By Alex Malm
When Republican presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham stepped onto the campus of Franklin Pierce University on November 22, he knew exactly where he stood in the polls. He wasn’t just struggling in New Hampshire; he was under pressure to get to the top of the polls in his home state of South Carolina.
Despite the poor results early in the polls, Graham knew two ways to persuade college voters in New England: walk in with a Dunkin Donuts’ coffee and announce from the beginning of the visit that people will still be able to catch the kickoff of the evening’s Patriots game.
Aside from showing his understanding that Tom Brady in New England is equivalent to the Pope in Vatican City, Graham also brought his message on why he should be the president of the United States. He spoke about Isis, the economy, and climate change to name a few.
But as Ian Corey, a Political Science major, pointed out, it wasn’t necessarily what Graham said that struck the crowd but rather how he said it. “He was a very laid-back kind of guy,” Corey recalled. “He was very personable and easy to approach. Reminded me more of my local council representative than a national Senator, which I thought was nice.”
While Graham may have been able to win some potential voters with his charm and New England-friendly mentality, he did not convince the students that he was the best candidate for them. “I’m not entirely sure what he would have brought for the college student,” said Corey. “But he is one of a small handful of Republican candidates that fully recognized climate change, and I think he would have done a good job embracing those technologies.” Graham accepted that climate change was real and that it should be seen as a challenge that could add jobs to a struggling economy.
Graham wasn’t the only candidate to visit campus the Monday before Thanksgiving Break, Democratic Candidate Martin O’Malley also, visited the Rindge campus that day. Even with the interference from Monday Night Football featuring the Patriots, Graham was able to have a solid number in the press pool and in attendance.
Both candidates’ events, while at different times, took place in the Fitzwater TV Studio. Despite having their speeches in the same location, visiting Professor of Political Science, Christina Cliff, saw Graham take advantage of his location. Cliff said, “FPU has a great set up for these kind of events and Graham, perhaps more than O’Malley earlier in the day, made good use of the small space to talk directly to his audience.”
Although, Lindsey Graham may not be in the race anymore he left his mark on Franklin Pierce with his visit, his message, and his knowledge of New England.