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Nikki Haley Slams NBC's Gregory: 'Media Thinks Women Only Care About Contraception'

Appearing on NBC's Sunday web-based feature Press Pass, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley tore apart the media obsession with the contraception debate: "The media thinks that women only care about contraception, that's not true. They care about contraception, and education, and health care, and jobs, and the economy."

Haley leveled the criticism after Meet the Press host David Gregory grilled her on the "gender gap" in Republican support being an obstacle to Mitt Romney defeating President Obama in November. Haley took Gregory to task for the question: "I find it comical that the news media wants to continue to talk about a gender gap, and so I'll challenge you to ask a man about the gender gap as well."

Appearing on ABC's The View on April 3, Haley made similar charges against the media as left-wing co-host Joy Behar pushed the contraception issue:

Women don't care about contraception. They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those things....that’s not the only thing they care about. The media wants to talk about contraception....while we care about contraception, let's be clear, all we're saying is we don't want government to mandate when we have to have it and when we don't. We want to be able  make that decision. We don't need government making that decision for us.

After his initial premise was shot down, Gregory decided to promote another supposed problem for the GOP: "Do you think that Governor Romney faces head winds now against an incumbent who is polling better, who's getting up above 50% in his approval, which is an important measure for an incumbent president, and with – with more optimism about the improvement of the economy. Does that make it tougher for Governor Romney?"

The Real Clear Politics average of polls has Obama's approval rating at 48.3%, with only one poll in the last month showing the President above the 50% mark. In addition, Gregory taped the conversation with Haley prior to the disappointing jobs numbers that came out on Friday.  

Haley countered Gregory's assertions: "You know, I think that President Obama is doing what he has to do. Which is create what he can do to kind of distract and say what he needs to." Gregory feigned ignorance: "What's the distraction he's creating?"

Haley replied: "I saw a speech and it was, you know, here came a candidate about hope and change, and what I saw was a president showing doom and gloom, 'And if we go this way, you know, the country will be in trouble,' and all of that."

Gregory fretted: "You called him a bully, even."

Haley stood by her description of the President:

Absolutely, the way he treated the Supreme Court was unbelievable. You know, the way he treated South Carolina and Boeing with the National Labor Relations Board. I mean there was no other word that can come to mind but that. You know, when you tell a great American company they can't create jobs, I don't know what you say. When you tell a third part of the – of, you know, our branches, we've got three branches, you're telling one of them what to do, you can't do that.

Here is a transcript of the exchange aired on April 8:

(...)

DAVID GREGORY: What about women? What about all this talk about the gender gap? If you had an opportunity to sit down – and maybe you have, maybe you will – with Governor Romney and say, "Hey, Governor, this is – these are some of things you can do, I think, to close that gender gap." What would those things be?

NIKKI HALEY: Well, first, I have to tell you, I find it comical that the news media wants to continue to talk about a gender gap, and so I'll challenge you to ask a man about the gender gap as well. But the second thing is, look, Governor Romney's got to do some work, just like President Obama does. When you're a candidate, you don't go to the people that support you, you go to the people you  need to get. And so, what I would say to Governor Romney is he needs to reach out to the women, he needs to talk to them about the issues they care about. The media thinks that women only care about contraception, that's not true. They care about contraception, and education, and health care, and jobs, and the economy. They're very thoughtful and very smart in their process. He needs to get in front of them and do that.

GREGORY: Do you think that Governor Romney faces head winds now against an incumbent who is polling better, who's getting up above 50% in his approval, which is an important measure for an incumbent president, and with – with more optimism about the improvement of the economy. Does that make it tougher for Governor Romney?

HALEY: You know, I think that President Obama is doing what he has to do. Which is create what he can do to kind of distract and say what he needs to. I think what Governor Romney needs to do-

GREGORY: What's the distraction he's creating?

HALEY: You know, I mean, it's like I saw a speech and it was, you know, here came a candidate about hope and change, and what I saw was a president showing doom and gloom, "And if we go this way, you know, the country will be in trouble," and all of that.

GREGORY: You called him a bully, even.

HALEY: Absolutely, the way he treated the Supreme Court was unbelievable. You know, the way he treated South Carolina and Boeing with the National Labor Relations Board. I mean there was no other word that can come to mind but that. You know, when you tell a great American company they can't create jobs, I don't know what you say. When you tell a third part of the – of, you know, our branches, we've got three branches, you're telling one of them what to do, you can't do that. And so, I think that, you know, he's going to do what he needs to do.

What Governor Romney needs to do is totally stay focused on his [Obama's] record. This is a man who lost our credit rating. This is a man who's incurred more debt in his three years than President Bush did in eight. This is a man who we can go and say that he said that the unemployment wouldn't get above 8% if we took the stimulus and it didn't happen. This is a man where we haven't seen a balanced budget. So, you know, he's got to deal with his own record, I think the only thing he can do is talk about something else. I think the smart thing for Governor Romney to do is talk about his record.

(...)

-- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.