south carolina nikki haley
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will deliver Republican rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday, House speaker Paul Ryan announced. Photograph: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will deliver the Republican reply to Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address next Tuesday, House speaker Paul Ryan announced.

Haley is a popular two-term governor whose national profile grew last summer when she supported a drive to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol.

Republican responses to the speech in recent years have included one by current Florida senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio, and one by former presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor.

State of the Union speeches typically include a laundry list of the president’s legislative priorities for the year ahead. The reply rebuts the president and articulates the opposite party’s vision.

It’s a prominent platform: 38 million tuned in three years ago, and 62 million tuned in to hear George W Bush detail Saddam Hussein’s weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities in 2003. Three of the last seven presidents – Gerald Ford, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton – were once assigned by their parties to deliver the response.

Haley was praised for her handling of the controversy over the Confederate flag, in which many members of her own party opposed the removal of the symbol. “We are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it’s time to remove the flag from the capitol grounds,” she said in a statement announcing the decision to take the flag down. “One hundred and fifty years after the end of the civil war, the time has come.”

A poll last November put Haley’s in-state approval at 56%, versus only 28% who disapproved.

The response speech is not a guaranteed stepping stone to stardom. Jindal’s 2009 response was derided as dull, compared with Obama’s star power, and Jindal, whose home-state popularity was measured in November at 20%, became one of the first Republicans to drop out of this year’s presidential race.

 [Source:- the gurdian]


By Adam