Gov. Haley Knocked for Romney Tour
The three-day, two-state trip is panned by Democrats.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to hit the road this week for three days to campaign for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is drawing some criticism at home.
“I think Gov. Haley should be focused more on the issues facing South Carolina instead of spending time boosting her national profile,” said Phil Bailey, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Caucus.
The South Carolina legislature is set to reconvene Jan. 10. The governor’s schedule, released by her office this week, only shows her scheduled events through the end of the week. It’s not clear when she will return, and calls to her spokesman seeking comment were not returned.
Haley, who endorsed Romney last month, will meet up with the former Massachusetts governor during a campaign event in Charleston on Thursday. The two will then travel to Conway, and then she’ll follow him to New Hampshire on Saturday.
“The most dangerous place in the world to be is between Nikki Haley and the national media,” Bailey said. “But her popularity in New Hampshire is probably stronger there than in her own state anyway.”
Despite her endorsement being heavily courted by Republican presidential candidates, Haley’s approval rating has languished in recent months. A recent Winthrop University poll found just 52.5 percent of Republicans approved of her performance while 21.7 percent disapproved.
In recent weeks, the first-term governor has been dogged by claims that she improperly influenced a decision that allowed harbor deepening across state lines Savannah, Ga. The move was unpopular since Charleston’s port competes for business against Savannah.
She’s also been criticized over allegations that she dictated findings of a state committee researching health insurance options.
But around the country, Haley has been championed as a “rising star” by the national media. Her Romney endorsement on national news, and her appearances with him on the campaign trail, have sparked speculation about her political ambitions.
"Nikki Haley wants to be vice president,” said Charleston-based Democratic strategist Tyler Jones. “Bless her heart."
Romney is set to hold a 3:45 p.m. rally in Charleston at Charles Towne Landing. On Friday he will speak at Peanut Warehouse in Conway, S.C.