Candidate Profile: Carly Fiorina
She sings about her dog. She draws comparisons to Margaret Thatcher. She rocks business professional in ways Kingsians can only dream of. After catapulting from the also-ran list to 2nd place in the polls, Carly Fiorina is the the Republican Party’s new Big Man Woman on Campus. With the jump in numbers, inevitably, has come a jump in controversy; some claim the former HP CEO is just another GOP establishment candidate, while others assert she’s not a conservative at all. Fiorina has no voting record, having never held office, but below is a profile of who she is and a summary of her positions. Who is Carly Fiorina?
Carly Fiorina is a former business executive and political advisor. Hailing from Austin, TX, Fiorina holds a B.A. from Stanford University in philosophy and medieval history, an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in management from MIT. After working at AT&T and Lucent Technologies, Fiorina was named CEO of Hewlett-Packard, where she doubled the company’s revenue but also came under fire for laying off 30,000 employees (after which she was subsequently forced to resign). Prior to seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Fiorina served as a political advisor to John McCain in the 2008 presidential election and mounted an unsuccessful campaign for US senate in California in 2010. Currently, Fiorina resides in Virginia with her husband, AT&T executive Frank, and his children.
Fun fact: Fiorina once dreamt of being a classical pianist before settling on business.
What's the theme of this candidate's campaign?
New possibilities. Real leadership.
The Iran Deal?
Like her GOP rivals, Fiorina opposes the Obama administration’s recent deal with Iran, but told voters at Iowa State Fair that there’s little to be done until President Obama leaves office. Instead, she promised the crowd a “new deal” under a Fiorina presidency, one that sends Iran and its Supreme Leader a clear message: “Until you open every military and every nuclear facility to real anytime, anywhere inspections, the United States of America, without anyone’s permission or collaboration, will make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system.”
Fiorina criticizes the Obama administration for “sitting by” as Islamic jihadists shed blood across the Middle East. In lieu of putting boots on the ground, as some advocate, Fiorina asserted to George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that a smart strategy against ISIS includes supporting our allies overseas (in the interview linked above, she mentions the Jordanians, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Kurds and Egyptians), especially King Abdullah of Jordan, “a man I've known a long time,” by providing him “ with the bombs and the material that he's been requesting for a year and a half, instead of forcing him to go to China.”
"Anyone who's spent any time with him could figure out that the 'reset button' isn't going to work," Fiorina said of Russian president Vladimir Putin to Fox News’ Sean Hannity. In the same interview, she laid out a four-tiered proposal to curb Russia’s aggression by rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, rebuilding the missile defense program, conducting military exercises in the Baltic states, and arming the Ukrainians resisting Russian-backed rebels and weaponry. When late night TV host Jimmy Fallon asked Fiorina about the possibility of rival Donald Trump meeting Putin at an upcoming United Nations summit in New York, Fiorina remarked that the two “have a lot in common.”
During her 2010 campaign, Fiorina swore on her official website to “consistently protect and uphold [Israel’s] right to self-defense.” Similar statements have been expressed during the 2016 cycle; at the first presidential debate in August, Fiorina conveyed that her first phone call as president would be to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, “to assure him we will stand with the state of Israel.”
Choosing a more moderate immigration stance than other candidates, Fiorina came out in support of the controversial DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as minors. International Business Times, however, points out that Fiorina specifically said she would not support a pathway to citizenship as president. Also more in line with conservative ideology is her push for securing the border and mandating e-verify for employers nationwide.
A Republican candidate opposing the Affordable Care Act is not exactly breaking news, but Fiorina attacks it from a unique angle. At the Western Conservative Summit in June, Fiorina said that Obamacare must be repealed, “Not just because it’s failing by every measure” but because itt “is so many thousands of pages, literally tens of thousands of pages, that what do you see happening right now? Insurance companies consolidating...Hospitals consolidating. Drug companies consolidating. The big are getting bigger to handle big government.” The result? “The wealthy are getting wealthier” while “the start-ups are getting crushed.” This all fuels “crony capitalism,” something Fiorina continually speaks out against.
Fiorina used Tax Day to voice her views on the federal tax system, writing on her Facebook that the tax systems’ “complexity and lack of transparency only benefits the powerful and connected while crushing small businesses and innovation. The result is crony capitalism–because only big businesses can handle big government.” Last week, Fiorina told Fox News that she would simplify the tax code, although she didn’t specify how many of the 73,000 pages would be cut.
A firm proponent of school choice, Fiorina chastised Common Core for limiting parents’ options. “When a Washington bureaucracy gets involved in a program, it becomes heavy-handed and standardized. It's how Washington bureaucracy works,” she said on Fox News last May. Fiorina compared Common Core’s national standards to China’s education system that standardizes behavior. “It’s part of their oppression,” she said.
Fiorina earned praise for her comments on abortion during last week’s debate. “I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes,” she said, referring to the Center. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.” Echoing this statement is her support for overturning Roe v. Wade and for an act that bans abortions 20 weeks after fertilizations with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision to rule in favor of gay marriage, Fiorina urged the GOP to “focus on preserving and protecting religious liberty,” adding later that “we should never discriminate” and that “same-sex couples should have all the same rights from government or from companies that heterosexual couples have.” For Fiorina, however, anti-discrimination policies ought to come from companies themselves and should not be mandated by the government, a position solidified through her defense of Indiana’s contentious religious freedom act.
Fiorina doesn’t dispute that global warming exists, but she believes the United States ought to address the problem through innovation, not regulation. “The only answer to this is innovation, and in that America could be the best in the world,” Fiorina said at an April breakfast hosted by Christian Science Monitor. That innovation comes, according to a more recent interview with NBC before last week’s debate, by allowing energy industries themselves to take the lead on cutting carbon emissions.
Is she a controversial figure? Why?
Perhaps the biggest hurdle in Carly Fiorina’s path to the White House is her disastrous end at HP. Understandably, many question whether an executive who laid off such immense numbers of people (most because of a controversial merger Fiorina signed despite opposition from the board) and escaped with $21 million is fit to be president. Of course, similar events have not stopped one of Fiorina’s unnamed rivals from gaining yuge masses of supporters. All joking aside, one HP board member who voted to fire Fiorina confessed in The New York Times in August that he regrets firing her. “Carly did what she was brought in to do: turn the company around and make it successful again. Not only did she save the company from the dire straits it was in, she laid the foundation for HP's future growth,” Tom Perkins wrote. “Critics often claim Carly was fired at HP because she was unsuccessful. As a member of the board, I can tell you this is not true. In truth, it was the Board I was a part of that was ineffective and dysfunctional.”
What's one humorous or summarizing quote from this presidential hopeful?
“I think what this nation can be and must be is symbolized by Lady Liberty and Lady Justice. Lady Liberty stands tall and strong. She is clear-eyed and resolute. She doesn't shield her eyes from the realities of the world, but she faces outward into the world nevertheless, as we always must...Lady Justice holds a sword by her side, because she is a fighter, a warrior for the values and the principles that have made this nation great. She holds a scale in her other hand. … And so all of us must be equal in the eyes of the law and the government, powerful and powerless alike. And she wears a blindfold ... saying to us that it must be true ... that in this country, in this century, it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what you look like, it doesn't matter how you start, it doesn't matter your circumstances, here in this nation, every American's life must be filled with the possibilities that come from their God-given gifts.” (Closing statement at the Sept. 16 GOP presidential debate)
Photo Source: The Federalist