Lindsey Graham Steals the Show at CNBC’s Undercard Debate

Just like he did in the previous Republican undercard debate, Sen. Lindsey Graham stole the show Wednesday evening with his theatrical antics, cracking jokes and making stump speech-like proclamations that often ran over his allotted time.

Among the four bottom-ranking candidates on stage in Boulder, Colorado, Graham generated the most applause and social-media buzz with his comments on foreign policy, immigration, and Hillary Clinton.

At one point, while discussing cybersecurity threats from China, Graham flashed some bravado by showing a fist and an open palm, declaring, “Make me commander in chief and this crap stops!”

Graham also drew rousing applause and laughter when he turned a question about climate change into a mocking rant about the Democratic presidential candidates. “I’m tired of losing,” he shouted. “Good God, look who we’re running against. The No. 1 candidate on the other side [Hillary Clinton] thought she was flat broke after her and her husband were in the White House for eight years,” Graham jabbed. “The No. 2 guy [Bernie Sanders] went to the Soviet Union on his honeymoon and I don’t think he ever came back.”

As for the other three candidates: Bobby Jindal once again failed to distinguish himself in a meaningful way; Rick Santorum furrowed his brow and spoke defensively through most his responses; and George Pataki staked a centrist Republican territory that will likely do nothing to boost his poll numbers.

—Andrew Kirell