Nikki Haley to give GOP response to Obama’s State of the Union speech

Haley’s political fortunes are on the rise.

"Nikki Haley"
Nikki Haley

AB Wire

The new year couldn’t have begun on a better note for the rising political fortunes of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley: she has been chosen by the Republican party to deliver their response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 12.

Haley, who Politico has predicted – according to one of their Caucus analysts – would be an ideal vice presidential pick for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican Party’s bid for the White House, is also changing the rules of the annual game a bit.

Haley is calling her nationally televised speech from Columbia an “address” rather than a “response,” as the political counterpoints have been called since they began in 1966. Haley is the first South Carolinian to deliver the State of the Union response, reported The State.

“This is a time of great challenges for our country but also of great opportunities,” she said in a statement. “I intend to speak about both.”

However, the response to Obama’s speech is not a given for a successful presidential run, as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal now knows. Jindal had given the response in 2009 to Obama’s speech to Congress. House Speaker Paul Ryan gave the address a year before he was picked as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate in 2012. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio delivered the 2013 response to Obama and is running for the White House this year.

Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants from Punjab, a state which she visited last year, has been called a rising star in the GOP since she became South Carolina’s first woman and first minority governor in 2011. She gave a prime-time speech during the 2012 Republican National Convention, the State report said.

Haley was chosen to give the GOP response by Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“Not only has Gov. Haley fought to bring opportunity and prosperity to the people of her state, but she’s also demonstrated how bringing people together can bring real results,” McConnell said in a statement. “Gov. Haley knows the American dream and wants to see every American share in it.”

Haley enjoyed tremendous press coverage in 2015. The Washington Post named her as the top governor to make the most news in 2015, citing her response to the Charleston Church shooting, the subsequent debate and lowering of the Confederate Battle Flag from State House grounds, and her actions during October’s unprecedented statewide flood.

CNN also listed Haley among the 9 politicians to watch in 2016.

Haley’s name has floated around since her historic 2010 run for governor in the state as a possible national political name, and all year she’s fielded questions about the Republican ticket in 2016, noted WISTV.

“If you have someone like a moderate, a Rubio, even a Cruz, Haley is certainly a conservative. A lot of these folks will look at her as bringing a different voice to the table,” CNN reporter Gregory Krieg said.

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