Know Your 2016 Presidential Candidate: Carly Fiorina

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Mon, May 18 - 1:33 pm EDT | 3 years ago by
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Carly Fiorina
Source: Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Carly Fiorina joins the Republican field not only as the first female candidate for the GOP, but also the first from the business world. She was an executive at AT&T and then its spin-off Lucent, before becoming CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She is also a cancer survivor, having undergone a double mastectomy and chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.

Fiorina worked for Senator John McCain’s Presidential campaign in the lead up to the 2008 election, and was speculated as a potential vice presidential pick before Sarah Palin was ultimately chosen. She also served on the Defense Business Board, which advises on Pentagon operational issues, and for two years led the CIA’s External Advisory Board.

In 2010 she ran for the U.S. Senate in California. After winning the Republican primary, she lost to incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. In 2013 she was appointed Chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation, and was a Co-Chair of their signature conservative conference, CPAC, in 2014.

Fiorina argues that she can best take on Hillary in 2016 compared to a hypothetical male candidate: “No matter what that man says, she will play the gender card or the war on women card. She won’t be able to do that with me.”

On Foreign Policy and Security

Fiorina is critical of the Obama administration’s ongoing talks with Iran, and says the U.S. should support Israel by calling them off. She warns, “Iran has had a long term plan to gain a nuclear weapon and destabilize the region through its support of terrorist organizations for a long time,” andwants inspections and verification before sanctions are lifted.

In response to Obama’s dismissiveness of Scott Walker’s own critique of the Iran deal, Fiorina said, “[T]his is what President Obama always does. If you disagree with him, you must be either stupid or venal or you have bad motivation, because clearly if you were an intelligent person who is motivated by good character and care for the nation, you would agree with President Obama. He does this all the time. Scott Walker just happened to be in his crosshairs this time. But he dismisses anyone who disagrees with him. That is his tactic.”

She has also accused the Obama administration of playing down the threat of Islamic extremism, and responding meekly to ISIS. She contrasted the administration’s response to Benghazi with the Jordanian response of executing two terrorists after ISIS burned alive one of their pilots: “What do we do when our embassy in Libya is attacked deliberately by terrorists who murder four Americans, two of whom we know at least died in flames? What do we do? We blame a video, we blame a demonstration gone bad, and one year later, we’ve arrested one guy. That’s the legacy of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

But she has also spoken in the past very positively about Islam in general, noting it “was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world,” and that, “we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.”

On Healthcare

She would repeal Obamacare, of which she said, “The number of uninsured isn’t coming down fast enough… they keep talking about premiums. What they don’t talk about is everyone’s deductibles have gone up. What they don’t talk about is not enough people are getting insured… This law is longer than a Harry Potter novel. It’s been accompanied of tens of thousands of paper regulation.”

Instead, she said, we should “go to the one force that we know reliably improves quality and lowers costs and it’s called competition. The health insurance market has never been competitive. [Obamacare] was crony capitalism, the way this bill was written between the health insurance companies trying to protect their franchises and big government.”

On Criminal Justice

Fiorina wants to change the nation’s approach to drug addiction, and says the issue hit close to home because one of her two stepdaughters, whom she raised from a young age, died at age 34 because of drug and alcohol addiction. She argues that, “Drug addiction shouldn’t be criminalized. We need to treat it appropriately.”

She has also indicated that she would not enforce federal drug bans on states that have pursued marijuana legalization. “I believe in states’ rights,” she said in a meeting with The Des Moines Register editorial board. “They’re within their rights to legalize marijuana, and they’re conducting an experiment I hope the rest of the nation is looking closely at.” However, she supports only decriminalization herself, not legalization.

Commenting on recent unrest in Baltimore, she said, “any situation in which police are engaged in violence, police must be held accountable,” though also cautioned, “there’s no excuse for the violence that raged in Baltimore.”

More broadly, she has called for the U.S. to “very seriously look at the facts around criminal justice reform.”One specific recommendation she has made is for widespread adoption of police cameras, arguing, “We need to know what’s going on at all times between policemen and those who are suspects, for everyone’s protection.”

Carly Fiorina - Election 2016
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

On Education

Fiorina wants less federal and more local control of education, but does not support elimination of the Department of Education. Her senate campaign argued, “The principles of competition, choice and transparency play an important role in ensuring that our students have access to the world-class education they deserve.” Her campaign also praised the President’s Race to the Top program as providing “some critically important accountability measures that Carly believe will help improve our education system.”

On Budget and Taxes

Fiorina said on Facebook the current tax code is “in desperate need of reform,” arguing that, “complexity and lack of transparency only benefits the powerful and connected while crushing small businesses and innovation.” During her Senate campaign she called for eliminating capital gains and death taxes, and to lower marginal tax rates.

She is highly critical of government spending practices, charging that, “every government agency spends every dime they are entitled to, whether they need to or not.” She added, “As anyone who has done business with the federal government knows, in the last six weeks of every year, every government agency spends every dime. They do that because they want to make sure the appropriations process is focused on the rate of increase for the following year – not what they actually need or whether they actually need to spend it.” She argues zero-based budgeting would solve this problem.

On Marriage

As a private citizen Fiorina voted for California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative approved in 2008 that prohibited recognition of same-sex marriages and that was later overturned in federal court. Fiorina has said that marriage is between a man and woman, but would not back a constitutional amendment to define it as such, and also believes that same-sex couples should receive the same benefit considerations through civil unions as married couples.

On Abortion

At a Susan B. Anthony List gala, Fiorina made the case for abortion as a conservative issues in 2016. “You can win with Democrats and moderates as a pro-life candidate,” she said. And after suggesting that, “it’s so important that we engage in persuasive conversations, conducted in an empathetic and reasonable tone,” she reassured the audience, “We are winning on [abortion] and so we have to keep going.”

She wants Roe v. Wade overturned and supports the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.

On Globalization and Immigration

While still at HP, Fiorina said of globalization that, “There is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore.” Rather, Americans must compete and win against the rest of the world. Moreover, “spending our time building walls around America will do nothing to help us compete for the millions of new jobs being created.”

In recent interviews she has emphasized that border security should be tightened before a broader reform of immigration is undertaken. During her Senate campaign she supported the DREAM Act, which would allow those who entered the U.S. before age 16 to achieve permanent residency through military service or attending an institution of higher learning. She has also said that deporting illegals is not practical, and that those who obey the law should be allowed to stay and earn legal status but not citizenship.

On Energy and the Environment

Fiorina believes global warming is real and caused in part by human activity, but argues against regulation on the basis it won’t make a difference and would harm the economy. She previously supported a cap-and-trade system, but spoke out in opposition during her Senate campaign. In 2014 she authored an op-ed counseling businesses not to cave to demands by global warming activists.

Fiorina has criticized environmentalists and blamed the Left for California’s water troubles, calling it “a man-made disaster.” She also said, “California is a classic case of liberals being willing to sacrifice other people’s lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology. It’s a tragedy.” Specifically, she alleged, “despite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia, liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled.”

On Gun Rights

Fiorina says gun access is an important right and opposed the 1994 “assault weapon” ban. She criticized the law as “extremely arbitrary about what qualifies as an assault weapon.” She is rated as AQ by the NRA, which is equivalent to an A but is based only on their questionnaire rather than a voting record.

On Net Neutrality

Fiorina is highly critical of the FCC’s recent extension of Title II regulations to the internet. In a CNN op-ed, she argued that is demonstrates, “crony capitalism is alive and well,” and warns that,

“Title II regulation gives the Federal Communications Commission nearly unlimited authority to micromanage how, when and where Internet companies innovate. “

She also argues that, “Only big companies can deal with vast, sweeping regulation like the 313 pages imposed by the FCC.”

Read more about Election 2016.

This report is for informational purposes only. Nothing within should be construed as endorsement by the author of either the candidate or his positions on the issues.


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