South Carolina governor Nikki Haley probably didn’t expect to field questions about a potential vice-presidential candidacyfrom the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum.
When the queries came Friday on Finebaum’s show, she brushed them off saying she had something far more crucial on her mind.
“I am really focused on this Clemson game,” Haley said. “That is really consuming every ounce of every minute of every day.”
The governor talked about the challenges the state has faced – from flooding to the tragedy in Charleston to the lowering of the Confederate flag. But mostly, she talked about her Tigers.
Clemson will face Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinal on New Year’s Eve.
She referenced the 1981 national title team opening the season against Wofford, as this season’s team did. She talked about meeting her husband her first weekend on campus, getting proposed to in the school’s botanical gardens and having kids now interested in attending the university.
And she also sees herself as a low-grade nuisance to Tigers head man Dabo Swinney.
“I know he’s tired of me being a backseat coach because I text him all the time and I tell him what I think needs to happen,” Haley said. “But just to watch how they’ve played, the heart that they’ve shown, it’s one more nice shining star in South Carolina.”
She admitted she’s planning to propose a bet with Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, having won a wager with North Carolina governor Pat McCrory). She’ll make the trip to Miami for the semifinal, and made a pitch for Deshaun Watson’s Heisman candidacy.
Haley was asked about her alma mater’s rivals in the Gamecocks, and she pulled no punches. Despite working a stone’s throw from the USC campus and Williams-Brice Stadium, she won’t back down from the rivalry, even with her game day attire.
“I wear a lot of orange and I’m very loyal to the Clemson Tigers,” Haley said. “It’s one of those things, you can’t be politically correct when it comes to a team that you love.”