Carly Fiorina officially joins GOP presidential fray

Campaign 2016
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 5/04/15, 10:20 am

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination today through social media outlets and an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America.

“I think I'm the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works. I understand the world; who’s in it,” Fiorina said. She plans to host a town hall meeting this afternoon, and her new book, Rising to the Challenge, is scheduled for release tomorrow.

Fiorina gained notoriety in 1999 when Hewlett Packard (HP) made her the first female CEO of a Fortune 20 company. Prior to that, she led Lucent, a division of AT&T. Fiorina steered HP through its merger with Compaq, making it the world’s largest personal computer producer for a time. After repeated clashes with the company’s board, she was forced to resign in 2005.

Though some analysts have defended Fiorina’s tenure at HP, it is more often characterized as a total flop. But what made Fiorina butt heads with the HP board could be an asset to her campaign. Fiorina sought out the limelight as CEO, making speeches before Congress and advising California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. After Fiorina resigned, an HP board member said the board wanted a more hands-on leader. By then, Fiorina had established herself as a political fixture, a role she has maintained the past 10 years.

In 2008, she served as an economic adviser for John McCain’s campaign, though the relationship soured when she suggested neither he nor running mate Sarah Palin had the skills to be CEO of a company. In 2010,she won a three-way Republican primary for U.S. Senate in California but lost the race to incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Fiorina wants voters to pick her despite having never been elected to an office, held a high-level federal job, or served in the military. Every president before her did at least one of those. Her answer to her inexperience is that the American people want a Washington outsider to represent their interests in the White House.

“If you believe that it's time for citizens to stand up to the political class and say, ‘Enough,’ then join us," Fiorina said in a campaign video on her website.

She is a foreign policy hawk who wants to see the United States take tougher stances against Russia and Iran. “We have to restore American leadership in the world because the world is a far more dangerous and a more tragic place when we’re not leading,” Fiorina said in an interview with WORLD News Group’s Warren Cole Smith.

She said liberal economic policies made California the poorest state in the nation with “spiraling income inequality,” something she wants to undo on a national scale. To win the presidency, Fiorina claims, the GOP needs to worry less about courting moderates.

“We must stand true and stand tall and stand proud for every single one of our conservative values,” Fiorina told WORLD.

While she talks tough on the issues, Fiorina also shares openly and tenderly about her personal life. She battled breast cancer in 2009 before her Senate campaign. That same year, her adult stepdaughter died.

“That personal relationship with Christ was why a battle with cancer turned into a blessing. It was what saved me and my family when we lost our younger daughter,” Fiorina told WORLD. “Jesus is always with me.”

Both faith and experience inform her opposition to abortion. She said her husband’s mother was encouraged to get an abortion when she was pregnant with him. She chose not to, despite having to spend a year in the hospital recovering after his birth.

“I have thought often about how different my life would be had she made a different choice,” Fiorina said.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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