Haley gives interview while campaigning in Aiken

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - If the polls are correct, gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley is on a roll, and so is her bus. Haley worked coastal areas on Wednesday, Bamberg and the Lowcountry on Thursday, and Bluffton, Aiken and McCormick on Friday. She also answered a series of our questions.

Haley has been running into some pretty affectionate crowds on what will be a six-day bus tour around the state. At the Red Pepper Café in Aiken, the Republican state lawmaker who hopes to be governor signed autographs, smiled for photos and made personal contact with dozens of admirers.

We asked Haley about her plan to call on faith-based organizations and businesses to pick up the slack for the cash-strapped state government.

"I have already talked with faith-based organizations around the state," responded Haley. "I've told them that we're going to do a big organizational meeting the first part of the year so that we can get this program started. It will be a South Carolina community program where we will go in our poverty stricken areas. We will do tutoring, we will do mentoring, we will job shadowing. We are going to do great things for South Carolina."

We also asked Haley why she believes eliminating the state's already low corporate income tax will create jobs. "Because we are already a right to work state," said Haley. "We keep the unions out. Companies love that. When we become a no-corporate income tax state, we will be a magnet for companies that want to come here."

Another question concerned her reaction to the conservative-leaning Spartanburg Herald Journal's endorsement of Democratic opponent Vincent Sheheen. "I think the Spartanburg Herald has the right to their opinion, I disagree," said Haley. "Look at the people. All I care about is the people. I have never, with all due respect, been able to talk to the media in a way that they're going to buy in. But the people of this state really believe in making sure that we know the value of a dollar. They believe in making sure we take back our state."

We also asked how she can justify calling Sheheen a Columbia "insider" when she's served three terms in the House. "He comes from political hierarchy," said Haley. "He's been groomed all his life to be governor. His uncle was Speaker of the House. His father was head of education. I was a businessperson. I had never been involved in politics. Had never been in student government. You know, I fought against my party. He's never fought against his party. He will support Obama and his administration. I will do what's right for the people of this state."

Haley did brush off one question when we asked how she felt about being endorsed by controversial blogger Will Folks, who claims he had an affair with Haley. "I didn't know about that and I refuse to talk about it," she responded.

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