(WASHINGTON) — There is a wooden sign posted on South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s statehouse office door: “Can’t is not an option.”
Haley has broken many barriers in the state. She is not only its first non-white governor, but also its first female and, elected at 38, its youngest. She touts the phrase as a defining idea for her administration. It is even the title of her new book.
At an interview at the governor’s mansion in Columbia, S.C., Haley told ABC’s Nightline the sign has been there since day one of her administration.
“I want everyone who comes in — staff, legislators, constituents — to know from the outset that’s how things work here,” she said.
It can make her a tough boss at times she admits, but, she says, an effective one.
Watch the full interview with Gov. Nikki Haley on Nightline, Tuesday, April 3 at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT.
A Tea Party favorite endorsed by Sarah Palin during her gubernatorial race in 2010, Haley’s endorsement in the Republican primary was a highly coveted one. The South Carolina governor came out early for Mitt Romney, criss-crossing the state with him in the weeks before the state’s January primary.
Despite her stalwart campaigning on his behalf, Haley claims she has no interest in being his running mate. If offered the vice presidential slot, Haley said she would not take it.
“I’d say, ‘Thank you, but no,'” she said. “I made a promise to the people of this state. And I think that promise matters. And I intend to keep it.”
But the governor fell short of delivering a South Carolina win to Romney. Instead the GOP presidential candidate suffered a substantial defeat in the Palmetto state, falling 13 percentage points behind Newt Gingrich.
Haley brushed off Romney’s loss.
“South Carolinians are strong, independently-minded people,” Haley said. “At the end of the day, they make their own decisions. And I respect them for that. And I welcome that. And I told him that from the very beginning.”
Haley said she “can sleep at night” after his loss, because she still thinks Romney is “the one” who will get the nomination and is best positioned to beat President Obama.
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