Haley called out by voter for not mentioning slavery when asked about the Civil War

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Berlin, New Hampshire CNN  — 

Nikki Haley was confronted on Wednesday by a voter in New Hampshire who called her out for not mentioning slavery in her response to his question about the cause of the Civil War.

Haley — who, as governor of South Carolina, ultimately called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds — told the crowd that the war was about government interfering in people’s freedoms.

“I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run. The freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do,” Haley said in a visit to Berlin — the first of five events in the Granite State as she attempts to close the gap with Republican front-runner Donald Trump ahead of next month’s primary.

The former UN ambassador then asked the voter what he thought the cause of the Civil War was, to which the voter responded, “I’m not running for president.”

“I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are,” Haley added. “I will always stand by the fact that I think government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms of the people. It was never meant to be all things to all people,” she added.

The voter criticized her for not mentioning slavery in her answer. “In the year 2023, it’s astonishing to me that you answer that question without mentioning the word slavery,” the voter said.

“What do you want me to say about slavery?” Haley asked.

“You answered my question,” he responded.

“Next question,” Haley said as attendees applauded.

Democrats and President Joe Biden’s campaign quickly seized on the moment on social media. Biden posted on X, “It was about slavery,” along with a video of the exchange shared by one of his campaign accounts.

As the former governor of South Carolina — the first state to secede during the Civil War — Haley has had a complicated public posture toward the confederacy. As CNN’s KFile has reported, she once defended states’ rights to secede from the United States, South Carolina’s Confederate History Month and the Confederate flag in a 2010 interview with a local activist group when she was running for governor.

The former UN ambassador also described the Civil War as two sides fighting for different values, one for “tradition” and one for “change.”

The 2015 shooting at a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, spurred Haley, as governor, to call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds where it had been since being removed from the state’s Capitol dome in 2000.

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Haley called out by voter for not mentioning slavery when asked about the Civil War

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