'This Week' Transcript: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

South Carolina's governor weighs in on 2012 politics and her political future.

ByABC News
May 15, 2011, 9:22 AM

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2011 -- AMANPOUR: Governor, thank you for being with us.

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It's great to be with you.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you first a big burning policy issue which is consuming a lot of time here in Washington and that is the raising of the debt ceiling. Do you think that this should happen or are you on the side of those who say hell no?

HALEY: Absolutely not. You know, we are seeing total chaos in D.C. right now. The very first thing they need to do is -- is make sure that they stop raising the debt. They need to make sure that they balance their budget like every other state in the country, and we've got to get control of our spending. It is chaos in D.C. and they need to stop.

AMANPOUR: So you say absolutely don't raise the debt ceiling. But what about the Fed? What about the treasury sector? What about Wall Street who's really worried that if this even goes down to the wire, it's going to really damage America's credibility and its ability to pay for doing its business.

HALEY: You know, government is notorious for saying the sky is falling. What I will tell you is every governor in the country has balanced their budget through very tough times. We have all had to make strong decisions. We have all had to go back to the basics and say what is the role of government? What do we have to have and work our way up?

AMANPOUR: So let's now then turn to the presidential race and the GOP candidates. Is Newt Gingrich an exciting candidate for you? You have said recently that there was a place and a time for him. Do you think he's the right candidate for the Republican party right now? Will he win the nomination?

HALEY: You know, I think the press always tries to paint a dark picture on everything. I think every candidate has their challenges. And I think that what we have seen with Newt Gingrich is he's had great ideas in the past, and what we are already starting to see is he's coming out and showing how his ideas today match the feelings of what we're dealing with today, whether it's the Medicaid mandates, whether it's food stamps, whether it's the unions. And he's come out and talked about the unions. That's what we want to hear about is the issues of the day. And I think that's what every candidate's going to have to do, and I was pleased to see him start to do that this week.

AMANPOUR: Well, but how do you square that saying that he did have a time and a place? Does he speak to the future to you?

HALEY: You know, I think that will remain to be seen. I think that's what he's got to tell. 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. And 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.

AMANPOUR: So talking about policy debate, Mitt Romney gave a big speech this week about health care, about other issues, but primarily about health care. And he seemed to try to, again, put a square peg in a round hole saying that his health care for his state was great, but he would never do it for -- for federal health care.

The "Wall Street Journal" has told and called him compromised and not credible on this issue. Do you think that he's compromised and not credible? Could he be a nominee?