Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, will campaign for the first time on behalf of his friend Sen. Lindsey Graham in New Hampshire next week.
According to a Graham spokesperson, McCain, who won the 2000 and 2008 New Hampshire primaries, will appear with the South Carolina senator at a barbecue at a VFW hall in Littleton, N.H. on Saturday, Aug. 1. The pair will campaign in the state throughout the weekend.
McCain’s in-person assistance is critical for Graham, who is casting his message as the natural successor to McCain’s “straight talk,” combining a hawkish foreign policy with calls to reform the immigration system, preserve the environment and modernize entitlement programs. It comes as a bevy of 2016 contenders are hoping to deploy a “tell-it-like-it-is” campaign in the Granite State.
The pair traveled extensively together in 2008, when Graham was a ubiquitous presence on McCain’s campaign bus and plane. Together with former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the trio branded themselves as “the three amigos.” (The three were united in New York last week at an event opposing President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.)
In an interview with TIME last month, McCain praised Graham for being a “happy warrior” on the campaign trial.
“He’s been on it with me for so long, he knows that one of the things that’s important about a campaign is to enjoy it, and that enjoyment many times will transmit itself to the voter,” McCain said. “He’s going to be a happy warrior. He already is. And sometime that’s very helpful in getting support, particularly when sometimes the face-to-face contact is what you get with voters in Iowa, and particularly New Hampshire.”
In 2012, McCain held off endorsing anyone until the day after the Iowa Caucuses, when he appeared with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at a joint New Hampshire town hall as the eventual GOP nominee, and McCain’s once bitter primary rival, sought to consolidate the party’s support.
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