Oct 4, 2020
Lindsey Graham vs. Jaime Harrison SC Senate Debate Transcript October 3
Senator Lindsey Graham debated against his Democratic opponent in South Carolina, Jaime Harrison. Read the full transcript of their October 3 debate.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Judi (Moderator): (00:15)
Because camera angles can be deceiving I want to assure our audience watching this evening that the candidate podiums are 13 feet apart this evening. Also, we are following all CDC protocols for tonight’s debate. A coin toss determined the order of opening statements. Mr. Harrison, you won that toss. The next minute on the floor is yours.
Jaime Harrison: (00:35)
Thank you. Thank you so much, Judi. And I want to thank everyone here on the campus of Allen University. While I breathe, I hope, that’s the motto of this great state South Carolina, but it might as well be the theme of my entire life. I’m a son of a teen mom. I was raised by grandparents with a fourth grade and eighth-grade education. I went to Yale, the first in my family. I went to Georgetown Law School. I worked on Capitol Hill. I worked for private sector and now I’m a candidate for the United States Senate. Excuse me, if I pinch myself a little bit. I’ve lived the American dream and I’ve spent my entire life fighting for others to make sure that they do the same thing.
Jaime Harrison: (01:15)
We’ve been divided for too long. Too many folks here in South Carolina lack the opportunity to live the American dream themselves. Tonight you will probably hear from Lindsey Graham and he will scare you to vote for him. I hope tonight to inspire you to support me.
Judi (Moderator): (01:33)
Thank you, Sir. Senator Graham, one minute.
Lindsey Graham: (01:35)
Thank you. You have nothing to be afraid about when it comes to me. Thank you very much for tuning in. Thank you to Allen University. Thank you to everybody who’s gotten me here. We live in difficult times. 2020 is the most incredible year. We’ve been challenged like no other time. Coronavirus has turned our state and nation upside down. Mr. Harrison lost an aunt. The President of the United States is in the hospital as I speak. We’re going to get through this. When I was 21 my mom died of cancer, 15 months later, my dad died. I was in charge of a 13-year-old sister. My whole world came crashing down but I made it. We got drug therapies that are working, mortality rates are going down, a vaccine is around the corner. This is a big choice election between me and Mr. Harrison. Capitalism versus socialism. Conservative judges versus liberal judges. Law and order versus chaos.
Judi (Moderator): (02:35)
Thank you, sir.
Lindsey Graham: (02:36)
You know where I stand.
Judi (Moderator): (02:37)
Thank you very much. Gentlemen, thank you both again for being here this evening. It is our hope and our expectation to give our nation and our children an example of what civil discourse looks like and how to engage in passionate but respectful debate. So we’ll thank you for that in advance.
Judi (Moderator): (02:53)
Senator Graham, the first question to you and will have Mr. Harrison answer as well. In the last 24 hours, the list of public officials infected by COVID-19 has grown exponentially. People of faith are and goodwill across our country are certainly praying for everyone infected to make a full recovery, but it cannot be ignored that many people who are infected attended large gatherings and completely disregarded the protocols put out by the CDC. The question is how has politicization of the virus damaged our response federally and here in our state?
Lindsey Graham: (03:29)
Well, here’s what I would say, that President Wilson got the Spanish flu right after World War I, and we live in such unusual times I doubt if anybody yet attacked him. All I can say is that the virus is a problem that came out of China, not Trump Tower, that we’re getting vaccines ready I think any months now, hopefully even sooner. The drug therapies are working. The one thing I want people to know is that the virus is serious, but we have to move on as a nation. When a military member gets infected, you don’t shut down the whole unit.
Lindsey Graham: (04:03)
We’re going to have a hearing for Amy Barrett, the nominee to the Supreme Court. It will be done safely. But I’ve got a job to do and I’m pressing on. And the one thing I find odd, nobody asked me, how are you doing Senator Graham, when 200 people showed up at my house and broke my window. My liberal democratic friends never mention the virus when people roaming around the streets rioting and burning down cop cars and breaking windows. It is a problem. It’s a problem for the nation. It is something we’re going to get through. But I promise you, we’re not going to stop doing our job in Washington. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I promise you we’re going to get Judge Barrett on the court safely.
Judi (Moderator): (04:45)
Thank you, sir. Thank you, sir. Mr. Harrison, the same question to you.
Jaime Harrison: (04:48)
This question is about the coronavirus, not Judge Barrett, not the Supreme Court. This has impacted me personally, Judi. My grand aunt, Gladys passed away this July in a nursing home by herself. That is the story that so many Americans are experiencing right now. And part of why we’re experiencing … No, we’re not going to blame the president. We shouldn’t blame the president. We shouldn’t blame anybody for the inception of this disease. But where blame should come is how we handled this disease, whether or not we take it seriously. Tonight, I am taking it seriously. That’s why I put this plexiglass up because it’s not just about me, it’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of as well, my two boys, my wife, my grandmother. We need to make sure we are addressing the issue here in South Carolina. We have had 750,000 people unemployed here in South Carolina because of the COVID. We’ve had 3,000 people to die. We’ve had over a hundred thousand to be infected. Let’s take this issue seriously and do all that we can to not only take care of ourselves but each other.
Judi (Moderator): (05:58)
I want to ask the next question, a follow-up about the coronavirus and the impact specifically here in South Carolina. Governor Henry McMaster has asked South Carolina schools to resume five days to face instruction. And quite frankly, I have talked to many teachers and parents who want to do the very same if it’s done safely. Here’s the concern, Senator Graham, you and your colleagues, I know you had a coronavirus test either yesterday or today and the other officials that we’re hearing about. You get your results in a matter of hours. Here in South Carolina, people are waiting for days, sometimes more than a week to get results. And we know how critical that is in terms of containing the virus. The question is, should we ask our teachers to return to class for five day face-to-face instruction without having access to widespread, rapid testing, to quickly identify and contain those cases in schools?
Lindsey Graham: (06:49)
I think we should allow our parents to make a decision about what’s best for their children. And if a teacher doesn’t want to go back to the classroom, I won’t make them. I’ve supported legislation that increased unemployment benefits because people lost their job at no fault of their own. I’ve been trying to get our PPP, the mask, gloves that were all in China, back in America, and let American textile companies make it here at home so we’re not so dependent.
Lindsey Graham: (07:15)
But the one thing we’re not going to do if I’m your Senator is shut the country down. We’re going to open up safely. We’re now getting back to business here in South Carolina. Shutting the country down has a effect of its own, alcoholism up, domestic violence. So we’re going to handle this virus. But this issue about how to rebuild America, who do you trust Donald Trump who gave you the best economy before the virus? Or do you trust liberal Democrats? And let me tell you the nightmare scenario for our state. If they keep the House, take over the Senate and Biden’s president, God help us all. And Mr. Harrison’s a Democratic Senator. The most liberal agenda in the history of American politics is coming out of the House to the Senate. Medicare for all takes away your private healthcare. They’re going to stack the Supreme Court. You got to understand what’s at stake here.
Judi (Moderator): (08:07)
Thank you, sir. Your time has expired. Thank you very much. Mr. Harrison, the same question to you. Should we ask our teachers to return to five day face-to-face instruction without first having access to widespread rapid testing?
Jaime Harrison: (08:18)
As a father of two boys and one that is in first grade for the first time, it’s hard. Teaching your kids from home is very, very difficult. If nobody has an appreciation of teachers or didn’t before the coronavirus, they’d better have an appreciation right now. We need a strategy, a 50-state strategy. And the failure of leadership, again, we’re not blaming anybody for the inception of this, but the failure of leadership of addressing us. We failed to act. The Senate failed to act. The White House failed to that. The governors failed to act. We need leaders who are going to step up and act. We need testing here in South Carolina. We need to make sure that we have a mandate that said, “Folks, please just wear your mask so that we can bring down the transmission of this virus and then open our economy back up.”
Jaime Harrison: (09:09)
Right now so many families have so many issues that they’re dealing with, Judi. Again, 750,000 people unemployed. And Senator Graham said over our dead bodies will we allow a federal extension of the unemployment benefit. Folks need that money. The small businesses need that money, but we need leadership in order to get the things that are so necessary for our families to open back up.
Judi (Moderator): (09:32)
Thank you, sir. We want to bring-
Lindsey Graham: (09:33)
Judi (Moderator): (09:34)
He did mention your name. You have 45 seconds if you’d like to provide a rebuttal.
Lindsey Graham: (09:37)
Number one, I supported the phase three, but I said then that if you pay people more not to work than the work, you’re going to have a problem. And it turned out to be true. Joe Cunningham understands, the Democrat in Charleston. It’s been really hard on hotels and restaurants to get back in business when you’re paying people more to be unemployed than to be employed. I want to help people. I want to be responsible. I want us to go back to school. We’ve passed a very robust package. I’m willing to do more. But ladies and gentlemen, this virus is going to pass. What kind of country are you going to have if liberal Democrats run the House, the Senate, and take over the White House? They’re going to do over the electoral college, where New York and California pick your president. They’re going to pack the Supreme Court with liberals. That’s what’s at stake in this election. Don’t be fooled.
Judi (Moderator): (10:25)
Your time has expired, sir. But let me ask you a quick follow-up because you say that the issue is about paying people more when they’re not working versus what they earn by going to their job. But Governor McMaster has said that protocols are being put in place at the Department of Employment and Workforce to make sure that benefits are terminated for anyone who refuses to turn to work. So a lot of people that we’ve heard from want to understand why you’re taking that position if we are putting protocols in to prevent your concern.
Lindsey Graham: (10:50)
Well, it helps to have actually run a business. My family ran a restaurant, a bar, and a liquor store. And here’s what I can tell you, when you’re paying $23 an hour not to work, it’s pretty hard to get people to come back and they get mad when you ask them to come back to work for $18 an hour. I saw this coming. Joe Cunningham understands that what we’ve done is you’ve paid people more not to work than work. I’ve run a business. I know what it’s like to compete with your own government. The one thing I can tell you for small businesses in South Carolina, we’ve got to be generous to people who’ve been unemployed to no fault of their own, but you can’t pay them more not to work than the work. I’m for making you whole not giving you a pay raise and unemployment. And my liberal Democratic friends don’t understand that. I do. My family ran a business.
Judi (Moderator): (11:35)
Thank you, sir. Our next question comes-
Jaime Harrison: (11:37)
Judi (Moderator): (11:38)
He didn’t mention you directly, but if you’d like to respond on our next answer, we’ll come back to it in your response. I need to get to our panelists. My colleague Bill Sharpe, head anchor at WCSC in Charleston. Bill.
Bill Sharpe: (11:48)
Thank you, Judi. Gentlemen, good to have both of you with us here live across the state. Mr. Harrison, Senator Graham, good to see both of you again. Senator, your judiciary committee will hold hearings on Amy Coney Barrett, the present judge, Judge Barrett, the president’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court. And there’s a good chance that she will be a confirmed on the High Court, which would give the Supreme Court a definite tilt toward the conservative side. If she’s confirmed, and it seems as if she will be, that conservative tilt, there is talk, could do away with Roe versus Wade, the 1973 law, Mr. Harrison, which gave as you know, women the right to an abortion, and if not do away with it, overturn it completely, might chip away at a woman’s right to have an abortion. So Mr. Harrison, Senator Graham, my question for you is does a woman in this country have the right to control her own body even if she wants an abortion? Thank you gentlemen.
Judi (Moderator): (12:54)
Jaime Harrison: (12:55)
I believe she does. Men have rights to control their bodies and women should have equal rights to control their bodies as well. Listen, in the end of the day, this is an issue that is a hard issue, but I believe that it’s between a woman, her doctor, and her God. Politicians shouldn’t be anywhere in it. We need to make sure that abortions should be rare. We should look at how we expand adoptions, how we have contraception and educate our kids about all of that. But at the same time, it should be safe if it is the law of the land, which it is at this point in time.
Jaime Harrison: (13:32)
But what we need to do is look at healthcare and particularly healthcare for women. Here in South Carolina, we have some of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. I don’t know if you all know this, but two years ago here in South Carolina, 14 of our 46 counties had no, let me repeat that, zero OB/GYNs. Many of our hospitals in some of our rural communities are closing right now. What are we going to do to tackle these disparities in healthcare that women and particularly minority women are experiencing right now? Senator Graham has failed in his 25 years to properly address these issues.
Judi (Moderator): (14:09)
Lindsey Graham: (14:10)
Well, Amy Barrett is one of the most qualified people in the history of the nation to be nominated for the Supreme Court and she’s going to get on the Court. I’m the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. I’ve tried to be fair when it comes to judges. When president Obama won, I recognized he won the election. I voted for Sotomayor and Kagan, knowing they would be liberal justices, but I understood they were qualified. And here’s what bothers me so much about this whole issue. My opponent supported the filibuster of Judge Gorsuch, one of the most qualified conservatives any Republican president could pick. And he cheered on the crowd that was trying to destroy Judge Kavanaugh’s life. Amy Barrett’s going onto the Court. She will decide Roe v. Wade based on the merits. I am proudly pro-life. I’m sponsoring a bill that would eliminate abortion on-demand at 20 weeks. We’re one of seven nations in the entire world to allow a baby to be aborted at 20 weeks.
Lindsey Graham: (15:03)
… nations in the entire world, that would allow a baby to be aborted at 20 weeks, the fifth month in pregnancy, and my opponent opposes that. This a radical Democratic Party we’re dealing with. Amy Barret, will be a buffer to liberalism, she will decide cases based on what the statute says, what the constitution says, and she won’t make things up. If you want conservative judges, I’m your only bet in this race.
Judi (Moderator): (15:25)
Our next panelist is Joe Bustos, from the State Newspaper, the state and government politics reporter there. Joe.
Joe Bustos: (15:32)
Even gentlemen. Senator Graham, you say you’re moving forward with Amy Coney Barrett is confirmation, because of how Democrats treated Justice Kavanaugh. Mr. Harrison, you said, “Filling the Supreme Court seat shouldn’t be rushed before the election.” Now that previous norms for confirming judicial appointments have been eliminated, what should the new rules be, for filling this Supreme Court seat?
Judi (Moderator): (15:52)
Lindsey Graham: (15:53)
I think the new rule should be, following the Constitution. When a vacancy is available, the sitting president can fill it, you get a four year term, not three and a half. 19 judges had been confirmed in an election year, where the president of one party was of the same party as the Senate. That’s nothing unusual. We’ll have a hearing beginning October the 12th, it will be done safely. And again, we can conduct the hearing safely, but no Democrat seems to say anything about a mob coming up into my yard or attacking Republicans, after president Obama accepts the nomination in Washington. It seems like a riot can’t spread the virus. Amy Barrett, will be treated respectfully, I hope. We’re following the norms of the Committee in terms of, opportunity to question her.
Lindsey Graham: (16:37)
I want to compliment President Trump, for sending over this fine woman. I hope she’s not treated like Kavanaugh. Yes, she’s religious. Yes, she’s a devout Catholic. Yes, she has seven children. And all of that to me, doesn’t matter. What matters, will she apply the law to the facts, and I’m looking forward to it. And one of my legacies as a United States Senator is that, I’ve tried to be fair, not only to Democrats when they appoint judges, but I’ve been a leader on getting conservative judges on the Supreme Court, and the best is yet to come in Amy Barrett.
Judi (Moderator): (17:09)
Thank you sir. Mr. Harrison.
Jaime Harrison: (17:11)
Sometimes listening to Senator Graham, it reminds me of playing monopoly with my son, you change the rules. He changes the rules every time he gets. Senator, you said, “Use my words against me,” and you said it after the Kavanaugh meetings, not before the Kavanaugh hearings, after the Kavanaugh hearings. And your words, your promise was, that no judicial nominee should be considered or approved or what have you, in the last year of an election, and you even named president Trump when you said it.
Jaime Harrison: (17:43)
And so this is my thing. My grandfather always taught me, he said, “Jaime, a man is only as good as his word.” Well, Senator, how good is your word, when you made a promise to the American people, and even more, you made a promise to the folks in South Carolina, that you wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing right now. And that’s the problem that I have. I think the greatest errors that you could do as a public servant, is to betray the trust of the people that you took an oath to serve, and that’s what you have done. Now just be a man of it, and stand up and say, “You know what? I changed my mind. I’m going to do something else.” But don’t go back and blame it on somebody else for something… a flip-flop that you’re making yourself.
Lindsey Graham: (18:23)
If I may, I said in August, if an opening comes about, we’ll see what the market will bear. Ms. Barrett, is going to get confirmed because the president has the constitutional authority to do it. And here is what can say about judges, when president Obama was president, I honored the fact that he won the election, and I voted for two people I wouldn’t have chosen. And I’ve watched the Democratic party, try to destroy one conservative judge after another. Mr. Harrison, encouraged the filibuster of Judge Gorsuch, the first partisan filibuster in the United States Senate. He cheered on the destruction of Brett Kavanaugh.
Lindsey Graham: (18:57)
All I can say is that, Amy Barrett is highly qualified. I’m the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The president has every right to do this, and if you’re counting on Mr. Harrison to ever vote for a conservative judge, you’re making a mistake of high proportion. You can count on me for conservative judges.
Judi (Moderator): (19:13)
Thank Sir. Thank you very much.
Jaime Harrison: (19:14)
Judi (Moderator): (19:14)
Eric Weisfeld. Well, he did make direct… well he did actually [Crosstalk 00:19:19], 45 seconds sir. I want to get as many questions [inaudible 00:19:22], go ahead.
Jaime Harrison: (19:22)
I understand. I understand.
Jaime Harrison: (19:23)
Listen, in the end of the day, this is not about Democrats versus Republicans, it’s about what’s right versus wrong. If you have established a precedence, if you have established a standard, then you should stick by it. Now, the one thing that we have not seen with Senator Graham right now and in the Senate Republicans who are in control, is this type of urgency to address the Corona virus, COVID. Right now, there is a bill sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk, in order to take up. This state is suffering. Our businesses are shuttering. People are dying, as you mentioned earlier, there are not enough tests. But the urgency is to push the Supreme Court Justice, even when they have two members of the Judiciary Committee, who have COVID. But they have not moved at all, on addressing COVID, which is the number one issue right now.
Judi (Moderator): (20:07)
Thank you, sir. Now to our next panelist, Eric Weisfeld. Primary anchor at WMBF in Myrtle Beach. Eric.
Eric Weisfeld: (20:12)
Gentlemen. Good evening. I want to continue to talk about Corona virus. Tourism is the number one industry where I’m from, Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand. And the truth is, we are coming off a very bleak summer season and going into what looks to be weak, fall, and winter seasons, as well. Bottom line is, COVID- 19 has paralyzed our community, restaurants, businesses, hotels have closed, some of them permanently. My question to you is, as Senator, what would you do to bring back our number one moneymaker?
Judi (Moderator): (20:45)
Jaime Harrison: (20:46)
One, we can’t take a piecemeal approach. Take a look at countries like New Zealand. Right now New Zealand, is almost COVID free, and that is because the leader there along with the local leaders, took a direct approach to address this issue. Yes, there was a difficulty initially, but what they have now, you don’t see the spread of COVID. In addition to that, when we think about while we’re in the situation we’re in, because we had feckless leadership, so how do we make it better? How do we make sure that we address the issues that folks in Myrtle Beach are dealing with? Well, you don’t do it by blocking the unemployment relief, because there’s a dignity of work in this thing. It is not that people are sitting on their butts, eating bon bons, while they wait for the federal benefit to come into their doors.
Jaime Harrison: (21:31)
When 750,000 of those folks lost their jobs Judy, 400,000 of them also lost their health insurance, because they had employer based health insurance. So now, not only do they have to take care of their kids who are at home, not only do they have to pay for their internet, to pay for their education, but they also have to dig deeper now, to figure out how they pay their rent and how to pay their health insurance. That’s why we need a Senator who is going to fight for us in our hard times, not fight against us.
Judi (Moderator): (21:58)
Lindsey Graham: (21:59)
I think it’d be good to have a Senator who’s family ran a restaurant, a bar, understands the service industry. I was in Myrtle Beach yesterday, I want to help people who have lost their job, no fault of their own, but the unemployment benefit packages is deterring people going back to the work. We’ll come up with a benefit package, it doesn’t pay you more not to work than to work, will make it whole, but not give you a pay raise. There’s a $2.2 trillion bill, coming out of the House of Representatives, that has $900 billion to bail out, all of the blue States. I want to help the States, but not bail them out for things unrelated to COVID.
Lindsey Graham: (22:35)
We need another round of PPP. 67,000 businesses received a PPP loan. Let’s do it again for businesses, 300 and under, who’ve lost 25% of their revenue. The people at Myrtle Beach are suffering, the best way to get back to work and back to a good life is to get a vaccine. President Trump, is doing warp speed, vaccines are coming forward at a lightening rate. The world has been affected by COVID, the drug therapies are working, the mortality rate is down. I’m encouraged, I’m optimistic. And the best way to get Myrtle Beach back up and running, is to have a president and his Senate, that won’t tax them into oblivion, and regulate them to death.
Judi (Moderator): (23:15)
Thank you Sir. Thank you very much. Our next question comes from Mike Cihla. He’s an anchor at WTOC in Savannah. Take a listen.
Mike Cihla: (23:21)
President Trump signed an executive order, deferring payroll taxes for Americans earning less than $100,000 a year, until the end of this year. He says, he wants to make it permanent if reelected. Now the payroll tax pays for things like Medicare and Social Security. The Social Security chief actuary says, “That would mean Social Security, would be depleted if that went forth three years from now. These are called entitlement programs, which can give the perception that people feel they deserve these programs without doing much for it. But the truth is, the American people have paid into these programs with every pay check, over the course of their lifetime.” What would be your plan moving forward?
Judi (Moderator): (24:00)
Senator Graham, first to you.
Lindsey Graham: (24:01)
Well, number one, let me tell you about me and Social Security. I’m the first in my family to go to college. Mr. Harrison has a great story. But neither one of my parents finished high school. My dad was a World War II veteran. We owned a liquor store and a bar, and you can’t afford to get sick. You go to work every day because if you don’t open up, you don’t get paid. My mom was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, we were under insured and we got wiped out. 15 months later, my dad dies, if it wasn’t for Social Security Survivor Benefits, my sister Darlene who was 13, we wouldn’t have made it. We moved in with an aunt and uncle that worked in the Textile Mills, up in Oakland County, she got Pell Grants. We’re all one car wreck away from needing help. I’m a Republican, but I get that. I really do.
Lindsey Graham: (24:43)
What would I do to save Social Security? Whatever it takes. I make $175,000 a year, as a Senator. I have a military retirement. I have a congressional retirement. I’ll take less than benefits, to make sure somebody like my aunt who worked in the textile plants, who can’t afford to get less… I think Cola, for upper income people like me, you shouldn’t get the same Cola, as somebody on a fixed income. We’ve got to work together. We got to save Social Security. And the way you save it, is if you can afford to take a little bit less, do it. I can now, when I was 21, I couldn’t. I would never ask anybody to give up any benefits they couldn’t afford.
Judi (Moderator): (25:18)
Thank you very much Sir. Mr. Harrison.
Jaime Harrison: (25:20)
Well, one way that you save Social Security, is not by eliminating the payroll tax right now, and during this time period, because as the actuary mentioned, it would wreck this program. And again, Social Security is important to me. I remember when my grandfather passed away in 2004, my grandparents were on an unlimited income, they didn’t have a pension, they didn’t have a 401k, all they had was their Social Security. I remember sitting there the Social Security Office with my grandma, because our thought was that she would get both her check, and my grandfather’s check. The woman said, “Ms. Harrison you’ll get a death benefit,” which was about $200, $300. And my grandma said, “Well, when will I start getting Willie’s check?” And the woman said, “You won’t. You’ll get the higher of the two.” And it was like, somebody punched my grandma in the gut because she was thinking, “Oh my God, how do I pay for all of these things?”
Jaime Harrison: (26:10)
Folks deserve the money that they have put into the system. Lindsey Graham said, “That Social Security and Medicare, were promises that we can’t keep.” Senator, I’m sorry, but they are not promises. People have paid into these systems and they deserve to get the money back that they put into it, because that is the livelihood that they have.
Judi (Moderator): (26:32)
Thank you, sir.
Lindsey Graham: (26:32)
Judi (Moderator): (26:32)
Absolutely, Senator Graham.
Lindsey Graham: (26:34)
Number one, you want a Senator who can fix a problem, you got to acknowledge, you got a problem before you can fix it.
Lindsey Graham: (26:39)
In 1950, there were 16 workers for every Social Security recipient, we’re down to three, in 20 years there’ll be two. My aunt’s on Social Security, most of my family worked in the Cotton Mills, and that’s all they’ve got. I’m of an income where I could take a little bit more and I would to save Social Security.
Lindsey Graham: (26:57)
Ladies and gentlemen, is going to take Bipartisanship. Ronald Reagan, working with Tip O’Neill’s, saved Social Security back in 1983. Something like Simpson [inaudible 00:00:27:05], I’m ready to work with Democrats to save Social Security and Medicare. I’m willing to pay more for my prescription drugs because I can, and there’s people out there that can’t. But I’m not going to turn America into a socialist nation, and that’s their agenda for your health care.
Judi (Moderator): (27:21)
Our next question is about campaign ads. This question comes from my colleague, Richard Rogers at WRDW in Augusta. Take a listen.
Richard Rogers: (27:29)
Good evening. I think it’s safe to say people have been hammered by negative ads in this race. First of all, why did you feel the need to go negative? And would you like to set the record straight on anything that might be a false claim in those ads.
Judi (Moderator): (27:43)
Mr. Harrison, first to you.
Jaime Harrison: (27:45)
Well, thank you for it. Well, listen, I haven’t gone negative, I’ve just been informing people and educating people about Senator Graham’s record. Now in terms of negative and not true, Senator Graham is running something right now that talks about me working for a company that foreclosed on folks in Katrina, and implies that I actually did that.
Jaime Harrison: (28:04)
Well, first of all, when hurricane Katrina hit was 2005, I was working for Congressman Jim Clobber, and I worked for Mr. Clobber until the end of 2008. In 2006, I led the delegation, I put together a delegation of members of Congress to actually go down to New Orleans and to Mississippi, in order to work to rebuild those areas, because the Bush administration had failed to properly help the rebuilding effort. And that was part of the agenda that Jim Clobber and others had, in order to get the majority back, in 2006 election.
Jaime Harrison: (28:35)
And then, as someone who personally has been homeless for a while, I took personal offense to this idea. Now, as Senator Graham wants to talk about foreclosures, we can talk about how he voted for the guy who’s called the King of foreclosures, and that’s treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who foreclosed on 17,000 homes, over the course of a five-year period.
Judi (Moderator): (28:56)
Lindsey Graham: (28:56)
Yeah. Richard, your question was about ads and money. Let’s talk about money in politics, where the hell is all this money coming from? What is it about South Carolina’s has attracted, almost a hundred million dollars into a Jaime Harrison, Mr. Harrison’s coffers. They hate me. This is not about Mr. Harrison, this is about liberals hating my guts because I stood up for Kavanough, when they tried to destroy his life, this is about me helping Donald Trump. The only good Republican as waned it tries to undercut Trump.
Lindsey Graham: (29:29)
I lost a president Trump, when I ran for president, if you don’t remember me running for president, it’s not your fault, it didn’t last that long. I accepted the fact that he won. I think he’s done a good job as president. He’s rebuilt the military. He’s cut our taxes. He’s getting trade deals and he’s securing the border. So the bottom line, the reason you’re seeing all these ads, is they’re trying to take me out. They want the house. They want the Senate. They want Pelosi, Schumer and Biden. They want Harrison in the Senate. They’re going to change the Electoral College. They’re going to do away with private healthcare, Medicare for all, take your health care away from you. They’re going to be…
Lindsey Graham: (30:03)
Medicare for all, take your healthcare away from you. They’re going to decriminalize coming into the country. They’re going to give illegal immigrants free healthcare. That’s what they say. They mean it. This is election is about taking me out.
Judi (Moderator): (30:13)
Thank you, sir.
Lindsey Graham: (30:14)
-Because I’m standing in their way.
Judi (Moderator): (30:15)
My colleague, Adam mentor has our next question. Our political reporter from WYS Adam.
Speaker 2: (30:19)
Thank you. Both. Many of the protests in South Carolina had been ignited by calls for law enforcement to confront systematic racism and policies and procedures. Do you believe there is systematic racism within law enforcement? And what do you believe is the best way to address that?
Judi (Moderator): (30:35)
Lindsey Graham: (30:35)
I know, I do not believe that our re… Our police are systematically racist. I do believe in police reform my best mate, Senator Scott had a proposal to reform policing, more transparency, more people of color, more people from minority communities in the police force.
Lindsey Graham: (30:51)
It was blocked by my democratic colleagues because they want the issue, not a solution. So here’s what I think the cops need our support now more than ever. I’ve never known it this difficult to be a police officer yesterday, the paternal order of police in South Carolina endorsed my candidacy because it’s chairman of the judiciary committee.
Lindsey Graham: (31:10)
I’ve had the cops back reformed the cops yesterday, fund him. No, he was asked mr. Harrison twice. “Would you define the place?” He dodged it now he’s for not defunding the place cause I made him. Most South Carolinians want police reform, but we respect the cops. Cops are under siege. They’re being assassinated. I will never ever defund the police. If you need more money for social programs, I’ll work with you. But cutting the cops budget puts poor people at risk more than anything else, and Tim Scott is tried his best to find a solution. And unfortunately my democratic colleagues stopped him because they want the issue not to solve the problem.
Judi (Moderator): (31:51)
Jaime Harrison: (31:51)
Yeah, let me be clear on this because again, Senator Graham sometimes exaggerates. I have said clearly, and I’m going to say it clearly here. I do not believe in defunding the police. Why do I not believe in doing that? Well, Sarah Graham, my grandpa, my grandpa, Ron, served in police force for over 30 years.
Jaime Harrison: (32:10)
He served in homicides, risking his life in day in and day out. And so I understand that there are good police out there that they’re working in order to protect and serve. But at the same time, we also understand that there’s some bad apples because there’s an entire community that is fearful when sometimes a blue light comes behind them because they don’t know whether or not their lives are going.
Jaime Harrison: (32:32)
They’re going to have their lives after the interaction. And so we have to admit that there are some problems in some of our policing right now. And we have to work with our police and the community members to bring folks together in order to do that, not to divide them, not to, not to scare them, but to work on addressing this problem. Now, Sarah, one question that I have for you, and you said that you’re not forward the funding and police in president Trump’s budget, this budget, it cuts community policing by almost $500 million. Do you support that Senator grant?
Lindsey Graham: (33:05)
No. I’ve been a really good supportive community policing. And I would say that Senator Scott above all others understands this issue in the Senate. He’s African-American Republican. He goes through great grief. He tried to fix the problem, but Mr. Harrison’s campaign, this a hundred million dollars is coming from the most liberal people in the country. Move on.org.
Lindsey Graham: (33:28)
Their main agenda item is to defund the police planned Parenthood who supports this campaign, wants the police to apologize to African-American communities. What I want to do is make policing better for African-American communities of all the people in the nation that need good cops is poor people in minority neighborhoods. So I’m with the cops. If you got any doubt about where I’m going to be, I’m going to be with the cops.
Judi (Moderator): (33:53)
Our next question, we didn’t… He didn’t- mention it regularly.
Jaime Harrison: (33:56)
He did, you can ask him, he did.
Judi (Moderator): (33:59)
Go ahead quickly, 45 seconds.
Jaime Harrison: (34:01)
We’ll listen. You know, Senator Graham is talking. He loves talking about all of this money and all, when he was raising a ton of money, he, it was okay, but anytime anybody else’s raising money, that’s problematic. Well, Senator, let me just say this Senator Scott is not the only black person who understands the interactions with police. I’ve had my interactions as well, and I’ve always tried my best to follow the law because that’s what my grandma taught me, dude.
Jaime Harrison: (34:24)
That’s what my grandpa taught me to do. And so there are problems right now. There are families who have lost loved ones as a result of it. And so all I am saying is we should have had, you should have had you were a chairman of the judiciary committee I hearing on the bill, but you didn’t even have that Senator.
Judi (Moderator): (34:42)
Senator Graham [crosstalk 00:34:43] the next question?
Lindsey Graham: (34:44)
I’d like and say is that Senator Scott has got a proposal that he tried to take the floor of the Senate. I had a hearing that lasted all day. I do care the first step that this is an effort to get African-American males and Hispanic males out of jail that were sentenced alone. Jail terms for nonviolent offenses. I was one of the leading sponsors of that working with Senator Berker from New Jersey, Tim Scott’s done everything I know anybody could do to try to found common ground. His efforts were filibustered is sad. It’s a shame, but this whole issue about the cops law and orders on the ballot. I just talked to the cops yesterday. They feel abandoned. They feel like people don’t care anymore. If you’re a police officer out there, I’ll always have your back.
Judi (Moderator): (35:27)
Thank you both. Let’s move on now to our next question. It comes from Alonzo Julian, the 96th student government association president here at Allen university. Alonzo.
Alonzo Julian: (35:36)
Hello. I just would like to say Senator Graham and Mr. Harrison, thank you so much for attending Avenue University.
Alonzo Julian: (35:41)
We welcome you here. My question is Ellen University recently signed an MOU with Savannah nuclear river solutions that will strengthen relationships and opportunities for minority students with the company. If elected, what is your to champion Qualified minority, homegrown talent emerging from institutions other than large state support at schools?
Judi (Moderator): (36:05)
This question first to you first Mr. Harrison.
Jaime Harrison: (36:07)
Well thank you for doing that and thank you so much for your leadership. It was so great to meet you. You know, a few weeks ago, I announced my rule hope agenda. It is an agenda to rebuild and revitalize rural communities here in South Carolina, bring hope back to these communities that have just lost all sense of hope.
Jaime Harrison: (36:24)
It’s a five-part plan that talks about healthcare, education, infrastructure, economic opportunities, and an includes a farmer’s bill of rights. Part of my education initiative talks about a partnership specifically with historically black colleges and universities that focuses on creating a new stream of revenue for those Universities, but focuses on having those universities partner with rural communities and to provide them with technical assistance to make sure that they are incubators for new businesses, particularly for communities where young folks have not… Young folks in minorities have not been represented. And so we have an agenda robust one to make sure that we rebuild the schools and that there’s a pipeline of young talent, particularly from our HBC use that have been left out historically, but giving them opportunities so that the rest of the country can see them shine.
Judi (Moderator): (37:20)
Lindsey Graham: (37:20)
So HBC use are a blessing to our state. A lot of students who go to the historical black colleges and universities, sort of the first in their family to ever go to college, I can relate that the goal is to make sure our best and brightest don’t lead the state. Nobody has been more supportive of Santa river… Savannah Riverside than I have is a crown jewel of one of our employers in the state.
Lindsey Graham: (37:42)
I’ve done job fairs for HBCU graduates, with the military, with the FBI, with Boeing, with Michelin, to make sure that that talent doesn’t leave our state. The bottom line here is these schools have been a blessing. This program you’re talking about is very exciting. South Carolina state has an engineering program.
Lindsey Graham: (38:02)
They have one of the best asphalt management programs in the entire country. My sister has a master’s degree from South Carolina state. Go Bulldogs. So count me. And I’m so glad that president Trump made HBC U funding permanent, not temporary. And I can tell everybody in South Carolina, these schools are a blessing and what I want to do as a senator, what I’ve done in the past, make sure that the graduates of these universities don’t have to leave our state the best and the brightest stay here. And I’m fully committed to that. God bless you.
Judi (Moderator): (38:33)
Thank you very much. The next question is one that I’ve received from a number of your constituents and our viewers. And I promised them, I would ask it tonight, Senator Graham, the question goes to you first. They want to know if you support term limits and what would be an appropriate one for a Senator and a representative?
Lindsey Graham: (38:50)
Well, I’ll leave that up to the voters. You can limit my term November the third if you’d like. We have a history in South Carolina and strong Thermo is around for a while. So it was Fritz Ali, Jim clever. And I think I’m on the top of my game, but it’s up to you to decide. I think my voice is the strongest it’s ever been. I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan, 56, 57 times to make sure the war stays over there and never comes back here. I’ve got the military members back. I think I know more about national security than most people in the Senate.
Lindsey Graham: (39:20)
We got the strong department of defense footprint in this state understand the needs of our bases. And I want them to grow, not to shrink. I understand what the military needs in terms of modern weapons. I want them to come here. So quite frankly, I think I’m in a good position to help our state. And it’s up to you to see if you want me. I will always be conservative, but I’ll reach across the aisle to fix a broken immigration system, but I’m not for illegal immigrants getting free healthcare and open borders. It will ruin our country. Bottom line here is I’ve been leading the charge for 250 conservative judges when it comes to Lindsey Graham, the best is yet to come.
Judi (Moderator): (40:02)
Jaime Harrison: (40:03)
I think the question was about term limits. I mentioned what my grandpa said, and I’m going to repeat that a man is only as good as his word. Now this is another example of Senator Graham going back on his word to the people here in South Carolina, because when the center was there in the congressmen and he ran for Congress, he said, and he ran on a pledge, have term limits. He said that he would turn limit himself. And if you don’t don’t believe me, Google it, Google Lindsey Graham and term limits.
Jaime Harrison: (40:33)
He said he would term limit himself. It is now you said 12 years, 13 years later. And Senator Graham is still running and listen. I do believe that the ultimate term limit is in the power of the people here in South Carolina. But I also believe it is incumbent upon us to keep our promises. And if we change our minds, just admit, I changed my mind. Don’t duck and Dodge. And this is a thing that I promise the folks of South Carolina. I will never, never, never lie to you. Now. You may not agree with everything I say all the time, but you will always know where I stand and I’m not going to go back on my word.
Judi (Moderator): (41:13)
Our next question from Bill Sharp.
Bill Sharpe: (41:15)
Thank you Judy, gentlemen, I think neither of you has to worry about health care coverage. Goodness knows Senator. You’ve got the Cadillac of healthcare coverage as a us Senator and Mr. Harrison, I suspect you don’t have to worry about healthcare coverage either, but thousands of people in South Carolina do. And guess what? They’re on the affordable care act called Obama care and they get pre-existing conditions covered. Senator Mr. Harrison, where the affordable care act. Now we have an opportunity in South Carolina to expand Medicaid as part of the affordable care act. But have we done it? No, no, no. We’re one of 14 States in the entire country that refuses to expand Medicaid. So Mr. Harrison, Senator Graham, my question to you is, is the affordable care act worth it? Do you want to do away with the affordable care act or do you want to keep it and expand Medicaid to help poor people in South Carolina? Thank you gentlemen.
Judi (Moderator): (42:22)
This is posed to you Mr.Harrison
Jaime Harrison: (42:23)
Well, thank you for this question. And this is yet another personal one. You know, my grandfather who worked all of his life ended up 50 hours a week. Working the construction on a road here in South Carolina, never had healthcare until we found out he had undiagnosed diabetes and then eventually had to lose his leg and some toes. And eventually he died because of complications for diabetes.
Jaime Harrison: (42:47)
There are so many people in South Carolina right now, suffering in silence and I actually a correction South Carolina is now one of 12 States that still have refused to expand Medicaid and they haven’t done it because we can’t pay for it. The government, the federal government was going to pay for the first five years of this thing, a hundred percent. And then the state had to pick up 10% after that.
Jaime Harrison: (43:08)
It is because it was tied to a Barrack Obama. Let me tell you something. Part of the reason why we have had four rural hospitals to close in South Carolina over a few years. And if you live in one of those communities and you have diabetes or complications with your pregnancy and all, and now it takes you instead of 10 minutes to go to the hospital, 50 minutes to go to a hospital that is a death sentence. We need a Senator who understands, put politics aside and put the people first. Senator Graham has a horrible bill. Graham Cassidy, that the ARP condemned.
Judi (Moderator): (43:42)
Thank you, sir. Your time is up. Senator Graham.
Lindsey Graham: (43:42)
Hear the word health care and you hear a Democrat talk about it. They want to put all healthcare under government control. They want eliminate your ability to have keep healthcare at the work site. About 60% of the people below 65, get the healthcare at work of Obamacare as a placeholder for Bernie care. They’re believing in socialized medicine. Obamacare, Ms. Sharp was a disaster per South Carolina.
Lindsey Graham: (44:10)
It started with five choices. We’re down to one. Premiums have gone up 30%. You’re getting less coverage. Your co-payments are going up and your premiums are going up if you’re working so somebody else can get it free.
Lindsey Graham: (44:24)
Three States under Obamacare get 35% of all the money, California, New York and Maryland that Graham Cassidy bill would block grant send that money back to South Carolina with a formula that would allow us to get 60% more than Obamacare would give us because we stopped sending money to New York, California, and Maryland. And here’s my belief of healthcare. Let’s get it out of Washington. Put it in the hands of doctors, close to you. Put it in the control of politicians. You can vote for, have accountability to ballot box. This bureaucrat run healthcare is a disaster for you- socialized medicine.
Judi (Moderator): (44:59)
Thank you, sir, your time has expired. Our next question is from Joe Bustos
Lindsey Graham: (45:02)
… a disaster for America.
Speaker 3: (45:02)
I’m sorry, our time has expired. Our next question is from Joe Bustos.
Joe Bustos: (45:04)
You both have said you agree that humans have contributed to climate change and you both oppose the Green New Deal. Why do you oppose it, and what concrete policies should the US pursue to curb global warming while not leading to job losses?
Speaker 3: (45:16)
Lindsey Graham: (45:17)
I oppose the Green New Deal, because it’s crazy. You’re trying to eliminate all carbon fuels by 2035. It’s multiple trillions of dollars. You’re going to do away with cars. You’re going to do away with cows in the name of saving the environment. You’re going to destroy the economy. Climate change is real. I do believe in private sector solutions. I believe in the government working with the private sector. We’ve lowered our carbon emissions. I believe more electric cars are coming. But my solution to the environment is not to destroy the economy. My solution to the healthcare is not take it away from you at work and give it free to illegal immigrant.
Lindsey Graham: (45:50)
This agenda coming out of the House, and they’ll change the rules of the Senate if they get in charge, is going to be a disaster for us. You’re going to crush our economy, because the Green New Deal and Medicare for all are hundreds of trillions of dollars of new spending that we can’t afford. So this is a reshaping of America that I think is incredibly dangerous. Climate change is real. We’re on the path to lower emissions, but I will never ever destroy the economy in the name of helping the environment. It’s a problem, but not a religion. And I can tell you that AOC, who endorsed my opponent last week, has a plan for our nation you can’t afford and will destroy our economy and not save our environment.
Speaker 3: (46:32)
Jaime Harrison: (46:33)
The greatest gift that the Lord gave us is this planet, and the legacy that we have for our kids is the planet that we hand over to them in the next generation. Now, Senator Graham has mentioned that he believes climate change is real. Well, that ain’t good enough, if we don’t do something affirmatively in order to address the issue of the climate. I agree with the senator. I think the Green New Deal is too expensive. It’s become too partisan. We’ve got to figure a way, though, because we have to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. That is something that all of the scientists have said.
Jaime Harrison: (47:05)
We are seeing bigger storms. We know a big storm. We’ve seen Hurricane Hugo. We’ve seen these storms that have hit other places. We also know that the greatest threat to cities like Charleston and Hilton Head is the sea level rise. What are we going to do about it? Well, we can’t do the South Carolina offshore drilling, which Senator Graham proposed, which is to allow drilling off of the coast of South Carolina, again, threatening our economy and threatening the environment. We have to be affirmative in terms of focusing on this issue, because again, it is the legacy that we pass on to our kids.
Speaker 3: (47:43)
Thank you very much. Our next question from Eric Weisfeld.
Eric Weisfeld: (47:45)
Let’s talk about I-73. It is an idea that would bring a direct link to the Grand Strand. Many are convinced the businesses, the industry it would bring would transform our area, but the problem is, at this point, it’s just that; it’s an idea. It’s been coined the road to nowhere. Senator Graham, Mr. Harrison, as senator, first of all, do you support… do you understand the significance of I-73, and if so, what would you do to finally give it the green light?
Speaker 3: (48:15)
Mr. Harrison, you first.
Jaime Harrison: (48:16)
Well, listen, I support I-73. I support infrastructure here in South Carolina. One of the things, I have friends who sometimes come to South Carolina because it’s a beautiful place with beautiful people. And they say, “Jamie, I love South Carolina. The food is amazing. I love going to Myrtle Beach. I love going to Charleston. But, dude, what is wrong with your roads?” And that is a problem, my friends. Our infrastructure in this state, and I’m going to use a technical word, sucks. And it’s because we’ve had leaders who’ve been feckless for 20-some-odd years, and Senator Graham is one of them.
Jaime Harrison: (48:50)
In listening to debates over the years, every debate, Senator Graham gets this question about I-73, and every time he says, “Oh, I’m for it.” Well, you know what? There’s something that the kids in my classroom used to tell me. They said, “Mr. Harrison, the most powerful way that you can do and persuade somebody is to show and not tell.” People are tired of hearing politicians, time after time after time, say that they’re going to do something, and actually go to Washington DC, and all of a sudden they get some type of amnesia. I think Senator Graham is suffering from that amnesia. He has said that he’s going to be for I-73, and we still have not seen I-73 happen yet.
Speaker 3: (49:28)
Lindsey Graham: (49:29)
Well, let’s talk about what I-73 is. It’s going to be an interstate highway that comes off 95, goes to the Grand Strand. It’d be great for Dillon and Marlboro County. I have secured funding from the Department of Transportation, through the South Carolina Department of Transportation to do the environmental impact study. People in [inaudible 00:49:47] County have increased taxes to widen 22. This thing’s going to happen, but me and infrastructure, who was it that came to the port, say, when we’re going to lose the Port of Charleston? I, working with the delegation, made sure that the Port of Charleston had the funding it needed to get to 52 feet, to be the premier port on the East Coast.
Lindsey Graham: (50:07)
When our back was against the wall, I went to Harry Reed to get $150,000 to do a study so that we wouldn’t miss a year. I’ll put my record up against anybody working for the people of South Carolina. Got $35 million from the Federal Department of Transportation to get the Panthers headquarters located in York County, out of Charlotte. Great jobs. I-73, working with Tom Rice, we’re going to get there. So, billion dollar project, stay tuned. I’m for an infrastructure bill of multiple trillions. Roads, bridges. But when it comes to infrastructure, Senator Graham has been there and will be there for you.
Speaker 3: (50:44)
Our next panelist, Adam [Mencer 00:05:45],
Adam Mencer: (50:46)
Thank you. Both of you have been attacked as being extensions of your party’s leaderships. You’ve both said you will represent the people of South Carolina. What national issues, if any, will you dissent with your party when taking votes?
Speaker 3: (50:58)
Senator Graham, first you.
Lindsey Graham: (50:59)
How long do you have? Lindsey Graham [inaudible 00:51:03] my name on talk radio. I’ve worked with Democrats for over a decade to get a comprehensive immigration solution, to give the 11 million here illegally a chance to stay on our terms, learn our language, pay a fine, get in the back of the line. Secure our border. Increase legal immigration so people don’t have to cheat. I’ve been the climate change solutions caucus with Democrats and Republicans. I voted for Sotomayer and Kagan and got the crap beat out of me here at home by Republicans. I thought that’s the way we’re supposed to do it.
Lindsey Graham: (51:35)
I want to solve problems. I want to save social security. When it’s talking about working with the other side, it’s not just talk with me, and I’ve got the political scars to prove it, but I want you to understand that your grandparent’s Democratic Party is no longer around. The people running the Democratic Party today are nuts. They want to give illegal immigrants free healthcare and have open borders. That’s not solving our immigration problem. They want socialized medicine. Medicare for all means Medicare for nobody. They want to take your healthcare away at the work site. They want to do it electoral college. They want to expand the Supreme Court beyond nine justices to pack it with liberals. There’s a lot at stake here.
Speaker 3: (52:17)
Thank you, sir. Thank you. Mr. Harrison.
Jaime Harrison: (52:18)
The first step in terms of working with the other side is not to call the other side nuts. This is the thing, Senator Graham. I have a six-year-old who I often teach in terms of how to conduct himself. And I said, “You know, son, that sometimes people come from different backgrounds and they see the world a little differently, but that doesn’t make them bad because of it.” Even though Democrats and Republicans may take the different paths, hopefully our destination is the same. How can we make South Carolina a better place for all of us? Not just Democrats or Republicans, or progressives versus conservatives, or liberals and whatever other term you want to come up with. We’re South Carolinians first. We’re Americans first. How are we going to work together? When I was the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, my best friend in politics was the Republican chair, Matt Moore. Matt and I, I think there was even a story written about how we were the odd couple, because we worked together. We respected each other. That’s the foundation for how you get things done. You’ve been in Washington for 25 years. Yes, you listed climate change and immigration. Those are issues that still have not been addressed. You’ve only passed three bills, three laws that you sponsored originally in 25 years. We can do better, but we’ve got to change the leadership to do so.
Speaker 3: (53:35)
Thank you, sir. Our question now from Alonzo… we’re running tight on time, Senator, so let me get this last question in… Alonzo Julian.
Alonzo Julian: (53:42)
Yes. As the coronavirus pandemic has exposed, educational equity has room for improvement in our state. What are your plans to bridge the gaps and create equitable education opportunities for minority K through 12 students and students living in rural areas throughout the state, to further ensure that college is a viable option for them, should they choose to pursue it?
Speaker 3: (54:08)
Jaime Harrison: (54:09)
College has to be affordable and accessible. Listen, one of the jobs that I had was running a nonprofit called College Summit that worked to help low-income kids get an opportunity to go to college, to live the American dream. I’m a Testament that that works. That is powerful. Education is the gateway to the American dream, and we need to make sure that we can do everything possible in order to do that. First of all, we are seeing and witnessing something that we have never witnessed here in America before. Young people have $1.6 trillion of debt. There is more student loan debt in this country than there is credit card debt, and that’s the first time that it has ever happened.
Jaime Harrison: (54:48)
When you’re a young person and you are saddled with 200 and $250,000 of debt to start off life, no other generation had that type of burden, but this generation does. I’m still paying off… 20 years after graduating from college, my wife and I are still paying off our student loan debt. That’s a burden for so many young folks. And so I want to work to make sure that we reduce tuition costs for our kids so that they don’t have to be saddled and that we work on the student loan debt crisis here so they don’t have to be burdened with such debt to start off their lives.
Speaker 3: (55:19)
Lindsey Graham: (55:20)
Well, number one, Mr. Harrison, pay off your student loans so somebody else can go to school. You’re a multimillionaire. You worked for Pelosi for three years and Congressman Clyburn, and then you went to work for the Podesta Group. I’ve given you 11 years of my tax returns. You’ve given seven years. The last year you made almost a half a million dollars. How much money did you make as a lobbyist? Why are you still paying on your student loans? Why can’t you pay them off? You’re a multimillionaire. You cashed in on politics.
Lindsey Graham: (55:47)
Let me talk a little bit about broadband for rural South Carolina. If you’re in a poor area, in a rural area, we need to have high speed internet so your schools can get the best and brightest minds of our time. You want to help rural South Carolina? Pass my bill with Senator Warner from Virginia. That’s a $10 billion grant to wire up rural South Carolina, rural America, with high speed internet.
Lindsey Graham: (56:09)
But a little bit about tone here. He’s running an ad accusing me of darkening him. He’s calling me a racist. That’s the worst thing that’s ever been said about me in politics. All I can tell you is that’s not who we are, Mr. Harrison. An African American male can be a senator. Just ask Tim Scott. You’ve just got to have the right ideas. A daughter of immigrants from India can be our governor, just ask Nikki Haley. This is a wonderful state and we can do better than this, Mr. Harrison.
Speaker 3: (56:39)
Your time is up. Thank you, sir. Mr. Harrison, to respond.
Jaime Harrison: (56:39)
Yes. What you saw there folks is Lindsey’s taken all these talking points and trying to dump it all to you. Let me just say this, Senator, you are worried about everybody else’s paycheck other than your own. When you said, “Over our dead bodies will we allow an extension of the unemployment benefits for folks who are desperate right now just to make ends meet,” what about the fact that you have raised your salary three times, Senator? I wish many of us could raise our salaries like that, but you raised yours three times. And you are worried more about my bills than I am. Senator, in addition to my household, I have two boys that I have to take care of, along with my wife, but I also have a grandmother who’s elderly, who I help pay bills. I also have a mom who was foreclosed on her home before, and I help her as well. And so I appreciate the thoughtfulness that you are so concerned about my student loans-
Speaker 3: (57:28)
Your time’s up, sir.
Jaime Harrison: (57:29)
… but Senator, let me tell you, I pay them on time.
Speaker 3: (57:31)
Thank you, sir. Thank you. Senator Graham, we have less than a minute left. I’ll give you 20 seconds to respond.
Lindsey Graham: (57:35)
[crosstalk 00:57:35] thank you for the job I have. I make 175,000 plus as a senator. I never thought I’d make this much money. I pay my aunt’s house payment. I helped my niece with her student loans. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing.
Speaker 3: (57:48)
Senator. I’m sorry. We’re out of time. That is our time for tonight-