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Nate Jackson / February 17, 2016

Nikki Haley: Marco Rubio Is the Man

A key endorsement days before the SC primary.

With South Carolina’s primary coming up on Saturday, it’s a prime time to be announcing key endorsements. And that’s just what Marco Rubio has been able to do. After endorsements from popular Rep. Trey Gowdy and Sen. Tim Scott, Rubio can now count on the support of Gov. Nikki Haley and her 81% approval rating. Rubio is battling Ted Cruz for second place in the Palmetto State, and Haley’s endorsement could prove a difference maker. (If the polls are correct, no one will overtake — or even come close to — Donald Trump, who went out of his way to insult pretty much everyone at Saturday’s debate.)

Haley gave the GOP’s State of the Union rebuttal and made waves with her call to resist the temptation to “follow the siren call of the angriest voices.” Obviously, she was referring not just to Barack Obama’s address or to Democrats, but to Trump. This week, she was even more pointed, saying Trump represents “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.”

On the other hand, Haley seems to be everything a presidential candidate wants in a governor. Besides Rubio, Cruz and Jeb Bush aggressively sought her endorsement. And it’s quite likely that Rubio is at least strongly considering her for a VP nod should he persevere long enough to make such decisions.

> Addendum: Haley’s endorsement garnered some fairly hateful opposition, dismissing her on racial or immigration grounds. But National Review’s Jim Garaghty sums it up: “It doesn’t matter if you’re born in Bamberg, go to Clemson, live in South Carolina your whole life, build a business, sit on the board of your church, donate $130,000 to charity in one year, have a husband in the Army National Guard who serves in Afghanistan for a year … if you dare disagree with someone politically or endorse the wrong guy, some people will still throw ‘she’s not one of us’ crap around.”

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