Gov. Haley to hit the road to stump for MItt Romney
TAMPA, Fla. — As Mitt Romney begins the stretch run of his presidential campaign today, Gov. Nikki Haley is expected to be his top surrogate from the Palmetto State.
She already has stumped for him here as well as in Chicago and Michigan and tentatively plans to do so in Baltimore and North Carolina.
There likely will be minimal presidential campaigning in South Carolina because the state already leans toward Romney, according to Real Clear Politics’ polling compilation.
But Haley could be useful if she can hit the road.
“As they (in the Romney campaign) need me, they call,” she said. “It’s very fluid. There’s not a lot of notice ahead of time. ... What we can do, we commit to.”
Haley was South Carolina’s highest-ranking Republican to sign onto his campaign during the primary season and was the state’s only GOP leader to get a prime-time speaking slot at the convention.
State Democratic leaders have criticized Haley for her out-of-state travel, particularly political trips, and Haley said today that she is “very aware” she needs to tend to South Carolina first. She said her executive budget, economic development work and legislative rollouts are keeping her just as busy these days as when the Legislature is in session early in the year.
“During the legislative session they asked (for Haley to campaign), and we just couldn’t,” she said. “There was a lot we had to say no to initially.”
Haley has kept busy this week with a mix of political appearances, a few fundraisers and economic development meetings.
Asked what message she felt Romney needed to deliver, Haley said he needs to focus on jobs, the economy and his record balancing budgets and cutting taxes. “Governor Romney is a humble man,” she said. “He’s somewhat emotional. He is not used to touting himself.”
Meanwhile, members of the South Carolina GOP delegation have given Haley high marks for her speech here. Glenn McCall, Republican National Committee member from Rock Hill, said, “If the election were held today, she would be re-elected.”
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.