Republican Lindsey Graham hints at 2016 announcement

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Graham Eyes May Presidential Announcement

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has said there is better than a 90 percent chance he will run for president, will give a "very important update" on Monday morning about 2016, according to media reports on Sunday.

The South Carolina lawmaker was quoted by MSNBC as telling supporters in an email: "As an announcement draws near, I need to know you stand with me." The Washington Post quoted him as saying in the email he would appear on the "CBS This Morning" program at 8 a.m. on Monday.

"Tomorrow morning I will be giving a very important update on my 2016 plans and I want to make sure you are able to hear it," the Washington Post quoted him as saying.

Graham is a prominent critic of President Barack Obama's foreign policy and a close ally of fellow Republican Senator John McCain.

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Republican Lindsey Graham hints at 2016 announcement
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during the Iowa Republican Party's Lincoln Dinner, Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
FILE - In this March 12, 2015 file photo, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republican senators eyeing the presidency split over the renewal of the Patriot Act surveillance law, with civil libertarians at odds with traditional defense hawks who back tough spying powers in the fight against terrorism. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks at the Republican Leadership Summit Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during the 2015 Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum March 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. Prospective 2016 presidential candidates from both political parties participated in the presidential forum during the conference which hosted by the International Association of Fire Fighters. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., listens during a news conference on the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Four powerful Republican senators are pushing for new restrictions on President Barack Obama's ability to transfer terror suspects out of the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Vice President Joe Biden shares a laugh with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. before Biden administered the Senate oath during a ceremonial re-enactment swearing-in ceremony, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., talks to volunteers at the Aiken County Republican Party office on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in Aiken, S.C. Graham is spending his last weeks of the 2014 campaign trying to get his voters o vote instead of trying to get new voters to his side. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
FILE - This July 24, 2014, file photo shows Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as he listens to other Senators speak on Capitol Hill in Washington, during a news conference on the violence in the Mideast. Islamic militants' growing influence in Iraq and Syria are a threat to Americans, lawmakers from both political parties agreed Sunday even as they sharply disagreed on what role the United States should play in crushing them. (AP Photo, File)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), left, speaks to the media about national security as North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis, right, listens, during a news conference in Greensboro, N.C., Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, and his Democratic challenger state Sen. Brad Hutto, left, shake hands after discussing the issues for the first time at a forum sponsored by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. The two disagreed sharply on the issues at times, but kept it polite. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, right. listens as his Democratic challenger state Sen. Brad Hutto, left, answers a question as the two discuss the issues for the first time at a forum sponsored by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. The two disagreed sharply on the issues at times, but kept it polite. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis, right, speaks about national security as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), left, listens during a news conference in Greensboro, N.C., Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
South Carolina Adjutant General Robert Livingston, left, listens as U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, talks about a bill passed by Congress to improve health care for veterans on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. Graham said the most important part of the bill is the ability to fire poorly performing employees. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, talks with Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., left, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014, following a news conference on the violence in the Mideast. (AP Photo)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, speaks during a news conference on the violence in the Mideast on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014. At left is Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., left. (AP Photo)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to supporters after winning the Republican primary, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. Graham defeated six tea party challengers. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to supporters after winning the Republican primary, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. Graham defeated six tea party challengers and avoided a runoff. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 4, 2014, after attending a closed-door briefing with intelligence officials. Senate Republicans have been highly critical of the Obama administration’s decision to swap five members of the Taliban for captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a campaign stop at American Legion Post 20 on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Greenwood, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List "Campaign for Life Gala and Summit", a gathering of anti-abortion advocates, in Washington, Wednesday, March 12, 2014.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham talks to students at Winthrop University about foreign policy on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Rock Hill, S.C. It was one of a number of events for the senator as he kicked off his 2014 re-election campaign in earnest. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham, left, speaks as John McCain listens during a press conference at the David Citadel hotel in Jerusalem, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. Republican Sen. McCain said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has "serious, serious concerns" about parts of the proposal Secretary of State John Kerry is using to broker peace with the Palestinians. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)
United States Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., answers a question during a news conference in Goose Creek, S.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. The senator said while South Carolinians and the rest of the nation are weary of war, the situation in Syria demands an American response because events there are linked to the developments in the rest of the Middle East. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
In this Sept. 3, 2013 photo, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham talks to a reporter following a speech to business leaders in Goose Creek, S.C. Graham is facing three challengers in the 2014 Republican primary for his seat. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
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He was warmly received at the Iowa Republican Party's forum for 2016 White House hopefuls on Saturday in Des Moines with a mix of jokes and plain talk about America's national security.

"I'm thinking about running for president. You get a house and a car and a plane. It's a pretty good gig," he said.

While other Republicans in the 2016 field have made clear they would not have invaded Iraq given what is now known about U.S. intelligence failures, Graham offered a strong defense of then-President George W. Bush.

He said Bush acted based on intelligence at the time that said Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, and that he did the world a favor by toppling then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

If Graham enters the race, he would join fellow Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio among declared candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina and retired physician Ben Carson have also announced their candidacies.

Neither Graham nor his representative could immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Andrew Hay and Eric Walsh)

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