South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, in the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, seized the spotlight to set herself apart from her party's field of presidential candidates, calling for tolerance on immigration and civility in politics.
South Carolina's Haley urges tolerance, civility in Republican reply to Obama
Haley spoke from Columbia, South Carolina, where she gained national attention last year by leading an effort to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state Capitol grounds after the killing of nine black churchgoers in Charleston.
In what some saw as a rebuke of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Haley said: "During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices.
"We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country."
The 43-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants is being mentioned as a possible Republican vice presidential candidate.
"Immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations to live the dream that is America," she said.
Her remarks on Tuesday sparked a backlash from some conservatives. Ann Coulter, a conservative columnist and frequent television talk show guest, tweeted, "Trump should deport Nikki Haley."
Immigration has been a dominant theme in the Republican presidential campaign for the Nov. 8 election to replace Obama. Trump has aroused controversy with his fiery comments, saying that if elected, he would build a wall on the border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants and force Mexico to pay for it.
The billionaire businessman has said he will deport the country's 11 million illegal immigrants. He began his campaign in June by saying Mexico was sending criminals and rapists to the United States.
Haley, whose televised remarks came minutes after Obama delivered his final State of the Union speech to Congress, issued many standard Republican attacks against the president, criticizing his fiscal policy and landmark healthcare law, known as Obamacare.
She promised that if a Republican wins the November election, working families' taxes will be cut and "runaway" spending will be constrained.
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