GOP presidential contender Nikki Haley flubbed an answer about the Civil War and is looking to break the bad news cycle. But voters suggest the gaffe hasn’t swayed their vote.
At a campaign stop in New Hampshire Wednesday, Haley was asked by an attendee, “What was the cause of the United States Civil War?”
Haley said the Civil War was about government control, “freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.”
Haley drew sharp criticism for leaving slavery out of her answer and sought to clean up her response Thursday, saying she believes slavery sparked the war, but the “bigger issue” was determining the role of government in people’s lives.
Media pundits, her fellow GOP contenders and Democratic foes all piled on Haley for the misstep, but reports reveal voters were less bothered.
“Everybody knows [the Civil War] was about slavery, and what else can you say about it?,” Alison Bolt, a self-described moderate Republican from Littleton, New Hampshire, told Politico. “Frankly, I’m sick to death of hearing about these issues. I’m sick to death of hearing about, you know, racist kinds of things and transgender things. I want to get back to things that are going to help or destroy this country.”
Robin Smith, another Republican voter, told the outlet she believed the question was from an opposition plant.
“That was a pile of bulls—. OK, there was somebody planted in that audience, in my opinion,” she said. “It had to be somebody that wanted to try to make her look bad.”
The Wall Street Journal spoke to voters in Iowa, which will hold its primary caucus next month. Several undecided Iowans who attended a Gov. Ron DeSantis event Thursday evening said they “either hadn’t heard about Haley’s comments about the Civil War or weren’t bothered by them.”
“If your living is to talk all day, every day, something goofy is bound to come out,” Iowa Republican Frank Wilson, a retired computer engineer and undecided voter from Cedar Rapids, told the outlet.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of the Granite State said Haley’s cleanup was “spot on.”
“Spot on. That’s it. The Civil War is about slavery,” he told reporters. “She acknowledged it. Moving on.”
Fox News Digital’s Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.
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