DNC chief: Nikki Haley rebutting Obama because of GOP's 'diversity problem'

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The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Monday slammed the Republican Party's selection of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for its State of the Union response, calling it "appalling," according to a Post and Courier report.

"It's pretty clear that Nikki Haley is being chosen because the Republican Party has a diversity problem," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (R-Fla.) said on a conference call.

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Haley, who was born in South Carolina, is the daughter of immigrants from India. She will be delivering the GOP's official reponse to President Obama's final State of the Union Tuesday night.

“In a year when the country is crying out for a positive vision and alternative to the status quo, Governor Haley is the exact right choice to deliver the Republican Address to the Nation," Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanOvernight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal Overnight Defense: Benghazi report fallout | Nearly 50 dead after Istanbul attack Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) said in a statement last week.

In a statement to The Hill, the Republican National Committee pushed back against Wasserman Schultz's remarks.

“Like most things Debbie Wasserman Schultz says, that’s just ridiculous," said RNC spokesman Michael Short.

"No one disputes the fact Republicans have the most diverse presidential field in the history of either party, though the Democrats do have us beat when it comes to fielding self-described socialists and candidates under FBI investigation.”

The South Carolina governor is widely considered to be a potential vice presidential candidate this year, in part because of the plaudits she won after the shooting at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., last year. 

Haley broke with some in her party by calling for her state to stop displaying the Confederate Flag. The suspect in the Charleston shooting, Dylann Roof, was apparently motivated by racist beliefs.

The DNC chairwoman rebutted the praise for Haley, saying she has a "failed record" that "gives her no credibility whatsoever."

"In fact it exemplifies exactly why the last thing we need is a Republican to make the same mistakes at the national level,” Wasserman Schultz said. 

—This story was updated at 3:15 p.m.

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