Republican U.S. Senate candidate made her debut on Fox News this week, appearing on “Your World” with Neil Cavuto to discuss her primary challenge of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Courtesy of Fox News, below is a transcript of Mace’s interview with Cavuto:
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, is a RINO is in big trouble? I’m not sure South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham would even call himself a Republican in name only, but he is facing a big challenge internally, a fellow Republican who says she has had it with business-as-usual Republicans, so she is challenging one of the Senate’s biggest Republicans. The first woman to graduate from the Citadel now giving Lindsey Graham hell.
Just why is Nancy Mace doing this? Well, let’s ask her. She’s here.
A quick update for you. We did reach out to Senator Graham, who is traveling, so hopefully he will soon be here himself. But back to Ms. Mace, going upstream to challenge the mainstream.
You’re not the first. Obviously, this is a big trend now among a dozen Republicans who are all facing in one way, shape or form intraparty challenges. What’s going on here?
NANCY MACE: Well, thank you, Neil, first of all, for having me on your program this afternoon.
This weekend, I made the announcement that I would run for the United States Senate in South Carolina in my hometown of Goose Creek, and I was honored do it there. The decision to run for the United States Senate is a big one. It’s serious business.
But what I have done over the last couple of weeks and months is talk to people across South Carolina. And I have heard from people around the country about their frustrations. And what I’m hearing from people right now is that they believe Washington is out of touch with everyday Americans.
And they believe that Washington, the elitists in D.C. think that they know better than the people. And so I haven’t lost hope, and I don’t think South Carolinians have, either. And what I have told folks is that the only way to change Washington is to change who you send to Washington.
CAVUTO: Well, let me ask you then. In your role as the first woman graduate of the Citadel, your father a brigadier general, your two brothers West Point graduates, you’re as — you’re as pure military and as heroic in that term as any Republican, certainly any Democrat.
Now, Lindsey Graham is saying that these latest threats to our embassies vindicate the type of programs we have at the NSA and elsewhere to go after bad guys. Do you agree with that?
MACE: Well, I obviously — I’m not privy to all of the intelligence about what is happening overseas right now, but a couple of things.
First off, if American interests and Americans are at threat right now, then we should be doing everything we can to protect our interests and Americans, whether it’s here at home or overseas. But what I…
CAVUTO: Does that mean the surveillance programs as well that helps track down those threats?
MACE: Well, I haven’t heard yet necessarily that that — that the NSA spying program intercepted the threat that we’re hearing today. I don’t have that intelligence briefing. But what I can tell you is that the entire delegation in South Carolina voted to respect individual liberty when push came to shove last week.
CAVUTO: Do you think that Republicans have a real internal struggle on their hands and that all of these challenges indicate frustration with either RINOs or whatever you want to call them and that it could actually hurt the party in the midterm elections and what could otherwise be Republican gains, let’s say in the Senate, turns out to opportunities missed?
MACE: It’s not a matter of if it will hurt the party in the future. It already has.
We lost in 2012. And some would say we lost because our nominee was too conservative. Well, I would argue we lost because we were not conservative enough and we fractured our party. And what we have to do as Republicans is come together. Every corner of the Republican Party needs to come together. And the one unifying factor that I think we all share is the Constitution.
CAVUTO: Now, do you — Rand Paul was here last week, Nancy, and saying that he differed with the likes of Chris Christie and all of that, there’s a limit to how much you can use 9/11 or protecting American lives under the guise of trampling on their privacy. Where do you stand on that?
MACE: Well, I would agree with that sentiment, as did the rest of the South Carolina delegation last week when they voted on it.
I mean, I don’t know that you can secure our country 100 percent of the time. One of the things that Ronald Reagan said to us when he was president is that freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction, that you must fight for it, that you must defend and that you must protect it by any means necessary.
CAVUTO: All right. That could be interpreted both ways, the Christie way, the Rand Paul way.
MACE: No, but — no, absolutely — no, absolutely, both ways.
MACE: But I think we have to be able to secure our country and also protect our liberties.
CAVUTO: OK. Nancy Mace, I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more from you.
Senator Graham, when he returns, we’d love to hear from you as well.
In the meantime, thank you very, very much.
MACE: Thank you, Neil, for having me on.