MORNING BUZZ: Haley, Shealy spar over DSS chief, USC to honor longtime political prof, and more from the Winthrop Poll

Posted by JAMIE SELF on April 17, 2014 

The embattled leader of the S.C. Department of Social Services said she will not step down amid questions about her agency's management.

Gov. Nikki Haley defended the Social Services chief on Facebook in a move that suggested a once strong political alliance may be on the rocks.

Happening today: USC will honor Don Fowler for 50 years of teaching with a 6 p.m. public talk at the Hollings Library. Fowler is the former chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party and Democratic National Committee and CEO of the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Fowler has taught courses on politics and mass media since 1964, bringing prominent political figures and journalists to the university, including, most recently, Democratic U.S. Rep. Barney Frank.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson will give the talk, titled “Implications of the Attack on Fact in Politics.” Jamieson is a professor at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder of FactCheck.org and founder of the new political literacy site FlackCheck.org. "Fowler uses Jamieson’s books in his teaching and is an admirer of her work on statistical analysis and public policy," a news release from the university says.

Haley's popularity is on the rise, according to a new Winthrop Poll. Check here to see how U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott are performing and for other poll findings.

Also from the latest Winthrop Poll, BMW and Boeing outpaced Democratic President Barack Obama, Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, former Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and the national and state Democratic and Republican parties in popularity. ... South Carolinians are feeling better about the state economy.

After hearing arguments Wednesday, the S.C. Supreme Court now will decide whether SCE&G is responsible for a $278 million cost increase at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant or if the utility can pass part of that tab along to ratepayers.

A power struggle in the little town of Chapin is ensuing between the mayor and council members, and the clerk is caught in between.

Ex-S.C. Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, responding to Wednesday's Winthrop Poll, said that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham "can be beat – and I’m the guy that’s going to beat him," the (Charleston) Post and Courier reports. Ravenel, a new dad, says he will run as an independent if Graham wins June's GOP primary.

USC Upstate students are planning to protest the S.C. Legislature's budget cuts to programs that include gay content, the (Spartanburg) Herald Journal reports.

Members of South Carolina's congressional delegation participated in a town hall style forum at the S.C. Chamber of Commerce's Washington Night in South Carolina event in Columbia Wednesday, the Florence Morning News reports.

Also happening today: The S.C. Department of Transportation Commission is scheduled to meet today. ... The S.C. House and Senate are on break through the end of next week and have no meetings scheduled today.

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