Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley brought her star power to bear Friday after she backed Mitt Romney for president.
Romney seemed energized by the political coup, telling the Greenville audience: "Today I woke up with a big smile on my face."
He explained he was on the elliptical at his Iowa hotel Friday morning when he flipped on the TV.
"Someone came on TV and I'll tell you, what she said brightened my day in a way that far exceeded that smile," he said of Haley's endorsement.
Voters crowded into the fire station to see the newest political duo, while dozens more people huddled under an awning in the drizzle outside in an overflow area. Before speaking, both Romney and Haley greeted the voters who weren't allowed to enter the crowded room.
Haley said she decided to back Romney because of his experience as governor and as a private businessman – and most especially, the fact he has not spent time working in Washington.
Haley also cheered Romney's plan to dismantle the National Labor Relations Board.
"I don't think you've got a friend to the unions in this man," she said to audience applause.
After the event, a reporter asked Haley whether Romney's Mormon religion might be a stumbling block for some evangelical voters. She demurred.
"And the reason I know why is that South Carolina just elected a 37, 38-year old Indian female for governor of South Carolina," she said. "What the people of South Carolina care about is values, and family and faith, and what you do and results. And I think you can look at the Romneys and you can see this is a family of faith. It is a family of values."
After proclaiming he'd had fun at a GOP debate in Sioux City the night before, Romney distanced himself from a stance taken by his chief opponent on stage that night. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday he would support issuing subpoenas for some federal judges to appear before Congress.
"The idea of judges being subpoenaed before Congress to explain their decisions, it's not a good idea," he told reporters. "There is a separation of powers in this country. I don't think the American people want to substitute Congress for the courts."
Gingrich plans to hold a conference call on the role of the judicial branch Saturday morning.
Asked about Romney's chances in South Carolina, Haley pointed to his campaign's first television advertisement in the state airing that day and promised to tour the state with the former Massachusetts governor.
"Once his message gets out there I know the people of South Carolina will be able to deal with it, and be excited about it," she said.
Romney said he was hopeful, and joked about counting every delegate in a nomination fight he has predicted will drag out for months.
"I want to win in South Carolina," he said. "I think 50 delegates. But who's counting?"
In a CNN/Time/ORC Poll taken between Nov. 29-Dec. 6, Romney trailed Gingrich in South Carolina by 23 percentage points, coming in at 20% to Gingrich's 43%.
36% endorsing 20-23%!
The reason why Haley is NOT my favorite is because she personally volunteer to take voters to get their "pictured" voter IDs and when "hundreds" showed up, her office took I believe the first 10??? Change the voting rules and can't keep a promise.
Who cares who she endorses!!
(please don't "quote" me on the numbers – the truth is, they did NOT take the numbers of voters that showed up)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is looking for a Presidential pardon down he road .
Did Romney really say this: mney seemed energized by the political coup, telling the Greenville audience: "Today I woke up with a big smile on my face." LOL Bet he did! LOL
Go Romney! We support you 110%. You are the man for the job!
and her twin brother in Louisiana is for Parry, when you really think this with a little bit of intelligence-not much mind you-there is actually not much to comment on...PHEW
South Carolinians will follow whatever lemming leads them.
and cnn says that she has star power with a 37% approval......WOW
You will not get the nod...but thanks for playing...
One insider-Republican to another. Rofl.
RON PAUL 2012! THE PEOPLE'S ENDORSEMENT IS THE ONLY ONE WHICH MATTERS!
Haley's days are numbered when the news comes out about the scandal she's involved in.
The teatards are really mad about that!
Many people in SC refer to our gov. as "Trikki Nikki". A very well deserved nickname. Pray she and some (or all) of her cohorts will be one-termers!!
The GOBP wingnut/teabagger trainwreck implosion continues full speed ahead.
It's incredible that unions are treated as the enemy, despite the labor movement giving us our weekends, vacation days, workplace safety and chlld labor laws. In the meantime, working people with know awareness of history or their own self-interests, flock to idiot politicians who all but telegraph their intent to return labor relations to the 1800s.
I don't think he will win...