OTR Interviews

Gov. Haley: Obama has 'lapdogs' of distraction while Romney has proven results

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley sounds off on her speaking role at the Republican convention, Romney-Reid war of words on tax returns


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 6, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: And now more on the sneak peek we're getting into the Republican National Convention. Tonight, we now know seven of the major speakers slated to take the podium. One of the headliners will be South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

Governor Haley joins us. Good evening, Governor.


VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well. So how'd you find out that you were one of the chosen ones? Who called you?

HALEY: Beth Myers called.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I suppose you said yes right away?

HALEY: Yes, of course. I would be honored to speak at the convention. Listen, I have been a strong believer and supporter are of Governor Romney since 2008. The past, you know, three-and-a-half years that we've watched under President Obama proves even more how great President Romney will be for this country.

And so I'm honored to be there. I'm honored to represent the state of South Carolina. And I'm honored to represent a good group of governors who understand that we've got to get Washington turned around.

VAN SUSTEREN: I actually remember coming down to South Carolina during the primary, and interviewed both you and Governor Romney. You were an early supporter of Governor Romney. All right, so you got a message. What's your message for your speech? Or haven't you gotten started yet?

HALEY: Yes, we're just now starting to work that out. But this is going to be easy because -- you know, I heard you talking with Reince about the whole Harry Reid situation. President Obama has a lapdog for everything every single day. His job is to make sure that they can put out distractions every day until the election.

Governor Romney has credits and proven results for every single day, whether it was making sure that he brought jobs into his state, whether it was making sure he turned the Olympics around and made it a source of pride, you know, whether we look at everything that he's done in the private sector to bring jobs -- he's signed the front of a paycheck.

And it's so easy to talk about somebody who has proven results as opposed to a president who, God bless him, has tried but just has not been able to do this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, how do you explain the -- let me give you some polls. In the month of July, among the women vote, President Obama was at 48 percent. Governor Romney was at 40 percent. Now fast-forward to a month later, President Obama has jumped from 48 percent to 56 percent, and Governor Romney has slipped 3 percentage points with the women.

HALEY: I think we have to educate more. You know, and the more I get out, the more other people get out, we're starting to see the momentum. It will get down to those last 30 days. It will get down to, have gas prices gone up or down? It's going to get down to what people are feeling in their wallets and their pocketbooks.

And I'll give you an example. I was stumping for Romney in Michigan and I was at a rally, and an independent came up to me and said, You know, I don't know that much about Governor Romney, but what I do know is that we deserve better. That's what this is going to come down to, is don't settle for what's not working.

They know that they deserve better. The American people know that they deserve better. They deserve jobs. They don't deserve increased taxes. They want to decrease taxes. They don't deserve seeing their military not taken care of and weakened. They deserve a strong military. They don't deserve watching their credit rating fall as a country. They deserve to see their credit rating go up.

All of these things will change when we get President Romney in office.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you about some of the other potential speakers that haven't been named yet in the list. One is Congressman Ron Paul. He has a lot of very, very, very passionate supporters. Should he have a speaking role? Should he have a major part of this -- maybe -- he might not even want one for all I know, but should he?

HALEY: You know, this is what I will tell you. I am not a political adviser. It would be wrong for me to get into it. I will tell you there are so many rock stars that are in the Republican Party right now, and it's because they are not doing like the Democrats, where all they do is complain about the past.

They actually have ideas and results dealing with the future. You have a number of people, from Ron Paul to Sarah Palin to tons of governors, you know, to Paul Ryan, to all these people who have actually not just complained, but they've actually done something about it.

So you know, I feel for all the people that are having to make these decisions because we've got too many great ones to choose.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you mentioned Governor Sarah Palin. She's obviously the former -- she was the vice presidential nominee of your party four years ago. Would you expect -- and she does have a huge draw, especially among the Tea Party across the country. She's had lots of success campaigning in Nebraska, Indiana, endorsing, and in Texas recently with Mr. Cruz.

Would you expect that she would be -- she would have a prominent speaking role?

HALEY: Well, I don't want that decision, and I hate it for them, but I will tell you I have always been a big fan of Sarah Palin. I have always been a big fan for the fighter that she is and for the way that she goes out for the conservative cause. So I certainly would love to see her speak.

VAN SUSTEREN: Going to the issue that's sort of been nagging Governor Romney, this whole business about the tax returns -- and very plainly, I don't like the anonymous sources. I don't like that Senator Harry Reid -- and he's gone to the floor of the Senate, where he's protected, with the protected speech. He can't get in too much trouble if he's on the Senate floor making a statement.

But it's anonymous. It's dirty. He knows it. He's a lawyer. He knows all about anonymous sources.

However, having said that, tax returns do tell us a little bit about the candidate. They tell us whether the person's been smart financially, whether the person's paid an income tax rate that we might think is fair. Besides the bullying aspect, would you like to see Governor Romney give us more financial information? Us meaning the voters.

HALEY: Well, I think let's first of all look at the fact that Harry Reid has yet to show you a tax return, so it's absolutely hypocritical for him to do that.

Secondly, President Obama should be embarrassed that he is having to ask one person after another to attack Governor Romney every single day to keep from speaking on his record.

Thirdly, Governor Romney has shown two years' worth of tax returns. But let's be clear, he could show you 12 years' worth of tax returns, and President Obama would still say that's not enough because he doesn't want to talk about the failure that he's had with the debt. He doesn't want to talk about the failure with unemployment. He doesn't want to talk about the fact that he has not handled the international situation well. He doesn't want to talk about anything that has to do with his record, except complain about other people.

So Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and everybody else will keep doing what President Obama tells them to do, which is create a distraction every day until the election and let's hope the people aren't smart enough to figure it out.

I think he's wrong. I think the people are much smarter than this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would a summary be satisfactory? Is there sort of a middle ground at all, an accountant's summary of, like, for instance, you know, what the tax rate is, or where some of his investments are, going back beyond two years? Would that be something that would be seen as sort of middle ground?

HALEY: I mean, I think, with all due respect, Greta, I think you're falling for what they want you to fall for. Instead, what I want to talk about is how many his businesses did he take that were not doing well that he made successful? What did he exactly do and the results of how he spent money in the Olympics that turned it around and made it a source of pride? How did he go with a majority Democrat legislature and cut taxes in the state of Massachusetts?

Those are real results. Why are we not talking about that? Instead, we're talking about hypotheticals. We're talking about made-up things. We're talking about anonymous sources. And we're once again falling into the trap that President Obama wants us to fall into, which is don't talk about the president. Keep talking about Mitt Romney so that people start to doubt him.

It's not going to work. The American people are much smarter than that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, just so we're clear, I just want to repeat again, is I think -- I think what Senator Harry Reid has done with anonymous sources is deplorable because I don't think there's any way you can fight back against it. If he's got some sources, he ought to step up. He ought to name them.

HALEY: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I think that -- and I think President Obama is up to his eyeballs in it, looking the other way. He ought to make a statement. I totally agree.

I'm just trying to this, is that, you know, as we evaluate different candidates, you know, there are some indicators that are sometimes helpful to voters. But I don't for one second think that Senator Harry Reid is playing the least bit decent on this one. And Speaker Pelosi -- she's up to her eyeballs, as well, on this one.

HALEY: I agree. I absolutely agree.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you. And good luck with your speech.

HALEY: Oh, thanks so much. It's always fun to be with you, Greta.