Dick Harpootlian, chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party, said: "This is a preening politician's publicity stunt and is typical with Nikki Haley. This is petty and foolish and is about Haley trying to get a job in D.C."

Harpootlian said he thinks the governor is putting politics before the people of South Carolina.

"She's using the misery of the people of South Carolina as a springboard to get to Romney," he said.

Health care economist consultant Lynn Bailey of local firm Lynn Bailey Associates said she, too, anticipated Haley's reaction.

"Are we surprised that our governor would throw the poorest of the poor under the bus?" she asked. "Not at all."

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