Gov. Nikki Haley has been excitedly interviewing prospective presidential candidates as she looks for the suitor best-positioned to receive her prized endorsement. She even took a call from Trump.

The Donald has stepped out of the running, as have former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee and Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour. That makes her job easier. Also helpful: candidates with a knack for putting their foot in their mouth. Case in point is poor Newt Gingrich, who recently went off the reservation with his criticism of the House GOP budget.

The former House speaker was likely already off Haley’s shortlist, according to an AJC interview earlier this month:

Q: In an interview last February, you said this about Newt Gingrich: “There was a place and time for him.” What did you mean by that?

A: He’s a person that has had great ideas. And what he’s going to have to do is really plead to the people of South Carolina and see if those ideas are still relevant. See if he has new ideas that connect with people.

Ouch. Now that Gingrich is going after the House budget plan, his endorsement chances seem to have gone from “don’t count on it” to “no.”

“What he said was absolutely unfortunate,” Haley told CNN in a phone interview. “Here you’ve got Representative Ryan trying to bring common sense to this world of insanity, and Newt absolutely cut him off at the knees. … When you have a conservative fighting for real change, the last thing we need is a presidential candidate cutting him off at the knees.”

It’s important to note that Gingrich needs a good showing in South Carolina. This controversy is not going to help.

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