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Sunday
May152011

Nikki Haley: Health Care Will Remain Issue For Romney

Chris Keane/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney "will have to continue to deal with" fallout over his Massachusetts health care reform bill, and that it will remain a challenge for his primary prospects.
 
"I will tell you we do not want a Massachusetts health care plan in South Carolina," Haley said in an exclusive interview with ABC News This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour.

Last Thursday, former Massachusetts Governor Romney gave an address in Michigan attempting to distinguish the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform law that he signed into law from President Obama's plan passed into law last year. Romney has come under fire from conservatives, who say his health care plan closely resembles Obama's reform efforts.

"I think that we are looking for a leader that's willing to, one, make courageous stands, take strong policy decisions, but two, also admit when a mistake was made," Haley said. "Every candidate's going to have their challenge, I certainly think that's going to be his challenge," Haley added.
 
Haley also weighed in on other potential candidates for the GOP nomination, some of whom kicked off the campaign season in a presidential debate in Greenville, S.C. on May 5.

"I think that the people of South Carolina and across this country are really going to push these candidates in a way that we've never pushed them before," Haley said. "I think that Newt Gingrich has dealt with a lot of issues in the past, and I think now he's going to have to show that he's got those ideas to deal with the future."
 
Indiana governor Mitch Daniels is still mulling a 2012 run, and this week drew coverage in major newspapers over his wife's apparent reluctance to have their personal lives scrutinized on a national stage.

"I think it's a terrible distraction to a campaign," Haley said. "I think what you need to be looking at and what I'm certainly looking at is what type of governor he was.”
 
Haley added that she found real estate tycoon Donald Trump's profanity-ridden speech in Las Vegas last month would not hold up in her home state.

Haley wasn't certain whether former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who supported Haley in 2010, would enter the 2012 presidential race, but praised her for "getting people to know the power of their voice."

"I think that she woke up a lot of people in our country that just really thought that government was a waste of time and she got them to care again," Haley said.

Copyright 2011 ABC New Radio

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