South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced Friday that she was backing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

"Today is the day that I'm throwing all of my support behind Mitt Romney for president," the tea party favorite governor declared in an interview on Fox News.

Haley's endorsement comes at a crucial time for Romney because former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is leading him in South Carolina polls 38 percent to 21 percent.

"I don't think public perception is off," Haley admitted. "What I know is we can nitpick issue all day -- and I think that is what we've seen through the debates. What it comes down to is how do we get every person a job? How do we make sure our economy gets back on track, and the only way we're going to do that is to go with someone that's done it."

"And what lets me know that on top of that and the bonus of all that this is right is that Gov. Romney is the one candidate that President Obama consistently tries to hit and get out of the way. That let's me know he's scared of him," she added.

During his 2008 campaign for president, Haley co-chaired the South Carolina Women for Mitt Team.

Watch this video from Fox News's Fox & Friends, broadcast Dec. 16, 2011.