"Everything I'm doing now in terms of talking about climate, talking about immigration, talking about Gitmo is completely opposite of where the Tea Party movement's at," Graham told The New York Times Magazine in a profile that will be published Sunday, The Hill reported Thursday.
"The problem with the Tea Party, I think it's just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out. We don't have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats," Graham told the Times.
Graham said his first of four meetings with Tea Party representatives was "very, very contentious" and that at a later meeting he asked them, "'What do you want to do? You take back your country -- and do what with it?' … Everybody went from being kind of hostile to just dead silent."
Graham was elected to the Senate in 2002 and does not face re-election until 2014.