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DeSantis Campaign Press Release - WTAS: Nikki Haley Continues to Struggle to Clean up Civil War Gaffe for Third Straight Day

December 30, 2023

"She buckled under pressure." "This was an unforced error." "Visibly uncomfortable with this question." "Absolutely dopey." "Word salad of platitudes." "Wait until the left piles on and the heat turns up, I think you are going to see Nikki Haley getting Hillary Clinton-like"

Des Moines, IA - Nikki Haley is on day three of trying to clean up the inexplicable gaffe she made in New Hampshire about the cause of the Civil War, and she is only continuing to make things worse.

Here is more of what they are saying:

Wall Street Journals' Jason Riley: This was an unforced error on her part. Two things can be true, that this was a plant and that she badly flubbed the answer. I'm quite shocked. This is a former governor of South Carolina, where she dealt with the Confederate flag issue as governor, I would think that she'd be prepared for questions like this. If you are asked a question about the cause of the Civil War, and you do not mention slavery in the answer, that is not an accident. That is not an omission. You are being coy. And she got called on it. I mean, the Declaration of Secession of South Carolina, written back in 1860, explicitly cites slavery and northern opposition to expanding slavery. So, you don't need to take my word for it or Nikki Haley's word for it. You can take what South Carolinians were saying at the time, she should have been ready for this question.

National Review's Caroline Downey : She buckled under pressure. You're right. If you're in the hot seat as a Republican contender... you have to be good on your feet and this is a no brainer. So why in her kind of subsequent answer to the press did she say, 'of course, it's an easy question?' Addressing the town hall, she was implying that it was not an easy question, that it was complicated, the nature of it, when in fact, it's plain and simple slavery. States' rights and all of that disputing, yeah that's kind of a side story. But everybody knows what was at the crux of the Civil War, of that conflict. So in reality, I think she proves she's not as good on the fly, impromptu as we would hope she would be as a presidential contender.

Tomi Lahren: He's not wrong. He says John Kerry, I say Republican version of Bud Light. But either way, this is not a good moment for Nikki Haley, but you're going to start to see this crank up now that she is edging up in the polls. She is relatively unscathed until the last couple of weeks. Now, she is getting the treatment that Ron DeSantis has been getting for the last year and a half. So, it'll be interesting to see how she handles it. The slavery comment the other day, or the lack of the slavery comment, not good for her. Wait until the left piles on and the heat turns up, I think you are going to see Nikki Haley getting Hillary Clinton-like and I'm no fan of Nikki Haley, so, I got to be honest with you guys, I don't mind seeing it... She's going to have to handle more of this criticism and I hope she doesn't say that this kid was a plant.

Fox News' Griff Jenkins: She had a tough day the day before with the civil war. Now she is getting put on the spot and owned by a 9-year-old child accusing her of being John Kerry. It's been a rough go in New Hampshire where she has been climbing in the polls. But, you know, she needs fewer moments like this, if she is to really catch up with the overwhelming frontrunner Donald Trump and more moments talking about things like the border that we were talking about and as you rightly point out, Joey, a great opportunity to own an issue.

National Review's Rich Lowry: It was kind of a weird moment. She was visibly uncomfortable with this question. It was like she felt trapped by this question, totally at sea with how to answer this question. It was a very basic question, so, it was not a great moment for her.

Tiana Lowe Doescher: That was not the answers that her fans are used to. It was not a very cogent answer.

Newsmax Wake Up America Panel:

ROB FINNERTY: Nikki Haley getting some serious backlash after she failed to mention slavery. When she was asked a random question at a town hall in New Hampshire, the question although it was out of nowhere, the answer should be fairly simple. What was the cause of the Civil War? Haley's response, let's just call it incomplete.

JAKE NOVAK: Well, she fumbled obviously... Absolutely dopey for not to just answer that question and move on... But the bigger problem is that now you have - it just goes to show another thing I love to say - political consultants are really bad at what they do. And this is someone who probably said, 'Well, if you get these kinds of questions, show how smart you are. Talk about something about from a libertarian point of view... differentiate yourself.' No. If the answer is four, and two plus two, or the answer is slavery causes Civil War, just say that and move on. And these people have to justify their salary so they tell them stupid things.

ROB FINNERTY: ...Okay, so she's implying that this was some sort of plant and that was the narrative yesterday, Betsy, it doesn't matter if this was a Trump plant, or a Democratic plant.

BETSY MCCAUGHEY: Or somebody from Mars.

ROB FINNERTY: It's a pretty simple question.

BETSY MCCAUGHEY: That's right.

National Review's Dan McLaughlin: What we've seen in the post-gaffe cleanup has been more of the same. She blamed the questioner for being a Democratic plant. That may well be true, but it's irrelevant: This wasn't some viral moment where an "undecided voter" chewed her out, it was a softball question... Then, we get Haley's effort at a do-over, which is yet another word salad of platitudes... The next few weeks will be a serious test of whether this is just one silly-season news cycle, or whether Haley really is not ready for the next level.

Townhall's Matt Vespa: I get that you don't want to answer this question, being a former governor from the first state to secede, but this is a softball, Nikki.

National Review's Philip Klein: Her new position is that a Dem plant made her look like a blithering idiot, which is not exactly an encouraging sign for a Republican presidential candidate.

Ann Coulter: Hey, Republicans! Wouldn't it be great to have a presidential candidate who doesn't terrify you whenever he's asked a question? VOTE DESANTIS!

RealClearInvestigations Mark Hemmingway: No one actually believes this, and the question is likely a plant. However, Trump, DeSantis, and Ramaswamy — all three are good at recognizing a bad faith question and shoving it back down the questioner's throat. This is a necessary GOP skill, a Haley doesn't really have it.

Wall Street Journal: Civil War Gaffe Undercuts Nikki Haley's 2024 Pitch

Washington Post: Nikki Haley goes on Civil War autopilot, runs over her own campaign (Geraghty)

New York Post: Nikki Haley slammed for not mentioning 'slavery' as cause of the Civil War in 'word salad' answer during town hall

PJ Media: The Morning Briefing: Nikki Haley Continues to Sabotage Herself

Washington Examiner: If Nikki Haley can't handle Democratic gotchas, how will she survive a presidential debate?

RedState: Ron DeSantis Succeeds Where Nikki Haley Failed; Articulates the Reason the Republican Party Was Founded

Daily Mail: Nikki Haley has 24 hours in New Hampshire she'd rather forget: Bizarre moment a NINE-YEAR-OLD compares her to 'flip-flopping John Kerry' after she was forced to clean-up Civil War comments

BizPacReview: DeSantis gives masterclass on how to answer Nikki Haley 'slavery' question

Daily Wire: Nikki Haley Blasted For Leaving Out Slavery In Her Answer On Cause Of The Civil War

Newsweek: Nikki Haley's Slavery Remark Trashed by Civil War Historians

CBS: A tumultuous last 2023 swing through New Hampshire for Nikki Haley

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - WTAS: Nikki Haley Continues to Struggle to Clean up Civil War Gaffe for Third Straight Day Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/369185

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