LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: Joining us from Charleston, South Carolina the Governor of the Palmetto State Nikki Haley who has a new memoir out called "Can't is not an Option". Governor Haley, great to see you.
GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Great to be with you, Laura. It's another great day in South Carolina.
INGRAHAM: Let's -- let's talk about what is clearly at the core of Obama's re-election strategy. And it's to divide and conquer. And on this issue of women, he seems to be doing this to some effect. I mean their polls say different things at different times. But there has been in the last three weeks or so, two or three polls that have come out that have demonstrated that Mitt Romney has fallen somewhat among women. What accounts for that?
HALEY: Well, I mean how many times can we say the word "distraction"? That's what President Obama is doing. He doesn't want us talking about his record. He doesn't want us talking about how he has raised more debt in three years than President Bush has in eight.
He doesn't want us talking about the fact that he said if we would take the stimulus money we would never get above eight percent unemployment. That hasn't been the case.
He didn't want to talk about the fact that he believes in creating jobs but he believes in creating government jobs. But when we're trying to do American jobs like Boeing he's going to be the first to bully them and say "No they can't do that."
So this is a President that is trying to create distractions. There is no war on women. Women are doing well. But women are thoughtful. And what we in the Republican Party and across the country, Republican, Independents and Democrat women say is we're more thoughtful than a label. We care about jobs and the economy and healthcare and education. We care about a lot of different things.
INGRAHAM: Right, right but Governor --
HALEY: So don't label us and call us victims.
INGRAHAM: Right but Governor, why these poll results? Women 18 to 49 today "U.S.A. Today" and Gallup -- I'm not saying it's the be all end and end all but it seems to be there have been a couple polls that have reveal days, something of a gap between women and male voters.
Now there have been a gender gap for some time now. But is this a problem with branding for Mitt Romney. Is it a temporary blip given all the media crush on this issue?
HALEY: You know, I'm not a pollster. But I personally think it's the fact that we're in this primary season. So much is the back and forth between the Republican candidates that we haven't had the opportunity President Obama has had to get out there and really talk and generate. What I hope that the Republican nominee does and what all of us will do is focus on going out to those groups that we're weak at. That's what a good candidate does. You don't go to the people that are just like you. You go to the people that you have to earn their credit.
And I think that who I think Governor Romney is going to have to go out there. I think he's got the best golden bullet in the world which is Ann Romney. And go out there and talk about the issues that affect all families in South Carolina and across this country and that affect everyone. And I think when he does that with his wife, who is a cancer survivor, an MS survivor and a strong mother, wife and supporter of her husband, I think all of that will change.
INGRAHAM: Yes well -- and she is without a doubt one of his most powerful assets on the trail. And I think he would agree with that. But last -- I think it was Friday or so, the Governor was asked about Augusta and this is being brought up again, it's like every time the Masters rolls around its Augusta's rules on women. And I frankly, you know the private club deal is -- to me that's their decision. Or they are -- that's how they want to run their club.
But he felt the need to say well, I guess something like well, I think maybe they maybe should admit women but I have other things to focus on. Why even go down that road? Because it seems to me you're never going to beat the Democrats on -- on pandering to a particular interest group. So why even go down that road of commenting on the rules of a private club?
HALEY: Well, I think because the media is so focused on it. I mean what we -- and I saw last week, I mean, the media was just very focused on Augusta. And you know the good thing about it is they are discussing a female CEO. It's a great thing. It shows that women are rising.
INGRAHAM: Yes, but she can't go to the club.
HALEY: No. And what we want to say is I think Augusta should take her. I think that this is showing not only times are changing, traditions are changing. But you know yes, Augusta should take women and they will. This is something that makes America great is that people can be successful and they will continue to be successful.
INGRAHAM: Well --
HALEY: I think the media is trying to drum this up.
INGRAHAM: I think is what's great is that people can make their own choices. And private clubs can, you know, have private rules. I mean to me I just think when Republicans go down this road that they just get lost in this narrative. And again, it takes away from -- you know what - what he has done to this economy and what he hasn't done to this economy. And - - and --
HALEY: Well and I'll tell you -- and I'll tell you Laura, that's what they are trying to do. It's all about distractions.
HALEY: He's going to continue to distract. We have to continue to stay on message of jobs, the economy and his record.
INGRAHAM: Exactly. I think Mitt Romney has bigger -- bigger fish to fry than the rules of a private club.
HALEY: That's right.
INGRAHAM: That would have -- that would have been my answer. But I'm not running for president. Governor, great to see you thanks so much.
HALEY: Thanks, Laura. It's always good to be with you.