Q+A with Republican presidential candidate Carly FiorinaCarly Fiorina
(The Hawk Eye) – The Hawk Eye talked with Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina before her appearance in Burlington about her business experience, religious liberty and defense spending.Hewlett-Packard is a multi-billion dollar company with immense lobbying power that benefits from corporate tax breaks and loopholes in the tax code. How difficult is it to transition from someone who benefited from corporate culture in the U.S. to a presidential candidate who has pledged to fight for the middle class and restore economic opportunities for average Americans?
I started out as a secretary in a nine-person real estate firm, and my husband, Frank, started out as a tow truck driver for a family owned auto body shop.
You’re absolutely right, as the chief executive of an almost $90 billion company, I could make all the complexity of government work for the company.
A 73,000-page tax code advantages the big, but the nine-person real estate firm and the family owned auto body shop can’t handle it. That’s why we’re crushing them, we’re destroying more of them than we’re creating now.
So, the reason I can be a champion is because I’ve seen it, both sides of it and I understand more government creates more crony capitalism, not less.
You and Donald Trump are the last two remaining businesspeople in the presidential race. Some of Trump’s critics say his business experience would not translate to the presidency. Why are you different? Why would your business experience translate to the presidency?
His business experience is totally different than mine. He inherited hundreds of millions of dollars and real estate holdings and he’s been relatively successful in real estate, but mostly he’s been successful as an entertainer.
I started out as a secretary and came up from the bottom through the production of results and led in the most competitive industry in the world, which is technology.
So, I understand the economy. I understand technology. I understand how to cut bureaucracies down to size, which is important because that’s what the government has become and I have more foreign policy and world experience than anyone running, virtually.
I’ve done business all over the world for 30 years. I’ve held the highest clearances available to a citizen.
I’ve chaired the advisory board at the CIA, advised the NSA, two secretaries of defense, a secretary of state, a secretary of homeland security and I know more world leaders than anyone running, with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton.
But she did photo ops, and I did private meetings far away from cameras. Donald Trump’s experience and mine are completely different.
At your meeting in Mount Pleasant you talked about religious liberty and your faith. Do you agree with some of your potential voters that prayer should be required in public schools?
I think prayer is a good thing, not a bad thing. I think prayer is a time for people to be still and to contemplate something bigger than themselves. I think we need more prayer in public life, not less. If a child doesn’t want to pray they don’t have to pray, but I think there’s nothing wrong with moments of quiet humility.
Defense spending comprises about 20 percent of the federal budget, yet yourself and most Republican candidates are adamant that we need to be doing more militarily. How would you balance our nation’s mounting debt against rising defense costs?
It’s why, as part of my blueprint, I’ve said we need to go to zero-based budgeting. Zero-based budgeting is a fancy word for how everyone budgets outside of the federal government. It means every dollar has to be examined, any dollar can be moved, any dollar can be cut.
That’s the only way we can both spend less overall, which we have to, and invest in our priorities. And strengthening our military is definitely one of our priorities.
With the Iowa caucuses quickly approaching, how do you intend to close the gap between yourself and the higher polling candidates?
I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, talking to voters. That’s how it gets done here in Iowa. Polls don’t win elections. Voters do.
And if the polls were predictive at this stage in the race, we would have had Howard Dean as president, Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton as president already.