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Tales from the trail: These boots are made for stompin'

The South Carolina governor weighs in on GOP infighting, and Ben Carson picks up his first congressional endorsement.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley campaigns for Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) during an event Feb. 18, 2016 in Greenville, S.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty)
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley campaigns for Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) during an event Feb. 18, 2016 in Greenville, S.C.

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These boots are made for stompin'

Nikki Haley's boots are made for stompin' her political opponents.

That's what the South Carolina governor told reporters Thursday when asked about all the infighting that's erupted within the GOP presidential primary in the state over the past week.

"When you come to South Carolina, it's a bloodsport. Politics is a bloodsport," she said.

Gesturing to her black leather stiletto boots, Haley added, "I wear heels — it's not for a fashion statement, it's cause you got to be prepared to kick at any time."

Kicking may be too gentle a word to characterize the nastiness exchanged in the state this week as the GOP presidential contenders jockey for advantage in the Palmetto State Primary.
Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have all been firing increasingly aggressive attacks at each other, with the occasional slam from Jeb Bush.

Trump, Cruz and Rubio have all called each other liars, and Rubio and Cruz have questioned whether Trump has the "temperament" to be president. Cruz has accused Rubio of trying to distract from his record with those attacks and launched a website this week calling Rubio the "Republican Obama," with a picture photoshopped to look like Rubio gleefully shaking Obama's hand, a move that a Rubio adviser today said was an example of "how phony and deceitful" the Cruz campaign has become.

It's a lot to swallow for a South Carolina voter just looking for a candidate to support, but Haley, who endorsed Rubio on Thursday and stood alongside him as she dismissed the negative attacks, said she wasn't worried about all the bickering turning voters off.

"South Carolinians are used to this. And they can cut through all the mud, they can cut through all the stuff and at the end of the day they make good decisions," she said.

-- Alexandra Jaffe covering the Rubio campaign

Carson (finally) gets a congressional endorsement

Ben Carson picked up his first congressional endorsement on Wednesday. The endorsement, from a military veteran and fellow physician, Rep. Andy Harris came as Dr. Carson continues his slide in the polls, moving to the bottom of the pack in a state for which he once led.

Although his endorsement from the Maryland congressman isn't expected to seriously move the needle at all, it does put Dr. Carson ahead of front-runner Donald Trump in the so called "endorsement primary." Political observers say looking at the endorsements of sitting representatives, senators and governors is a key indicator in predicting the candidate who will take the party's nomination.
According to, which tracks endorsements for the candidates, Marco Rubio leads the pack with the most endorsements of any remaining candidate. Rubio collects support from over two dozen representatives, seven senators and two governors— yesterday earning the support from the popular South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Jeb Bush is behind Rubio, also with over two dozen representatives, but only five senators, and no governors. Ted Cruz gets support from no senators or governors, but 21 representatives. Governor Kasich has just five representatives in his corner, but gets support from one senator and one sitting governor. And now Carson joins the field with support from Rep. Andy Harris.

Notably missing from the mix, the GOP front-runner Donald Trump who has not earned support from any sitting governor or congressional legislator.

-- Shaquille Brewster following the Carson campaign

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