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Nikki Haley vows to be stronger in New Hampshire after third place finish in Iowa Republican caucuses

Haley looking to New Hampshire after Iowa
Nikki Haley pledged that she is "just getting started" after placing third in Iowa caucuses 07:50

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley pledged Tuesday that her campaign will be "even stronger in New Hampshire" as she focuses her attention on the first-in-the-nation primary after placing third in the Iowa caucuses.

In an interview with "CBS Mornings" the morning after the caucuses, which kicked off the GOP's presidential nominating process, Haley said that she has spent her months of campaigning in New Hampshire telling voters there the "hard truth."

"We've been here for 11 months now campaigning, doing it the New Hampshire way, making sure that we answer every question, touch every hand, and be the last person to leave," she told "CBS Mornings." "We're going to book it this entire week to continue doing what we've done for 11 months, and it's paid off. We're a stone's throw away from Trump, and it's why I think we're going to be even stronger in New Hampshire."

Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and her Republican rivals are descending on New Hampshire ahead of the state's Jan. 23 Republican presidential primary, the first of the primary nominating contests. A CBS News poll from December found Haley has emerged as the top alternative to former President Donald Trump in New Hampshire, with 29% of likely GOP primary voters there backing Haley to Trump's 44%.

Trump, though, continues to hold a commanding lead over his Republican opponents and won the Iowa caucuses on Monday night with 51% of the vote, becoming the first GOP candidate ever to top 50%  in the state. Forty delegates out of more than 2,400 nationwide were at stake in the caucuses, and Trump secured 20 with his victory.

Haley placed third in the Iowa caucuses, closely trailing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

"It's a marathon. It's not a sprint and we're taking it one step at a time," Haley told "CBS Mornings." "Iowa was very good to us, but we are super excited to be here in New Hampshire and go ahead and make this even stronger."

Haley said the primary contests in New Hampshire and South Carolina, set for Feb. 24, are "two-person" races, and characterized herself as a "new generational leader."

"I don't think he needs to be the next president. I'm going to be the next president," she said of Trump. "We want to move forward so that he's no longer a part of the conversation, that we leave the chaos of the past and we move forward with the solutions of the future."

Asked whether she believes Trump is fit to be president, Haley deflected but said "chaos follows him."

"We can't have a country in disarray and have a world on fire and go through four more years of chaos," she said. "And so look, there's no more, better way to say someone should not be president than to run against them. So I am running against him because I think we need a new generational leader. "

Haley went on to criticize both Trump and President Biden for their ages, saying that many Americans do not want either of them at the top of the ticket. Instead, they want a leader with "new solutions, no vendettas, no vengeance, no drama, just someone that's going to go in there and fight for them and give them results," she said.

She also announced on social media that she would not participate in any future debates unless it is against Trump or Mr. Biden.

"We've had five great debates in this campaign. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has ducked all of them. He has nowhere left to hide. The next debate I do will either be with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden. I look forward to it," Haley posted on X, the website formerly known as Twitter.

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