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Nikki Haley criticizes Donald Trump for increasing national debt, killing border security bill

Nikki Haley criticizes Donald Trump for increasing national debt, killing border security bill
Nikki Haley criticizes Donald Trump for increasing national debt, killing border security bill 02:58

DALLAS - Republican Presidential candidate Nikki Haley welcomed about 800 people Thursday night to her campaign rally at Gilley's Dallas near downtown. "Dallas, you know how to show up!"

Her visit to North Texas came one year to the day after she entered the crowded Republican primary.

She told the crowd, "We defeated a dozen of the fellas. I just got one more fella I got to catch up to." 

Before going out on stage, we spoke with Haley and asked her how she intends to convince Republicans to vote for her instead of former President Donald Trump who's far ahead in the Republican primary polls in Texas and other states. 

A Texas poll released Feb. 7 by Morning Consult showed Trump ahead of Haley, 84% to 15%. 

The former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations told CBS News Texas, "Here you have 70% of Americans who don't want to see a Trump-Biden rematch. A majority of Americans disapprove of Trump and a majority of Americans disapprove of Biden." 

She said she doesn't believe Trump can beat President Joe Biden in the fall, but that more polls show she can. 

One poll Feb. 7 by CNN showed Haley leading Biden by 13 percentage points. "That's a mandate to go in and really get our country back on track and that's what we're telling people." 

But Haley can't win the general election without winning the Republican nomination. 

She said, "Our goal is to try to be anywhere and everywhere and that's what we have tried to do. We started at 2% in Iowa, we got to 20%. They said we were down to 30 percentage points in New Hampshire, we got 43% of the vote. Now, we're closing the gap in South Carolina. We're going to go to Michigan, then we're going to go to Super Tuesday." 

The next Republican primary is February 24th in South Carolina, Haley's home state. 

Super Tuesday is March 5, when people in Texas and 16 states and territories vote. 

Early voting in Texas begins Tuesday, Feb. 20. 

Haley's campaign said it raised $16.5 million last month and $1.7 million in California earlier this month. 

Before her campaign rally, Haley was the headliner at a private fundraiser in Dallas. 

When asked how her policies differ from Trump's and why they would be better for Republicans than the former President's Haley said, "President Trump has surrounded himself with the political elite, but there are the same political elite that have spent like drunken sailors, they've raided social security, and they continue to waste taxpayer dollars. Everybody talks about the economy when Trump was President, he put us $8 trillion in debt in just four years, 25% of that was COVID." 

Haley said securing the southern border is a top priority.

She said she liked one part of the bipartisan Senate bill recently unveiled that died: it would have tightened asylum laws. 

But she criticized the legislation for not including a provision to have migrants remain in Mexico, a policy Trump implemented and for allowing too many migrants come to the border before border patrol could rapidly send them out of the United States. 

She said it's not too late for Congress to act. "What should have happened and what should still happen is Republicans and Democrats need to get in a room and not come out and fix this. They don't get to go home. This is a national security threat. They should fix it. The problem is you've got Trump telling Republicans don't pass anything until the general election. That's down right dangerous, we can't wait until the general election." 

Haley was repeatedly heckled by different pro-Palestinian protesters who security escorted out of the rally.

At one point she said, "That is exactly why you have to worry about Iran." 

After another person had to be walked out of the building, Haley said they got an "A" for spirit. 

From Dallas, Haley travels to San Antonio Friday before returning to South Carolina.

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