The Buzz

February 24, 2014

POLITICS: Haley on President Obama's 'slap to the face' to the National Guard

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

Gov. Nikki Haley talked about proposed National Guard cuts, legalizing marijuana in South Carolina and the future of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after a governors' meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday.

On Sunday, Haley sat next to First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House dinner. The next day, she was among four Republican state CEOs speaking at news conference. Here are some highlights of what she said:

• On proposed National Guard cuts: "He basically said, 'Many people in the room has asked for cuts. Now you're getting them.' ... You're now going to punish all these people who want deficit reduction by cutting the National Guard? It's just not a logical way to do things."

Haley said the President's tone changed with all governors when talking about proposed Guard cuts. "It automatically went into an almost aggressive nature by him implying that, 'Many of you wanted cuts that's what you said you wanted. Don't start coming in and now complaining that these cuts are affecting you because you said you wanted it and now you're going to get it and you have to live with it. And if somebody questions it, I'm going to have to say something about it.' "

"I want to speak as a military wife. (Her husband spent much of 2013 deployed in Afghanistan with the S.C. National Guard.) Look at what you're telling all of these soldiers across the country that they left their businesses, they left their families to go serve their country. ... You're going to hollow out the National Guard? It is really a slap in the face to anyone who in the past decade has served multiple times and left their life to do this. ... The active military hasn't felt the pain the National Guard has felt. This is not how you show your thanks. Let's be very clear there are a lot of places you can cut in Washington. The National Guard is not one of those that has to be on the priority list."

• On legalizing marijuana: "I'm not there. .. I don't get the sense from the people of South Carolina nor do I feel it myself at this point that it's a hot topic or something moving forward." (A bill was introduced in the State House last week that could allow medical marijuana use.)
• On the possibility of having Christie, the embattled Republican Governors Association chairman, come to South Carolina to campaign for her: "I would appear with any of my (GOP) governor colleagues publicly. They have all expressed support for me, and I have expressed support for them. ... I would be incredibly proud to say he's my friend." Haley added no dates have been set but she expects Christie to pay a visit.

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