The crowd gathered for Nikki Haley’s speech Monday at the Franklin VFW. Paula Tracy photo
By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
FRANKLIN – Attacking her former boss Donald Trump for his lies about her, Former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a sprint toward the finish of her bid for the Republican Presidential nomination in New Hampshire on Monday.
She told voters at the Franklin VFW she is in this race to prevent wars, to help people like her daughter afford a house, to make the nation strong on energy independence, support the military and veterans and do more to stop illegal immigration than just building a wall.
She noted the average homebuyer in America is 49 years old and the “American dream is slipping away.”
Attending a morning rally before a number of other events, with former Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield who is NH Labor Commissioner, Gov. Chris Sununu, Haley introduced her daughter, Rena Haley, and son-in-law, Joshua Jackson who were there to support her while her husband, David, is deployed overseas in the South Carolina National Guard.
Haley took it to Trump in a stronger way than she has the past few weeks here, saying he has done nothing but lie about her and her record on the airwaves and in the mail messages sent on his behalf.
“If he’s going to lie about me, I am going to tell the truth about him,” Haley said.
“I have seen the mail you have been reading. And every single thing that Donald Trump has said or put on TV has been a lie,” Haley said. “He says I want to cut Social Security and raise the retirement age. I never once said that. Not once. If anything we are going to make it solvent so no one lives in fear. He said that I don’t want to have a border wall. I never said that. I said you can’t just do a border wall, you’ve got to do all these other things that are going to stop what’s happening at the border. He says that I love war, quite the contrary, you don’t have a husband that’s in the military and love war. You are obsessed with preventing war,” she said.
Her stump speech has varied only slightly in recent weeks and there was no focus on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who bowed out of the contest Sunday, avoiding what could have been an embarrassing showing in the Granite State where his polling numbers were trailing Haley substantially.
While the polls still had Trump beating Haley here, registered Independent/Undeclared voters like Martha Cloutier of Meredith and Jewel Fox of Laconia said they are taking Republican ballots and voting for Haley rather than taking Democratic ballots and voting for Biden or another Democrat.
The two friends stood in line waiting to get into the VFW hall and noted the number of young people in the line and in the packed hall who were supporting Haley.
Haley said she has heard from the “elites” that she should get out of the race for Trump and the party.
She said not enough Republicans have been able to vote yet.
“Let me get this straight. Donald Trump won 56,000 votes out of three million in Iowa. He got one and a half percent of the vote in Iowa. America doesn’t do coronations. We believe in choices. We believe in democracy. And we believe in freedom. I have said I love the Live Free or Die state, but you know what? I want to make it the Live Free or Die country.”
After listening to Haley, Cloutier said she felt that Haley was saying “all the right things” for her to vote while Fox said prior to the rally that she was voting more against Trump than for anyone.
Haley spoke of the “shameful” way veterans are treated in this country, in terms of medical care, noting that they wait 30 days for an appointment and get a new appointment on day 29 pushing the appointment back because after 30 days, they can go to any doctor.
“I think every member of Congress should get their health care from the V.A. and you watch how fast that gets fixed.”
She said Trump needs to answer why he wants to raise the retirement age to 70, why he supports, as president, a 25 cent gas tax per gallon on all residents, and why he did nothing to prevent the fentanyl flow from China.
“Everybody talks about the economy that Trump gave us and how good it was. And it was, but at what cost? He put us eight trillion dollars in debt.”
“When you go out on Tuesday you are going to decide if you want more of the same or do you want something new. Now I always speak in hard truths. I voted for Donald Trump twice. I was proud to serve America in his administration. But rightly or wrongly, chaos follows him,” she said.
“When you hear Trump speak, what’s he talking about? Grievances? the past? Vendettas?” she said. “I’m doing this because I don’t want my kids to live this way.”
AG REPORTS EFFORTS TO DISCOURAGE TURNOUT
While Haley, Trump and other candidates were across the state looking for last minute votes, the Attorney General’s Office reported it has received complaints regarding a recorded message encouraging voters not to vote.
“The message, which was sent on January 21, 2024, stated ‘your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday.’ Although the voice in the robocall sounds like the voice of President Biden, this message appears to be artificially generated based on initial indications,” the statement reads.
“These messages appear to be an unlawful attempt to disrupt the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election and to suppress New Hampshire voters. New Hampshire voters should disregard the content of this message entirely,” it concluded.
Voting in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election does not preclude a voter from additionally voting in the November General Election.
The Department of Justice encouraged those who have received the message to send an email to email@example.com identifying (1) the date and time they received the call or message; (2) the origin of the call or message; (3) the content of the call or message; and (4) any other relevant information.
The Election Law Unit’s investigation is ongoing.
SEA URGES NH TO VOTE
Meanwhile the State Employees’ Association, which represents about 10,000 sent out an opposite sounding email to remind all citizens of New Hampshire to vote their conscience Tuesday.
“This year’s contest will be a historic one for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that we at the SEA have not made an endorsement of any candidate. As we take this unique political approach, we are simply asking our members to vote, and that they vote their conscience.
“For over a century, New Hampshire has proudly held the position of hosting the first primary, weathering political storms along the way,” said SEA / SEIU 1984 President Rich Gulla. “Tomorrow, as we continue this tradition, we count on your commitment to our shared civic duty and to our country. We thank everyone for their dedication to New Hampshire and to the traditions and principles of our democracy.”
Our members’ votes are a crucial contribution to shaping the future of our country, and tomorrow’s primary provides a platform for us to actively participate in this democratic process,” it read.