By Governor Nikki Haley
As a state representative four years ago, I supported Mitt Romney for president. What I've learned since becoming governor has led me to once again support him for president this year.
I did not make this decision lightly. In the end, the things I cared about most were a focus on jobs and the economy, having the executive experience to deliver results to the American people, and finding someone who has never been a part of the destructive chaos that is Washington. Using those criteria, I have no doubt that Mitt Romney is the best choice.
The central issue facing South Carolina is our economy. Under President Obama's failed leadership, America has seen its credit rating downgraded and unemployment rise to new heights; our national debt has shattered all records. We are heading in the same horrible direction as the dismal economies and bankrupt governments of Europe. In order to save our country from this catastrophe, we need to change directions fast.
Any Republican president would try to do that. But Mitt Romney knows how to turn things around -- he's done it before. He knows what it means to make decisions -- real decisions -- and not simply cast a vote. He is not a creature of Washington. And he knows how the private economy works, and how to fix it.
As governor, I've also seen how Washington's policies have an enormous impact on South Carolina. From the unfunded expansion of Medicaid, to challenging our immigration law, to the outrageous attempt to intimidate Boeing from creating jobs in our state, the degree to which Washington is wreaking havoc on our budget and economy is something I did not fully appreciate before I became governor. I'm not sure anyone can appreciate it without sitting in this office. As a former governor, Mitt Romney has had the same experience. He knows the challenges that face our states, and understands what it will take to get the burdens off our backs.
I do not agree with Gov. Romney 100 percent of the time, nor do I support every position he has ever taken. I don't agree with any of the candidates on everything. I don't need to. When I look at what he has accomplished -- substantially cutting taxes and eliminating deficits in a heavily Democratic state, turning around the Olympics, building successful businesses and repairing troubled ones -- I see someone who has the courage, experience and knowledge to turn our economy around and get Americans back to work.
And there's one more thing. None of the conservative agenda will be advanced if we do not defeat President Obama next year. The single biggest economic and budgetary threat to South Carolina in the years ahead is implementation of Obamacare. Gov. Romney is fully committed to repealing Obamacare, and he has told me directly that he will grant South Carolina a waiver to get out from under it on his first day in office. He has also committed to finding a resolution to the Yucca Mountain disaster, including fighting alongside me to prevent the federal government from simply pocketing the money South Carolinians have already paid.
I am convinced that Romney stands the best chance of defeating Obama. The person who convinced me of that was President Obama himself. The Democratic National Committee and the president's campaign attack Romney on a daily basis. They don't touch any of the other candidates. That ought to tell us loudly and clearly who they fear most.
I know some of my conservative friends and allies have a different view of the candidates. I respect their choices. From where I sit, working every day to bring jobs to South Carolina and keep our budget balanced, Mitt Romney is the best choice. He has the right agenda to get our country back on track, to get our economy moving again, and to deliver us results -- and he has the experience and integrity we can count on.
Ms. Haley is governor of South Carolina.