Graham shuts media out of meeting with Tea Party

By Anthony Miller  bio | email | Twitter

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Lindsey Graham said he was satisfied with his meeting with the Charleston Tea Party.

"Did we have a healthy discussion?  Did we solve the problem?  No," he said.

It was straight talk from the senator from South Carolina about his night with the local Tea Party.

There were lots of thoughtful questions.  There were lots of thoughtful answers. There were a few contentious moments, but far more friendly disagreements.

Wednesday's Tea Party evening with Graham in North Charleston was closed to the media.

"This idea that everything has to be on TV, everything has to be in the paper. There has to be some balance to it," said Graham. "These people deserve a chance to talk with me without somebody writing down everything they said and creating tension."

That's exactly what they got.  No TV cameras or tape recorders. Members of the media were only allowed in as private citizens.

Graham met with the group he once told the New York Times would "die out."

"The Tea Party has created a movement in the country that can be very helpful if they will help us solve problems," said Graham.

What do they think of him after Wednesday night?

"I will give him credit for coming to us and hearing our concerns and asking for our input. I think he's trying to reach out to us," Jeff Reuer, of Goose Creek, said.

They talked about immigration, the flat and fair tax, health care reform and term limits for Senators and members of the House.

It was clear Graham was pleased with his private meeting.  The question that remains is what does this segment of public think about him now?

"I was actually impressed with some of his positions. I can't say I agree with everything," said Steve Weise of North Charleston.

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