This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 23, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: South Carolina State Rep. Nikki Haley just won the biggest political race of her life, and now she is the Republican nominee for governor of South Carolina. But the battle is just beginning. Earlier Nikki Haley went "On the Record."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Representative, nice to see you. And congratulations is in order, but I suspect last night seems a million years ago, am I right?
NIKKI HALEY, GOP SOUTH CAROLINA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: That's exactly right. There's no breathing time. It's on to November, so we are working hard.
VAN SUSTEREN: You must admit last night was fun for you, right?
HALEY: It was. What it did was it returned the power back -- it returned government back to the power of the people, and the people stood up and made their voices loud. They want an accountable government. They want a government who knows the value of a dollar. It was a great day.
VAN SUSTEREN: Any big calls from many of the people who endorsed you congratulating you?
HALEY: I did. I got calls from Mitt and Ann Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Bobby Jindal, a lot of great people pushing for good conservative government and wishing us well. We were excited.
VAN SUSTEREN: What is interesting about South Carolina -- first of all, it is fun to see some firsts, firsts made if you are elected in November. And as you know, South Carolina is so important in the run up to the presidential race in 2012, all eyes are on New Hampshire and South Carolina.
But it is interesting how much attention you have attracted outside of state. You are running statewide, but you are getting a lot of national attention.
HALEY: I think that has -- I think the media is trying to decide what these results men and what barriers we thought we broke. The truth is we had a movement in South Carolina. The movement was it is not about being Republican. It is about being conservative. It is time elected officials remember who they work for.
And it is time for the people to understand they are the ones in control.
VAN SUSTEREN: If you are going to the polls to vote next November and both candidates want jobs for the people of South Carolina, why should someone throw the lever for you and not for Mr. Sheheen?
HALEY: He thinks that government is the answer to all things. He thinks government is the answer. You have to let the private sector work.
When you create a healthy business environment for your state, then small businesses will be successful. You have to turn around and understand that if you keep your income taxes low, if you eliminate small business taxes, if you turn around and hold your government accountable and transparent so we can see all that's happening, then we create an environment that is healthy for the people.
Government is never the answer. Government usually messes up more than it fixes. I think he thinks the answer is government, I think the answer is the private sector.
VAN SUSTEREN: When Governor Mitt Romney was in South Carolina and campaigned for you, you were quoted as saying, and correct me if I'm wrong, "Oh, what a different place we would have been in if we had a businessman in the White House." Was that veiled support behind governor Romney, or a slap at the president? What does that mean?
HALEY: It was a respectful observation in the fact that government is not the answer to all things. We were looking at these health care mandates are dangerous for our states. We can't sustain the debt it will cost our states.
We are looking at the stimulus packages and bailouts coming down that we don't need. We need to prioritize our spending and understand we have to live within our means like our households and our businesses do every day.
The fact that we've got a president that thinks government is the answer to everything versus a businessman who would have understood that you to live within your means, I think we would be they a different country now.
VAN SUSTEREN: If my recollections serves me correctly, Governor Sanford wanted to reject the stimulus money to South Carolina. Had you been governor in February of '09, what would have been your position on the stimulus money?
HALEY: I was -- I'm a legislator and served and in the general assembly and I agreed with him that we needed to reject the stimulus. All it did was run up the credit card debt. And two years from now we will have less money to spend on it.
And not only that, it tied the hands of the state and told them how to spend it. That's exactly the problem with taking federal money. They turn around and tell you that you have to take this money and spend it this way without knowing the environment of the state.
The state should understand they have to prioritize spending, understand the value of a dollar, and they have to cut corners like every business and every household does. I don't think stimulus packages or bailouts work. They put us in more debt and make us more dependent on something that is not reliable.
VAN SUSTEREN: When Governor Palin endorsed Carly Fiorina in the state of California, her numbers jumped. She endorsed you, and I'm not sure how the numbers were affected, but tell me, how important do you think that Governor Palin's endorsement of you was?
HALEY: Governor Palin is great because she is a national figure that has gone out and taught people the power of their voice. She has taught them the people are in charge.
What we saw is while creeping up in the polls she absolutely gave us a boost when we needed it. It was helpful to the campaign. I appreciated her coming to the state of South Carolina and the people loved having her there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was that the first time you met her?
HALEY: It was. And the one thing she told me then was, when you start to move up in the polls, they are going to attack you. And when they attack you it will never stop. She said, and even after you are in office it going to get tougher. Remember keep your eye on the ball and remember it is the people that you work for.
VAN SUSTEREN: There was some mudslinging in your campaign. Did it occur after you started moving up in the polls? Was Governor Palin correct in that advice?
HALEY: Yes, absolutely, because we went from Nikki who? That was about six weeks prior to the election, to where all of a sudden the numbers came out surprised our opponent, surprised us as well. We went up double digits in the polls, and out of nowhere we had kitchen sink thrown at us.
But all it did was make me more determined. We kept it on jobs, on the economy, on elected officials knowing who it is they work for. The one thing I will tell you is when you turn around and challenge the establishment, they are going turn around and kick back.
But our goal is not to get distracted but to keep the people behind us. And I think the people of South Carolina proved not only to our state but to the entire country what they are made of.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think women candidates have a different challenge on both sides of the aisle? Do you think it is different for women candidates?
HALEY: I don't think it is different for women candidates. I think women balance well. I think women don't take politics personally little. I think we balance things at the end of the day. We understand we have to prioritize.
I think we bring different experiences to the table that are needed. South Carolina is one of the lowest in the country on women elected officials, but I always say that's because women don't run. It's not because there is anyone holding us back. We bring a lot to the table and I think we need more women in office.
VAN SUSTEREN: I know your attention is on November and the run for governor, but the fact is that 2012 is going to roll around. And you have Governor Mitt Romney endorsed. He gave to your campaign, he endorsed you and came in forth in 2008. You have Governor Palin who has not said no to running. You have Governor Pawlenty, I don't think he endorsed you, but he's coming down there.