Haley warns Republicans against Romney attacks
January 11th, 2012
08:06 PM ET
11 years ago

Haley warns Republicans against Romney attacks

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley warned the GOP field against attacking Mitt Romney's private sector record at an enthusiastic rally for the Republican front-runner Wednesday.

"We have a real problem when we have Republicans talking like Democrats against the free market," she said as the audience cheered. "We believe in the free market."

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A former businesswoman, Haley appealed to the audience as fellow executives.

"We want companies to be able to do what is best for companies, and during tough times you downsize and you make hard decisions and during good times you expand and you help those businesses grow more," she said in her introduction to Romney. "That's what he's done. He's done what every one of us has tried to do."

Haley joined a growing chorus of Republican leaders who have voiced concerns about an increasingly bitter Republican primary race, in which Romney's career at a private equity firm has come under heated attack.

In appearances across the state this week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has accused Romney of participating in "vulture capitalism" at Bain Capital. A super PAC supportive of Newt Gingrich has bought $1.6 million in advertising time in South Carolina to run a television spot critical of Romney's tenure at Bain, as the Republican primary shifts to the third voting contest.

Earlier in the day Romney said he was "surprised" Republicans had focused on his business career.

"I was a little surprised to see Newt Gingrich as the first witness for the prosecution but I don't think that's going to hurt my efforts," he told reporters. "Frankly if I can't take a few shots coming from my colleagues on the Republican side, I'm not ready for Barack Obama."

The audience at Romney's first South Carolina event was notably supportive, and the GOP candidate stayed for more than 30 minutes shaking hands with voters.

A CNN/TIME/ORC poll taken last week showed Romney with a commanding lead in the state, before the candidate won New Hampshire's primary.

But Romney played down his chances in the Southern state earlier Wednesday, calling his effort "an uphill battle."

"With regards to South Carolina, last time I came in fourth, so our team recognizes this is going to be a challenge," he told reporters.

Also see:

Poll: Romney, Santorum tied with Obama in Florida

Gingrich fires up down South

S.C. Republicans plan presidential forum in conservative upstate

Santorum to spend fundraising haul immediately in S.C.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Nikki Haley • South Carolina
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Thats right ! And don't you dare ask me about my trip to Europe at South Carolina tax payers expense .

    January 11, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  2. ron

    Doesn't he have that "hurry up and give me the mike you peasant" look on his face?? LOL

    January 11, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  3. Sandy

    What's wrong with Newt speaking the truth about Romney!?

    January 11, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. Debbie

    So Haley is telling all Republicans to shut up and line up behind Romney. So much for the GOP Big Tent of Reagan. Haley also says that all Republicans believe in free markets as in no government intervention. "We want companies to be able to do what is best for companies, and during tough times you downsize and you make hard decisions and during good times you expand and you help those businesses grow more. What I note here is that "corporations are people." WE as in the GOP want companies to do what is best for companies. Not hearing one thing about the GOP want government leaders to do what is best for the American people. I was a Republican for 35 years. I am not an Independent because the GOP lost its core platform of a small strong central government for a bloated monied plutocracy.

    January 11, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. tc

    gingrich, perry will spew their venon against their party. how noble.

    January 11, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    "He's done what every one of us has tried to do."

    No, not every company executive makes their money by predatory practices, breaking up companies, selling off the pieces and outsourcing jobs overseas.

    Some company executives actually want to – AND DO – create jobs here in the United States. While they want to make a profit, some actually get satisfaction out of making not only a good produce/service, but strengthen their communities by providing living wage jobs.

    Romney is a vulture who cares more about dividends for his multinational partners than he does about America.

    January 11, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  7. Jilli

    "It's a great day" in the United States Ms. Haley, right? The people are finally going to get the truth on bain capital and willard romneys vulture capitalism. Why shouldn't we see the content of his character (or lack thereof) prior to the election?

    January 11, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  8. silvereagle

    So Queen Haley is being a bully again – she is threatening other Republicans. Is that the kind of overly ambitious, headline-seeking, corrupt and incompetent politician that you want governing your state???

    January 11, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. ditdahdit

    Talk about a 'packed' house.

    January 11, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  10. LegendRx

    The witch and the flip-flopper casting spells!

    January 11, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |

    Haley.....if you keep talking i'm going to insist on seeing your Birth Certificate also your Parents.Somebody needs to investigate this person thoroughly.She doesn't pass the smell test.

    January 11, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  12. Doc

    Dear sheeple,

    Here's the truth in a nutshell. The Republicans want to beat President Obama and take the whitehouse so badly that they don't want the candidates to sling mud. Yes, the Democrats will do exactly what they're saying but wouldn't it be better to have the flaws exposed and have the best candidate before you actually have to stand behind them? As they say, better the devil you know (a fully vetted and battle worn veteran) than the devil you don't (the one picked by the king makers that want the other candidates to shut up).

    January 11, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. king

    Hey miss Haley, we are fighting to keep our jobs here in America. We can't afford for a president that don't believe in giving struggling companies a chance. If mitten was president we wouldn't a auto or housing industry. We wouldn't even have a middle class. We need a president that is going to fight for American companies and prevent them from taken over by over seas corporations.

    January 11, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  14. John

    WOW... In tough times we want businesses to downsize... that makes times even tougher honey! Im not sure what you are doing in charge of anything. Seems like you are one who is encouraging the downfall of our nation.

    January 11, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. Thomas

    This photo should read ,

    South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley warned the GOP field against singing Karaoke in public.

    January 11, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. Bootstomper

    Romney is a clueless boring business man. Wonderbread should use him as a spokesman.

    January 11, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This is the opening round. If Haley can't understand that, then she has no idea of what the primary process is. This is where the different candidates get beaten up to see if they are what the electorate (party in this case) really want. If she is representative of the "teapublicans," then they are going to get seriously embaressed soon.

    January 11, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  18. willie floyd

    Nothing Haley (Trikki Nikki) says is even worth commenting on.

    January 11, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  19. Joan

    This whole argument about not hitting Romney with critical, truthful attacks that might hurt him in the general election if he makes it is so hypocritical. Why was it OK for him to allow ruthless, exaggerated attacks against Gingrich for weeks yet now no-one is supposed to attack him. He can dish it out but can't take it. The head of the Republican party and governors such as this who are trying to protect him are doing him no service. If the attacks are true, then he needs to address them instead of whining about people picking on him. If he thinks they are not true, then he has good reason to explain why. Complaining about being criticized seems pretty shallow because he does it too and it is part of the whole political process. This is mild compared to what he will face if he makes it to the general election. If he can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    January 11, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  20. Indy

    Romney might have Nikki Haleys support but no one will win the Republican nomination without Tawd Palins endorsement.

    January 11, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  21. Real Patriot

    "We believe in the free market.".....

    That's because a free market always gives the overwhelming advantage to those who are already wealthy vs those who are not.

    And spare me thew Horatio Alger American Dream stories-they were rare at the turn of the century when they were written and almost extinct now.

    These folks are nothing but self centered, selfish and close minded people who long for a day when the poor, the weak, the minorities were invisible....

    "Are there no prisons? Are there no work houses?"

    America is supposed to be better than this.......

    January 11, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    Vulture Capitalists. Both of them.

    January 11, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  23. Mike

    It's a stretch to say Gov. Haley was ... "A former businesswoman, Haley appealed to the audience as fellow executives." She worked in a small family business that sold cheap imported items from India and Asia until she began working as a lobbyist for a SC hospital system while she was a state legislator.

    January 11, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  24. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    There's probably a "market" for you to sell your Grandmother, but that's not right either... Just because you can screw over people for a profit, doesn't mean you should.

    January 11, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  25. Aaron, TX

    Typical Reagan Republican prioritization:
    1) "Free Market" trumps free speech
    2) GOP trumps U.S.A.
    3) If all else fails, say you are "born again"

    January 11, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
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