The Washington Post on the Palmetto State:
“Haley can’t seem to make up her mind about her faith,” said Phillip Bowers, chairman of the Pickens County GOP, in an e-mail to local Republicans this week. Reached by telephone Friday, Bowers said: “It finally got to the point where I ought to let the party know about the inconsistencies in the story.”
Pastor Ray Popham of Oasis Church International in Aiken told CNN: “I think she needs to be straight up with people, if she is both. If she believes that you can be both, then she should say that up front.”
And Tony Beam, an interim pastor at Mount Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, asked listeners on his radio program recently: “Is Nikki Haley being honest about her faith?
Others have been less diplomatic. State Sen. “Jakie” Knotts, who became infamous earlier this month for referring to Haley as a “raghead,” asked this question in a local television interview: “Have you ever asked her if she believes in Jesus Christ as her lord and savior and that he died on the cross for her sins? Have you ever asked her that?”
Asked to respond to such comments at her appearance with Romney Friday, Haley demurred, saying she is focused on the issues.
“I think that the people of the state of South Carolina rose above it, and that says a lot about the people of this state. And I don’t think we need to give it any more thought.”…
“I think the 49-and-a-half-percent figure that Nikki Haley garnered is a pretty clear indication that the people of South Carolina want to focus on the key issues,” said Romney, appearing with Haley at the College of Charleston Friday, just a few feet from a marble plaque celebrating the education of the “sons and daughters” of Africa. Romney continued: “The distractions are not distractions anymore.”
If true, that could be good news for Romney should he run for president again; his own Mormon faith was described as a liability in South Carolina in 2008. The state’s prominence in presidential primary politics — it is among the four “early” states on the calendar in 2012–means the results here can have lasting effects. Romney placed fourth in South Carolina in 2008, behind John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson.