Gov. Haley: 'We need a person that's going to go show courage ... Mitt Romney is the person to do it'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 28, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SOUTH CAROLINA GOV. NIKKI HALEY: American businesses deserve a federal government that doesn't stand in their way. Not one that tries to chase them overseas. Fighting American ingenuity and innovation, that's what this president has meant to South Carolina. That's what this president has meant to this governor. And that's why this governor will not stop fighting until we send him home, back to Chicago, and send Mitt and Ann Romney to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now that was South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley speaking tonight right here at the Republican National Convention.

We're back live in Tampa. Governor Haley joins us.

I guess you already knew that that was Governor Haley speaking, didn't you?

HALEY: I did know that.

VAN SUSTEREN: You figured that one up.


All right. Now here's what -- maybe people don't know. You are one of the first to get on Governor Romney bandwagon way back.

HALEY: You know I actually supported him in 2008. Because I thought we really needed a business person in the White House. And then, this time around, I vetted all of them all over again because as governor you think of things differently. And I knew that we had had fights with voter I.D. I knew we had had fights with illegal immigration. I knew we had had fights to go on, and so I needed someone that was going to have my back and have every governor in this country's back. And so the right person was Mitt Romney.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I was surprised when you came out so early because I thought, you know, it's risky because at the very beginning we didn't know who was going to be, you know, the nomine of -- well, I knew the Democratic nominee, but we never knew who the Republican nominee was.

HALEY: This country is about courage. And you have to be a leader. And you have to lead with courage and not think about what's politically correct or what people are going to say. You have to educate on why you made the decision you made. I stand by that, I stand by it now. And I think he's still going to be our president when we come in November.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So you get all major issues that matter to you that you just mentioned. illegal immigration, voter I.D., manufacturing, Boeing Industry. But I'm curious. As you are standing up there what did it feel like looking at the audience?

HALEY: Do you know what I loved? Was the energy and what I felt like was we're going to do this in November. Because those people understood and I believe people across America know we deserve better. You know if you look at the records, you look at Governor Romney, and this is a man that went into a Democratic state, increased jobs, balanced his budget, cut taxes. You look at President Obama we lost our credit rating. The unemployment is still high. He can't even get a Democrat senator to balance the budget.

You look at Governor Romney and he made the Olympics a successful source of pride for our state when it was failing. You look at President Obama and he can't even get something across to get done. I mean it's, I think he is trying hard but we need a person that's going to go show courage. I think that's what Governor Christie talked about and definitely Mitt Romney is the person to do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Before you gave your speech and you're backstage, did you see governor Christie or Ann Romney? Are you all cut kept separate?

HALEY: Well, Governor Romney did come out and thank me after I gave the speech. And it was just thrilled and very happy and I just told him I couldn't wait to hear Ann. I did see Chris's family and wished them good luck and you know, it's just a big group of us that believe in Mitt Romney. And we believe in Ann Romney. And it was - a good crowd.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. South Carolina is expected to be a Republican state. We don't have any current polls. Karl Rove has told me. You've also traveled to other states like Michigan.

HALEY: I have.

VAN SUSTEREN: Michigan is not -- I mean that's a tougher state for the Republican Party.

HALEY: And it's, Greta, the excitement was there. And I said in the speech, I had two independents come up to me and say, although. we don't know everything we need to know about Governor Romney yet what do know is that right now we deserve better than what we have today that.

Now that two independents in Michigan. I spoke in Chicago and we got the same response. It's not that people have a party style now. They know that this is a time of courage. They need to pick someone that they know is going to fight for them. And they know President Obama is not it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The convention is Thursday night. Are you hitting the road for the, Governor, Friday, Saturday, Sunday? I mean how fast are you hitting the pavement?

HALEY: As soon as they need me. What you will see is that it is important for the people of South Carolina that we have a new president. It's important to this governor to make sure that I've got somebody who's going to have our back in South Carolina. So I'll do whatever they need us to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, always nice to see you.

HALEY: Great to see you, Greta. Thank you.