Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor elected with the help of the Tea Party movement and whose support is coveted, endorsed Mitt Romney Friday morning, making her announcement on “Fox & Friends.”
“Today is the day that I’m throwing all of my support behind Mitt Romney for president,” Ms. Haley said, speaking from South Carolina. “What I wanted was someone who knew what it was like to turn broken companies around.”
Ms. Haley is expected to appear with Mr. Romney at a rally at a firehouse in Greenville, S.C. Friday afternoon, and the two are also scheduled to appear on Greta Van Susteren’s “On the Record” Friday evening. South Carolina follows Iowa and New Hampshire in presidential nominating contests.
“Now more than ever, we need someone who has the leadership to deal with a broken Washington,” Ms. Haley added.
Newsmax has some more of Haley’s praise for Romney:
“Governor Romney is the one candidate that President Obama consistently tries to hit and get out of the way,” Haley said. “That let’s me know he’s scared of him. It also lets me know Governor Romney’s got a good fight in him and that’s the one President Obama doesn’t want to have to go against.”
Haley praised Romney for his ideas on jobs, the economy and spending.
“What I want is someone who is not part of the chaos that is Washington. What I wanted was someone who knew what it was like to turn broken companies around,” Haley said.
Haley said all the GOP candidates spoke with her, all except Ron Paul.
Romney was her choice, in part because he had learned much since his 2008 run.
“He’s very much become a great candidate just like Ronald Reagan did in that in his first run he learned a lot as a candidate,” Haley said. “I don’t think this is about being a candidate anymore, he spends a lot of time thinking about our country and how to get it back on track.”
Romney accepted the endorsement with an e-mail statement:
It is an honor to have the endorsement of Governor Haley. As a successful businesswoman who entered public service so government could better serve the people, Governor Haley’s career-long efforts to reform government, make government more accountable to the taxpayers, and fight wasteful spending should be examples for leaders across the country. These conservative principles of smaller government are what I am fighting for in my campaign and will be the basis for restoring economic prosperity and fiscal health.
Haley and Romney are due to appear together in Greenville, South Carolina this afternoon, as well as doing Greta Van Susteren’s show on Fox News tonight. The New York Times reports “the Romney campaign considered Ms. Haley’s endorsement such a big deal that they chartered a plane from Iowa to South Carolina, to make sure members of the national media would make it there for her afternoon announcement.”
The RealClearPolitics polling average currently has Newt Gingrich 19.3 points ahead of Romney, with Rick Perry coming in a distant third. Romney could use a boost there, as well as generally enhanced credibility with the Tea Party.