COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley on Friday said she regrets her decision to call a reporter for The Post and Courier a “little girl.”

Bill Rogers, executive director of the S.C. Press Association, said Haley’s comment directed toward reporter Renee Dudley was sexist and totally inappropriate.

Dudley, an award-winning journalist, did a public service, he said. Her article revealed that Haley spent more than $127,000 on an economic development swing through Europe that has not yet resulted in any jobs.

But the governor didn’t offer a full apology.

“The story painted a grossly inaccurate picture and was unprofessionally done, but my ‘little girl’ comment was inappropriate and I regret that,” Haley said in a statement. “Everyone can have a bad day. I’ll forgive her bad story, if she’ll forgive my poor choice of words.”

Rogers said the public has an interest and a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent. The Post and Courier’s story was valid, he said.

“The public can make up its own mind, but Renee put the facts forward as she found them,” Rogers said.

Haley’s comments came Thursday on Laura Ingraham’s nationally syndicated talk show. She said, “All I will tell you is, God bless that little girl at The Post and Courier. Her job is to create conflict, my job is to create jobs.”