MANCHESTER, N.H. — South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley says her own experience proves that Gov. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith won’t be an obstacle for him to attract Palmetto State voters.
“You’re talking to someone who was just elected in South Carolina as a 38-year-old Indian female,” Haley said in the spin room after ABC’s GOP primary debate Saturday evening when asked by a reporter if Romney’s Mormonism would be an issue in South Carolina. “Don’t think that’s a problem.”
Haley, who has endorsed the former Massachusetts governor and is in New Hampshire campaigning for him, is the second Indian-American governor in American history. South Carolina holds the next primary after New Hampshire on January 21.
Asked by the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein how she reconciles supporting a candidate who while governor of Massachusetts signed into law a health care bill which many consider the blueprint for Obamacare, Haley said Romney promised her that after he is elected, he would issue South Carolina a waiver exempting it from the federal law.
“First of all, I don’t endorse his health care plan in Massachusetts,” Haley said.
“I had a long conversation with Gov. Romney before I endorsed and I said South Carolina cannot afford a health care mandate. We can’t have anything to do with a health care mandate.
“And he said ‘my first day in office I will give a waiver to South Carolina and any other state that needs it and I will start to repeal Obamacare immediately.’ That’s what I needed to hear.”