South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told The Daily Caller that Texas Gov. Rick Perry challenging former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to release his tax returns is a “distraction” and “nothing but a political ploy.”
“I think those are distractions. I saw it in my race. They always say ‘show me your tax return’ just so they can start throwing holes in it. I think that will be his decision to make, but that’s nothing but a political ploy,” Haley told TheDC in the spin room of the GOP presidential debate. Gov. Haley, a tea party favorite, has endorsed Romney for president.
During the debate on Monday night, Perry said, “Mitt, we need for you to release your income tax so the people of this country can see how you made your money. And — and I think that’s a — I think that’s a fair thing.”
TheDC also asked Haley if she thinks her decision to endorse Romney has alienated some of her tea party support.
“Everybody I’ve talked to has been incredibly supportive because the tea party understands the power of your voice and that everybody goes and makes the decision that’s best for them,” she told TheDC. “I made a decision based on the governor of South Carolina and that I need a partner in Washington. … I believe in Mitt Romney. I believe he will be the next president, and I think he’s the only one that can beat Obama.”
“It’s going to get tough to get our federal spending from the current 25 percent of the GDP down to 20, down to 18 percent, which has been our history,” Romney said on Monday night. “We’ve got a huge number of obligations in this country and cutting back is going to have to happen.”
TheDC asked Haley how Governor Romney could reduce spending to 18 percent of GDP without significant cuts to defense spending, which accounts for 19.27 percent of President Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget.
“This is a man that’s going to look at all of the waste that’s in Washington and say, ‘What do we not need and why do we have to borrow from China to pay for it?’ He’s said that over and over again,” she told TheDC.
“There’s plenty of cuts to be made in Washington. You don’t have to go directly after the military and those that are trying to strengthen our country and protect us to take care of that waste.”