There are "no shortcuts" to running for president, especially if you are not running ahead in the polls at the start, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told Newsmax on Saturday from the "Roast and Ride" event in Des Moines, Iowa.
"You know, we're telling our supporters that this is a marathon, not a sprint – and this is not about who the media wants to be the two front runners," Haley told "Saturday Agenda." "This is about working and touching every hand, making sure we do tons of town halls.
"We answer every question. We stay until the last person's left. We've done over 25 events here in Iowa. We've done almost 30 events in New Hampshire. There are no shortcuts."
Potentially throwing some shade at current polling leader, and her former boss, former President Donald Trump, Haley told host Kilmeny Duchardt she has to run her campaign from the ground up in Iowa, the first in the nation caucus state.
"You can't come here, do a rally and leave," Haley said. "You've got to go and earn the support of every single person and that's what we're going to do."
Haley made her pitch to Iowa caucus voters, hailing her success in South Carolina, coupled with foreign policy chops forged on the floor and in the meeting rooms of the United Nations.
"Look, I'm the only one that's been a two-term governor, that's taken double-digit unemployment state turned it into an economic powerhouse," Haley continued. "I was at the U.N. I didn't deal with one country. I dealt with 193.
"And right now we need experience on the domestic policy executive side, as well as the foreign policy side, and we've got a country to save and I don't trust anybody else to do it.
"So we're going to make sure we do all the hard work. We're going to put in the time, put in the effort and we're going to finish at the end of the day."
Meanwhile, Trump skipped the "Roast and Ride" run by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, which all the other top presidential candidates attended Saturday.
"President Trump's going to do what President Trump does," Haley said. "I think it's a mistake that he's not here touching hands with Iowans, but that's his choice."
Similarly, Trump has teased he will not attend the earliest of the Republican Party debates, not giving the challengers a chance to target the polling leader.
"When it comes to the debates, I think it's a great opportunity for everybody to see exactly who they have to choose from, and put our experience up there," Haley said. "I'll put my record up against anyone on that stage.
"I hope he's in it, but if he chooses not to be, we'll go on without him."
Some GOP also-rans might be blocked from even given an invitation by the Republican National Committee's rules, but Haley would not be one of those unlucky ones.
"They've set their criteria at 1% in the polls and 40,000 donors: We've already had that," she said. "In the first six weeks, we had 70,000 donations from all 50 states, 67,000 of those donations were for $200 or less.
"You know, to me, we're going to be on that stage. We're going to go and fight for the American people's support and we'll see what happens. It really doesn't matter to me."
Haley vowed to never opt out of a debate.
"There's never been a debate stage that I'm afraid of, and there's not one that I'm looking, you know, not wanting to do," she concluded. "We will be on every debate stage that we need to, and I think it's a great opportunity for the candidates staff to have show what they're really made of."
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Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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