Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) brought their straight talk out of retirement to give a dose of reality to conservatives opposed to any healthcare reform and liberals who want it their way or no way.

In a town hall forum at The Citadel on Monday, Graham said that a publicly funded option was off the table but that the larger goal of healthcare reform was necessary.

“I’m open-minded,” he told the crowd which mostly represented the angry right seen at rallies across the country. “I’ll meet in the middle.”

Graham supports mandatory coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions and he wants to increase competition among private insurers.

The senator also challenged those opposed to healthcare, saying that some type of healthcare reform is necessary. “I’m going to challenge this country to make tough decisions,” he said. “When you don’t get everything you want, that’s called democracy … Make Congress act, don’t give us a pass on everything that’s hard.”

The two senators also took the opportunity to implore the administration for swift action on increasing troops in Afghanistan.

“It breaks my heart to say we need more troops, but we do,” Graham said. “The reason we’ve got to win is because we can’t afford to lose.”