WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (AOL and Reuters) - South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has been tapped to deliver the Republican Party's response to President Barack Obama's Jan. 12 State of the Union address to Congress, congressional leaders announced on Tuesday.
Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, is the first female and the first member of a minority group to serve as South Carolina's governor. She has been mentioned as a possible Republican vice presidential candidate this year.
The annual State of the Union address is an opportunity for the U.S. president to lay out his legislative priorities for the coming year.
See photos of Haley in action:
Then-incoming freshman Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa held the distinction of giving the response to the president's annual address last year.
Haley will be closely watched and will open herself up to criticism, as Ernst learned in 2015 as she took on a role that has been jokingly referred to as a "cursed" position in recent years after a string of emerging Republicans saw their political stock sink shortly after giving the address.
Both Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal were on the rise when they gave the official GOP response to Obama's speeches in 2009 and 2010, only to see their careers take a turn for the worse shortly thereafter. Marco Rubio is now a top contender for the Republican nomination for president, but he earned criticism after his speech in 2013 which included an awkwardly-timed water break.
Haley, a fierce gun rights advocate with a 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association, will likely counter any remarks the president makes about his recently unveiled proposal to expand gun control restrictions in America.
(Reporting from Reuters by Richard Cowan; Editing by David Alexander, additional reporting by AOL News)
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