Haley moves to preempt Trump’s attacks on her

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MANCHESTER, N.H. — Nikki Haley is preparing for an onslaught of attacks from Donald Trump in New Hampshire as she tries to make the case that the primary is now a “two-person race.”

On Wednesday, her campaign released a new video — shared first with POLITICO — ticking through past moments in which Trump praised her. The two-minute compilation shows Trump thanking Haley for her work as governor of South Carolina and U.N. Ambassador during his administration.

“Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the United Nations, has been very special to me. She’s done an incredible job. She’s a fantastic person, very importantly — but she also is somebody that gets it.” Trump said in one of the clips after Haley’s resignation in 2018. “She’s been a very successful, as you know, governor of South Carolina for eight years. And then she did this, and this is possibly even more intense.”

The release of the video comes before Trump is set to appear at a rally tonight in Portsmouth, N.H. And it appears to be an effort to preempt, what the Haley camp anticipates will be, attacks from the former president. In recent rally speeches, Trump has claimed Haley was “not tough enough” for the job as U.N. ambassador and has said that “if Haley wins, Biden wins.”

“I worked with her for a long time. And she was okay. Not great,” Trump said at a rally in Atkinson, N.H. “She was not great. She's not tough enough to deal with these people.”

Haley communications director Nachama Soloveichik said in a statement that Trump was “only singing a different tune now because he’s threatened by Haley’s rise in the polls.”

Haley has performed better in New Hampshire polls than in other early states or nationally, but still remains behind Trump. A recent Boston Globe/Suffolk University/NBC-10 Boston poll showed the former president leading Haley by 16 points. Trump received 50 percent of support from likely New Hampshire Republican voters, while Haley trailed with 34 percent support.

Haley, who came in third in the Iowa Republican caucus, announced on Wednesday that she will not be participating in two previously scheduled debates in New Hampshire because only Gov. Ron DeSantis, and not Trump, would agree to appear.

Since arriving in New Hampshire overnight following Monday’s Iowa caucuses, Haley is holding one public campaign event per day, according to schedules announced by her team. Trump, meanwhile, is holding almost nightly rallies in the state. He does not have a rally scheduled for Thursday.