CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - During a campaign stop backing GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, Arizona Sen. John McCain said Thursday that his candidate will win South Carolina. Romney's campaign event also drew the presence of members of Occupy Charleston.
"Romney's not taking anything for granted," McCain said. "He's running from behind, so he will be down here working hard. I think he will win South Carolina." "Mitt Romney has the experience. I believe in tough economic times, he has the vision to get us back on track."
Police officers were seen escorting members of the Occupy Charleston group away from Charles Towne Landing in West Ashley before Romney spoke. Officers didn't say why exactly they decided to remove the protesters.
Romney told the crowd that President Obama needs to be removed from the White House.
"The president doesn't understand," Romney said. "He's making the economy weaker."
Romney also started running a campaign ad accusing Obama of packing the National Labor Relations Board with what he calls "Union Stooges" who wanted to stop Boeing from moving jobs to South Carolina.
Most of the other Republican candidates are taking the same stance as the First in the South Primary approaches.
"I reviewed campaign videos from Obama. I don't think he is a bad guy. He is just way over his head," Romney told the crowd. "Obama wants to make green jobs. What he wants to do is make jobs for people who give him the green."
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was also on hand. She endorsed Romney back in December, calling him a candidate of courage and someone who knows what it's like to lead and make a decision. Haley also backed Romney in 2008.
"Romney will make sure we remain a right to work state. He will repeal Obama health care," Haley said on Thursday.
McCain ran against Romney in 2008 and beat him for the Republican presidential nominee. Now, McCain says Romney is the right man for the job.
"I am really here for one reason and one reason only, and that is to make sure we make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America," McCain said Wednesday.
Haley, Romney and McCain will also be in Conway at the Peanut Warehouse on Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The South Carolina primary is quickly approaching. On Jan. 21, voters in SC will be the first in the South to pick a republican nominee for president.
The Palmetto State has a pretty good track record of choosing winners. For three decades now, every republican who has won South Carolina's primary, has gone on to win the nomination.
Along with fiscal conservatives, there is a large number of active and retired military personnel living in South Carolina and a win here is key to winning the South.
"If you can appeal to the conservatives in South Carolina, if you can win in the heat and occasional dirty politicking of South Carolina, then you're the type of candidate who has the mettle to move on. It does often provide a firewall," said Scott Huffmon at Winthrop University.
Two key issues in South Carolina are jobs and the economy. Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire where the unemployment rate is below the national average, South Carolina's unemployment rate is 9.9 percent.