NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley will be the first prime time speaker on the first night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Monday.
During a stop in Berkley County Friday, Haley said that she'll talk about South Carolina and her years-long friendship with Mitt and Ann Romney, but she'll also be firing at the Obama administration and federal challenges that state officials have faced.
The GOP ticket seemed to abandon the "fight Washington" theme with the selection of longtime U.S. House Rep. Paul Ryan as a running mate. But Haley's message of Washington obstruction will likely be revisited frequently by surrogates at the convention podium next week.
"We deserve better," Haley told a crowd of small business owners at a Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce event. "I do think that President Obama has done the best he can. I think he tried to do what he thought was right. But the truth is, we lost our credit rating, we're seeing unemployment at an all time high. We're seeing companies go overseas. We're watching the fact that we haven't had one balanced budget."
Beyond the broader talking points of failure, Haley will dive into the different issues where South Carolina has butted heads with federal regulators and the Justice Department over the past few years. They've battled over issues like Arizona-style immigration enforcement, an attempt to require voter ID at the polls this November and a National Labor Relation Board effort in 2011 to penalize Boeing for bringing thousands of jobs to a non-union plant in North Charleston, S.C.
"A governor in South Carolina passed a strong illegal immigration reform bill and the president stopped it. We said: 'You have to show picture ID to buy Sudafed, you have to show picture ID to get on a plane, why shouldn't you have to show picture ID to have the right to vote?' And the president stopped it. To have a company like Boeing want to create jobs, and have the president stop it," Haley said.
"We need someone who is going to help me — to help South Carolina. And we're not getting it."
The path and projected damage from Tropical Storm Issac continues to be a concern, Haley said. The storm is expected to reach hurricane strength late Monday and may impact the low-lying portions of the Tampa area where the Republicans will be gathering.
"I didn't know up until yesterday or today whether I would be going because the hurricane was on our mind and certainly a priority," she said, noting the impacts are also a concern for South Carolina. "And we're still talking about it day-by-day. I think we're going to need to watch for some tornadoes in the state, but other than that we should be OK."