The Buzz

THE BUZZ: Haley gets more ammo from gun maker visit

July 27, 2013 

Nothing sells like a good video.

A clip released by Gov. Nikki Haley’s office last week, featuring bullet casings flying out of guns fired by S.C.’s CEO during a plant tour photo-op, gave the Lexington Republican some added international attention and a few new monikers.

Video produced by the SC Governor's Office

No telling how this could play out in her expected 2014 rematch with Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen but, based on the reaction, firing those rounds hit the target with Haley’s fans.

With more than 36,000 views, the video – featuring Haley shooting handguns, a military assault rifle and a machine gun at a Columbia arms manufacturer on July 19 – became the most watched among roughly 750 clips of Haley on her YouTube channel.

That tripled the views of previous champ – Haley’s announcement last year of the S.C. Department of Revenue’s data breach.

Haley’s firepower – and the comment that she shot while wearing heels – got the attention of the tabloids.

In New York, a headline in The Daily News shouted: “Nikki, get your gun! Video of Republican South Carolina Gov. Haley blowing off steam at a shooting range goes viral.”

In London, The Daily Mail started its story: “South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is known for shooting from the hip. On Friday, the Republican politician turned that idiom into a reality during a tour of a gun manufacturing plant.”

Haley’s shooting prowess was chosen “Video of the Day” on Sean Hannity’s Fox News TV show last Monday.

Several news sites and blogs generated gifs – short repeating quasi-videos (pronounced like the peanut butter brand) – focusing on Haley firing away in a sleeveless black dress.

Haley’s shooting also generated buzz (it’s our favorite word) in the social-media sphere.

A collage of photos on her Facebook page generated more likes and comments than all but handful of her posts this year. (The most popular feature remains photos of her husband on deployment in Afghanistan).

Several folks took to Twitter to call Haley “badass” and “Governator,” while the Republican Governors Association tweeted a link to the gifs.

One tweeter even gave Haley advice: “lean in when shooting instead of leaning back. Even in heels. ;-)” @tahDeetz offered.

Not everyone was a fan, such as @chrisnlan: ”Governor of SC @nikkihaley test fires machine guns instead of doing her job. Fantastic.” (Sheheen was not impressed, either, saying her quip about imagining unnamed people on targets was not a joking matter.)

For her part, Haley said she was just visiting another S.C. manufacturer, which she does a few times a month and promotes on her Facebook page.

“I was glad to see the country saw how much we appreciated our manufacturers,” she told The Buzz.

And how about the country seeing her fire an assault rifle?

“I didn’t think much about it,” the guv said. “I can’t predict what the media will find interesting. I hope it’s good for South Carolina.”

Sanford’s trail still warm

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, has been the butt of a few jokes about having to don a blazer over his sweaty workout clothes to cast votes last week when he was caught off guard during an afternoon run.

But Sanford probably wasn’t expecting a joke from a fellow GOP House member referring to Sanford’s fib that led to his downfall as S.C. governor.

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., yelled at Sanford as he was preparing to vote, “Where have you been? Hiking?” Roll Call reported.

Sanford’s fashion faux pas also elicited some unsolicited advice from an Esquire magazine style editor.

“You should always have an extra shirt (and probably pants and shoes, too) at the office, in case of emergencies,” Max Berlinger wrote. “Always be prepared, sir. Oh, and get a watch — clearly you need it.”

Trying to crack Graham

Lindsey Graham got another opponent in next year’s Republican primary last week as a political group aiming to defeat South Carolina’s senior senator debuted.

Bruce Carroll, a GOP gay activist from York County who briefly considered a run against the Seneca Republican, chairs the new 527 organization called Carolina Conservatives United. (The number 527 refers to the IRS tax code used by political groups.)

“We never know which Lindsey Graham will show up in Washington each day,” Carroll said. “He’s more likely to side with liberal Senate Democrats on important votes than with Sen. Tim Scott (of North Charleston) or the S.C. Republican congressional delegation.”

Graham’s campaign said its man “is a conservative problem-solver willing to tackle tough issues ... (who) works tirelessly to represent our state, our conservative values and our interests.”

The Buzz thinks Graham’s only formal GOP challenger, Richard Cash, could use some more of his last name. His campaign has less than $250,000 in the bank. (Charleston public-relations operator Nancy Mace says she is still mulling a run.)

What the campaign did not mention is that Graham’s supporters have started a super PAC of their own this year. It certainly will complement the senator’s $6 million-plus stockpile.

Harpo’s roast ‘for mature audiences only’

Palmetto State Democrats are planning a fund-raising roast of former state party boss Dick Harpootlian on Sept. 24.

Attorney Joe McCulloch is the roast master with former Columbia Mayor Bob Coble, former Gov. Jim Hodges and Gamecocks announcer Todd Ellis among the roasters.

Tickets go for $100 ($175 for couples) with sponsorships costing $1,000.

Attendees have been warned that Harpo is not known for having too much of a filter. Or, as the invitation says: “This event is for mature audiences only. Those who suffer from a lack of sense of humor need not attend.”

Zombies living for AG

The legacy of zombie voters still is stalking S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson.

The state’s top legal boss received Four Pinocchios – the highest rating – in The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker column last week for his comments claiming hundreds of dead voters cast ballots before a probe was finished.

An investigation found most were due to clerical errors.

The Post also dinged Lexington Republican Wilson for taking more than a year to review the findings before releasing the report.

Guess the zombies ate it.

Buzz bites

• State Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, is planning a “Where is the Justice?” march at the State House on Aug, 17 for Kelly Hunnewell, a mother of four gunned down on July 1 at a Columbia bakery. “Who is to blame? The repeat offenders who took her life? Or the judicial system who (sic) put them back on the street?” an invitation on Shealy’s Facebook page says. “Let’s stop the violence in South Carolina.”

• One of you please being home a muffaletta for Buzz, OK? Haley, Scott and U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land are slated to speak at the fifth annual RedState Gathering of conservative politicians and activists in New Orleans on Friday and Saturday.

• The S.C. Democratic Party celebrated the opening of its new state headquarters on Lady Street this weekend, including a new community-service program called “SC Democrats Care.” (The Buzz will complete the thought – “about winning.”)

• BuzzFeed dubbed U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy as “This Man Who Has The Most Confusing Hair In Congress” last week, saying, “In two short years in Congress, Gowdy has been a hairstyle kamikaze.” A post featured 14 photos with the Spartanburg Republican’s differing hair styles, comparing them to “Wall Street” bad guy Gordon Gekko, “Harry Potter” foil Draco Malfoy and the TV character MacGyver.

Tweet of the week

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, (@RepJeffDuncan) went all Hogwarts last week: “Sometimes finding a room in the Capitol reminds me of the room of requirement from Harry Potter. Wonder (sic) around & suddenly it just appears”

Quote of the week

Former S.C. First Lady Jenny Sanford on Huma Abedin, wife of continually embarrassing New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner (via The Washington Post): “My heart goes out to her.”

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