GOP presidential candidates would love to have the endorsement of Gov. Nikki Haley or Sen. Jim DeMint. Both say it’s too early to choose. At the first national Republican debate which was held in Greenville last night, Haley and DeMint did make clear what it is they want to hear from anyone who wants to run for president.
For DeMint, the bottom line is the national bottom line. He says he will not support a candidate unless they agree to attach a balanced budget amendment to an increase in the national debt ceiling. “I might not have anybody to support,” he laughs.
For Haley, the current fight between her administration and Boeing’s new plant versus labor unions and the National Labor Relations Board is her top issue right now:
The issue on the labor unions is important. What the NLRB has done to Boeing in South Carolina is just the beginning of what we are seeing in terms of bullying to our right-to-work states. That’s an issue we really need to get into, that’s an issue the candidates need to address and can’t address it on the surface. They have to go into details about how we’re going to stop it.
DeMint says the debate offered the lesser-known candidates a way to introduce themselves.
“If we’d had eight or ten, we wouldn’t have heard as much from these folks we didn’t know well. We know the others pretty well,” says DeMint.
DeMint and SCGOP Chair Karen Floyd say that some of the bigger names have not decided if they will run, so it was appropriate that they were not in the debate.