South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s book “Can’t Is Not an Option: My American Story” offers praise for Mitt Romney and a look at Haley’s relationship with Sarah Palin — in between jabs at political consultants who told Haley she couldn’t win elections. (“Your dad wears a headdress,” one consultant reportedly said to her, referring to her Indian immigrant father’s turban.)
“I have great respect for Governor Romney,” wrote Haley, who has twice endorsed Romney for president and received a surprise endorsement from him during her 2010 gubernatorial race. She hedged on health care: “While I wouldn’t choose his plan for South Carolina, I appreciate that he had the courage to try it.”
In 2010 Haley also scored the support of Palin, who made a stop in South Carolina on Haley’s behalf and warned her about the viciousness of the political establishment and media. “Be careful,” Palin reportedly told her. “Once they see that you have strength and that you might win, their number one goal is going to be to bring you down.”
When allegations of an affair between Haley and a blogger later exploded in the media, Haley says Palin called her the day the news broke. “She asked me two questions,” wrote Haley. “‘Are you okay?’ and ‘Is it true?’ I answered ‘yes’ and ‘no.’” Palin immediately wrote a Facebook post supporting Haley.
By contrast, the Haley camp also got a call that day from Romney, whose team was going to have a “Nikki Haley meeting” to decide what to do. “Mitt ended up being very generous in his support for me, for which I am very grateful,” wrote Haley. “But the differences in the way the two people reacted reflected the differences between a brash, spontaneous Alaskan woman and a cautious, deliberate businessman.”
The book’s funniest moment came when Haley described being the only Indian family in her small South Carolina town. A young Haley was cast as Pocahontas in a school play about the pilgrims. “To this day, I’m not sure what my teachers were thinking,” Haley writes. “Did they realize that I wasn’t that kind of Indian?”
“Can’t Is Not an Option” goes on sale April 3.