OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley thinks the 2024 presidential primary is now a two-way race — even though she finished in third place in the Iowa caucuses behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
During an interview on Fox News, co-host Brian Kilmeade questioned Haley regarding her claim that she is now one of two candidates in a “two-man race” for the Republican nomination.
“Last night, you came in third. You got roughly 21,000-plus votes, 19%. Ron DeSantis got 21% of the vote. Why do you think it is a two-person race?” Kilmeade asked.
“Well, first of all, look at where we started! I mean when we started there were 14 people in the race. We had 2 percent in the polls, and we came out with a strong showing. That’s what we wanted in Iowa. Now, we’re in New Hampshire. You can look at the polls in New Hampshire, we’re a stones throw away from Donald Trump. And so, we’re going to continue to work really hard. We’ve been here for 11 months. We’ve done over 75 town halls. We have been in Red Arrow Diner before. And so, we’re going to continue to talk to people, but we know that that gave us the strength coming out of Iowa. We’re going to get even stronger in New Hampshire going to South Carolina,” Haley responded.
Kilmeade shot back: “So, you said New Hampshire’s going to fix what Iowa did. How does New Hampshire fix it?”
“Well Brian, that was a joke. I mean, you know that. I’m not – I don’t take politics as seriously as sometimes you guys do. We were having a joke there. But what I can tell you is Iowa was very good to us. But now, New Hampshire’s going to go and continue what’s happening and set the tone as it goes to my home – sweet home state of South Carolina. This is the process. This is what I love. This is – it’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint. But we couldn’t be more excited about the energy we have on the ground here in New Hampshire. And the send-off that Iowa gave us. It’s – we’re happy,” Haley said.
“Right. You did come on late. They had you up in the last – in the last Des Moines Register poll in second but you ended up in third. Nikki, right now, Elise Stefanik, yesterday came out, fellow Republican, says, calling on all the other candidates to drop out. What do you say to Elise Stefanik?” Kilmeade asked.
Haley responded: “Well, I respect Elise Stefanik. But I will say that you’ve got 70 percent of Americans don’t want to see a Trump-Biden rematch. The majority of Americans disapprove of both Trump and Biden. If you look at the fact that both Trump and Biden put us trillions of dollars in debt that our kids are never going to forgive them for. And you look at the fact that they are still focused on the past, whether it’s investigations, whether it’s grievances. We need a new generational conservative leader. That’s what Americans want. That’s what they’re yearning for. They don’t want to continue to deal with all the negativity and baggage of the past. They want to start seeing solutions so that we get things done on the economy, on education, on the border once and for all. On law and order and on making sure that we prevent war. That’s the biggest focus we have. That’s what granite staters are talking about and that’s what we’re going to talk about.”
Kilmeade jumped back in and asked: “I know last night in your remarks, it seems to me – and saying — you have some supporters there – it seems to me, last night, you were very tough on much more direct about Trump and Biden, saying you had two 80-year-olds, it’s time to turn the page. American – the American public doesn’t want these two. Was that intentional, be tougher after Iowa?”
“You know, I think, look, I’ve always spoken in hard truths. And so, you had 14 candidates and as we did, we – you know – we were trying to get ourselves out there, make sure people knew what we were for, what – you know – my record as governor, my record as ambassador. Now that we’ve come out of it, look, I mean, you look at any poll here in New Hampshire, Joe – Donald Trump and I are a stone’s throw away,” Haley said.
“And so, we have an opportunity to really make a difference here and continue to follow what the American people want. The truth is, we don’t want any more 80-year-olds in D.C. We don’t want to go and hear about any more investigations. We’re done with that. Everybody wants to see new, fresh leadership. They don’t want all this division. They don’t want the hatred. They just sanity. And they want government to work for them again. They’re tired of working for government. And so, that’s we’re going to try and do. This isn’t personal for me. It’s never been personal for me,” Haley added.
She continued, “This is about making sure that my kids don’t live like this. No parent feels good about how their kids are coming up. You look at houses, the average home buyer in America is 49 years old. The American dream’s getting away from us. You look at young Americans, they’re worried about getting a job. They’re worried about being able to afford a home. They see the debt that Trump and Biden put them in and they’re worried about how they’re going to pay for it. We owe it to them to get this right.”
Below is the supposed poll from the Haley campaign:
Two takeaways from this poll per Haley campaign:
“This is a two-person race. DeSantis is closer to Binkley in New Hampshire (and South Carolina) than Nikki or Trump.”
She’s only candidate with “resources and breadth of support to take the fight to Trump for the long haul.” https://t.co/XwEBGzMPQX
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) January 16, 2024
Below is a video clip of Haley’s appearance on Fox News: