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Lindsey Graham finds path to nomination -- sink John McCain's boat

We've known for a while that Lindsey Graham and John McCain are something of political soul mates, as well as Senate colleagues. But a one-liner from Graham a little while ago makes us wonder (not too seriously, or deeply) whether he harbors secret ambitions.

Presumptive Republican candidate John McCain and his wife Cindy get briefed on efforts to stem drug trafficking as part of a visit to the port of Cartagena, ColombiaGraham and Joe Lieberman are traveling with McCain on his two-country tour of Latin America, but this morning were shunted to the press boat (think of kids and the small table at Thanksgiving) for a tour by the entourage of the Port of Cartagena. McCain was in another vessel -- a faster, drug-interdiction speedboat called the Midnight Express (which for the moment could have been called the Straight Talk at Midnight Express).

The press boat chugged alongside McCain's boat for about 10 minutes as the presidential candidate and his wife, Cindy McCain, were briefed by port officials. Then both boats cruised out to open water, where they separated a bit. Graham, hopefully out of earshot of the Secret Service detail, pointed across the waves to McCain's craft and said, "Sink that boat!"

He then added: "I could get the nomination if you sink that boat."

A reporter asked if the comment was on the record, and Graham said no (sorry, senator, but nothing is off the record with pool reporters along). Graham also suggested the two boats play a little chicken.

Lieberman? Not so quippy -- he just occasionally waved at McCain during the 15 minutes at sea.

-- Scott Martelle

Photo credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (3)

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Is McCain really trying to win this? Doesn't seem like it. He's visiting Columbia? What purpose is this supposed to serve? Why not just go to the South Pole?

Obama is addressing large crowds of American voters in Las Vegas, garnering headlines and McCain is barely on the Columbia, talking about NAFTA and free Columbians. Really makes you wonder.

Considering foreign relations--in the Middle East just as much as elsewhere--are going to be a big part of the deciding factor in this election suggests this is a pretty intelligent decision on McCain's part.

Plus, you know, the whole economy thing. Obama has, unfortunately, aired a lot of heated anti-NAFTA rhetoric tied to this issue, so this sets McCain apart from him.

He's in Colombia because Cindi's thinking of buying it as a vacation retreat for one of the kids. She'll put it on her AmEx card.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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