Washington (CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday the leading Republican presidential candidate was carrying a "golden bullet" to connect with women voters.
Speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," the Palmetto State Republican said Mitt Romney's wife Ann, along with the candidate himself, would need to answer women with concerns about his platform. Polls released in the past week show Romney trailing President Barack Obama by a large margin among female voters.
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"If Gov. Romney has not related to women, he needs to get out there and talk about the issues they care about," Haley said. "They care about jobs and the economy, and raising their families and all of those things. But they are obviously not relating to him as much as we want them to. That means he has to work harder, he needs to continue to do that, and he needs to bring that one golden bullet he's got, which is Ann Romney."
Haley said Ann Romney's history with battling illness helps her connect with voters.
"When they see how strong she is, the fact that she is an M.S. survivor, a cancer survivor, a great mom, a great wife, strong supporter, and hear her talk about him, I think he'll do a lot better," Haley said.
His wife aside, Mitt Romney will need to answer pressing questions from women on issues ranging from contraception to the economy.
"I think they need the ability to ask him those questions, and I think he needs to look them in the eye and give them the answers," Haley said. "Because that's what this is about. You don't go talk to people who you already have support. You talk to the people that still have questions. If women are questioning him, they have to ask him those questions."
In the CNN interview, Haley reiterated she wouldn't accept a spot on a GOP presidential ticket or as a cabinet official, a position she has staked out repeatedly in interviews this week. Haley said Thursday she wanted to "finish what she started" by serving her term as South Carolina governor.
Haley also detailed experiences, spelled out in her book "Can't Is Not an Option," about her childhood in a small South Carolina town.
"My father had a turban, my mother wore a sari. I was born in that town, and we lived in this small southern town, where they didn't understand us, and we didn't know how to fit in with them," Haley said, laying out how she was disqualified from a beauty pageant because judges didn't know whether to place her in the category for black girls or white girls.
Despite the challenges, Haley said in 2012 her small town in South Carolina had come a long way since her upbringing in the nineteen-seventies.
"What I hope people understand is that town took us in, allowed me to be part of girl scouts, supported my brother when he was deployed to Desert Storm. And that same town now has a sign that says 'Proud home of Nikki Haley,'" the governor said.
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