Transcript of Nikki Haley’s Republican response to the 2016 State of the Union address. As prepared for delivery.
“I’m Nikki Haley, Governor of the great state of South Carolina.
“I’m speaking tonight from Columbia, our state’s capital city. Much like America as a whole, ours is a state with a rich and complicated history, one that proves the idea that each day can be better than the last.
“In just a minute, I’m going to talk about a vision of a brighter American future. But first I want to say a few words about President Obama, who just gave his final State of the Union address.
“Barack Obama’s election as president seven years ago broke historic barriers and inspired millions of Americans. As he did when he first ran for office, tonight President Obama spoke eloquently about grand things. He is at his best when he does that.
“Unfortunately, the President’s record has often fallen far short of his soaring words.
“As he enters his final year in office, many Americans are still feeling the squeeze of an economy too weak to raise income levels. We’re feeling a crushing national debt, a health care plan that has made insurance less affordable and doctors less available, and chaotic unrest in many of our cities.
“Even worse, we are facing the most dangerous terrorist threat our nation has seen since September 11th, and this president appears either unwilling or unable to deal with it.
“Soon, the Obama presidency will end, and America will have the chance to turn in a new direction. That direction is what I want to talk about tonight.
“At the outset, I’ll say this: you’ve paid attention to what has been happening in Washington, and you’re not naive.
“Neither am I. I see what you see. And many of your frustrations are my frustrations.
“A frustration with a government that has grown day after day, year after year, yet doesn’t serve us any better. A frustration with the same, endless conversations we hear over and over again. A frustration with promises made and never kept.
“We need to be honest with each other, and with ourselves: while Democrats in Washington bear much responsibility for the problems facing America today, they do not bear it alone. There is more than enough blame to go around.
“We as Republicans need to own that truth. We need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in America’s leadership. We need to accept that we’ve played a role in how and why our government is broken.
“And then we need to fix it.
“The foundation that has made America that last, best hope on earth hasn’t gone anywhere. It still exists. It is up to us to return to it.