South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will deliver the GOP's response to President Obama's State of the Union address next Tuesday, feeding speculation that the Indian-American Republican could be a possible vice presidential pick.
"Nikki Haley has led an economic turnaround and set a bold agenda for her state, getting things done and becoming one of the most popular governors in America," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. "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."
"Governor Haley knows the American Dream and wants to see every American share in it, and we're pleased that she will be delivering this year's Republican Address," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed in the joint statement.
The announcement was a shift in language for Republicans — calling it an "address" instead of the traditional "response" to the Democratic president:
Haley was in the national spotlight last summer after a gunman killed nine African-American parishioners at a Charleston church. In the aftermath, she backed a successful push to take down the Confederate battle flag from in front of the Statehouse.
Her leadership after the Charleston tragedy and in brokering an agreement over the long-controversial flag was hailed by many Republicans. The 43-year-old Haley, who is the country's youngest governor and the Palmetto State's first female chief executive, saw her national political stock rise — along with chatter she could be picked for the 2016 ticket.
But the plum position hasn't always been so kind to other politicians on either side of the aisle who have stepped in to rebut the president's speech.