'This Week' Transcript: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley


HALEY: You know, I think he absolutely could be a nominee. The interesting thing was he was one of the only governors that showed courage when it came to dealing with health care. I will tell you we do not want a Massachusetts health care plan in South Carolina. I think that he will have to continue to deal with that issue. I think he's going to have to talk about how that was not good for the country. That wouldn't be a good thing that we'd want to mandate on all of our states. And I think he'll have to respond to what his thought process was. But 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.

AMANPOUR: So do you think he adequately addressed that in his speech on Thursday? Has he laid that issue to rest?

HALEY: I think that issue's going to continue to be part of the debate. I think that every, like I said every candidate's going to have their challenge, I certainly think that's going to be his challenge.

AMANPOUR: so when it comes to social issues South Carolina is a pretty conservative state. What about Mitch Daniels who may or may not get in? Some are saying that he probably will. He has called for a truce on social issues and to be able to push the economy and other such issues forward. Do you agree with that?

HALEY: We're very conservative on maintaining family values, keeping our families strong. But also understanding the value of a dollar and that government is overspending in a time where we need to be cutting back.

AMANPOUR: Let's just take what you talked about family values and sort of make it about family. Mitch Daniels -- obviously there's been a lot of talk also about his wife, how sort of reluctant she is as a political spouse. Do you think there is enough, too much, not enough focus on the families, the wives of the candidates? How do you assess all of that?

HALEY: I think it's ridiculous. I think it's a terrible distraction to a campaign. I think what you need to be looking at and what I'm certainly looking at is what type of governor he was. He was an amazing reformer in his state. He brought great issues. He showed great courage at times that he needed to. Those are the issues we need to talk about. He needs to give his stance on where he stands with family values and what he'll do to make sure those stay strong in this country. But I think to go into a candidate's personal life and to try and attack them and distract the country, people are smarter than that.

AMANPOUR: You, of course, suffered your own attacks on that regard. Do you think that it's finished, that kind of smearing or do you think that that's going to be part of the race in 2012?

HALEY: We won't allow it in South Carolina. You know, the one thing about the people of South Carolina -- they showed it in my election, they will show it in the presidential -- is we will ask the hard questions, but we will show every candidate respect. And the second a political consultant tries to play dirty tricks, it will backfire and it will hurt that candidate. And so my warning to every candidate coming into South Carolina is come in, talk about the issues, that's what we want to hear about, but the distractions are not welcome in South Carolina.

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