MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. -- South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley says she isn't any closer to endorsing a candidate in the GOP presidential primary contest, but indicated on Friday that she's looking for a "true executive" who can revive the nation's struggling economy.
Addressing hundreds of GOP activists and officials here at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, Haley called next year's contest "the most important presidential election we've had in a long time," and urged attendees to support a candidate who puts substance ahead of style.
"We're not going to vote for personality -- we saw where that got us last time," Haley said. "We need a true executive to get us back on track."
Haley elaborated on that theme after her speech, telling Hotline On Call that she's looking for a candidate with proven business background. "An executive -- that means business people," Haley said.
"What I'm looking for is someone who understands the debt, someone who understands that we need to be energy independent, someone who will... get people back to work."
Haley, a rising star in the Republican Party who governs a key primary state, has emerged as one of the most highly sought-after endorsements in the GOP primary contest. But despite the whirling speculation regarding who she'll throw her support behind, Haley insisted that for now she's just an interested observer.
"I'll weigh in when i need to," Haley said, dismissing the significance of her endorsement. "I'm having fun, I'm watching the debates, I'm having a great time -- there's no pressure right now. I just think it's too early."
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