CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) – South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tried Friday to lend conservative credibility to Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney in front of a skeptical crowd in Pennsylvania, a moderate state that nevertheless could be a challenge for Romney to win.
Haley told hundreds gathered at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, the state’s largest annual gathering of conservatives, that Romney has her support because he is a Washington, D.C., outsider, tested in the private sector and committed to keeping a strong military.
But she also fielded pointed questions from the crowd that voiced suspicion over Romney’s commitment to conservative positions or his independence. Haley insisted, among other things, that Romney is “absolutely pro-life, he’s absolutely going to repeal” President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
“Those are the things I want to know,” Haley said. “Are they going to say he’s a flip-flopper? They can do that, but politics is all about hurting your opponent. You’re not going to hear me say anything negative about the other candidates because I don’t have to say anything negative about them to make Mitt Romney look good.”
Haley endorsed Romney in December and also campaigned with him in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Romney lost the primary vote in South Carolina to Newt Gingrich and faces a tough April 24 primary vote in Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum’s home state.
Haley also said that she wouldn’t accept an invitation to be Romney’s vice presidential candidate and that she’s anxious for Republicans to wrap up the primary.
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