over the past six years that speeches alone won't make us safer," Graham said. "Superior power and resolve will."

Graham spoke at length about what he believes will be the most important issue of the 2016 election: foreign policy.

"I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate. I know the players - our friends and our enemies alike. Most importantly, they know me. I have listened, learned and prepared myself for the job of Commander-in-Chief," Graham said.

Graham has a history of being critical toward Democrats and even his own party when it comes to foreign policy. However, Graham said he was willing to work across the aisle to get big things accomplished.

"To my fellow Republicans, I'll be a champion for limited and effective government and a strong national defense. I'll be a voice for social conservative values without apology or animosity. I love my party. I'm committed to see it prosper and grow.

To my friends in the other party, on the big things we share a common fate. I'll work with you to strengthen the country we both love. Our differences are real, and we'll debate them. But you're not my enemy. You're my fellow countrymen," Graham said.

Graham has been a hawkish Republican and an old guard neoconservative, who supports U.S. interventionism.

He is also known for his willingness to compromise on bipartisan legislation. During his tenure as senator, Graham has become known for his deal-making savvy, working with Democrats on climate change and immigration reform.

The veteran senator's contrast with the tea party is a microcosm of the GOP's search for a nominee. The multiple Republican candidates run the gamut of political ideologies. The coming campaign trail will be a showdown between neoconservatives like Graham, moderates like Chris Christie and those leaning far-right like Ted Cruz.

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