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Carly Fiorina On Defense Spending, The Character Of GOP Leadership, And Pre-Debate Strategy

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The audio:

09-15hhs-fiorina

The transcript:

HH: Tomorrow night when I start asking questions, perhaps the person I am most familiar with will be Carly Fiorina, because I’ve asked her so many questions. I think I’ve probably interviewed Carly Fiorina more than any of the other candidates, at least in the last two years. Carly, welcome back to the program, great to speak with you.

CF: Nice to speak with you, Hugh.

HH: But you have not received any advance word, you have no tips, there have been no working the refs or anything like that, correct?

CF: That is correct.

HH: Now do you know the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow?

CF: Well, Hugh, I think that depends if it’s African or European.

HH: (laughing) You’ve been listening. Good for you. See, good prep. I can’t get anything past Sarah, nothing at all. So I was on last night with Anderson Cooper, Carly Fiorina, and I don’t know if you watch Game of Thrones. You don’t strike me as a Game of Thrones person.

CF: I’m not. I have to admit, I’m not a Game of Thrones person.

HH: All right, well, there was a red wedding scene which did not go well for anyone involved, and it was kind of a big battle. What are you expecting tomorrow night?

CF: (laughing) Oh, boy, well, I’m not sure I’m expecting Game of Thrones. I’m not sure I’m expecting a big battle. Look, it may be disappointing to people, but honestly, I am looking at this as an opportunity to introduce myself. I still have, by far, the lowest name ID of anyone in the field. There are going to be at least half the people watching this debate who have never heard my name and don’t know who I am. And so that’s a big opportunity for me to introduce myself. And I want to take full advantage of that opportunity.

HH: Now that opportunity comes couched in controversy, that is between you and Donald Trump, or between you and any other candidate. Will you avoid that controversy? Or will you dive into it at the same time using the platform to explain who you are and how you got there?

CF: Well, I think it depends on the circumstance, but you know me, I’m not going to ever shy from controversy. I’m not going to shy from a fight if a fight is necessary. But I also think that you know, a lot of these tussles, shall we say, that have gone on so far, they may have been hugely entertaining to people, but I never get asked a question by voters about Donald Trump. I never do. They’re not, voters are not interested in the reality show of politics. What they’re interested in is their real world. And in their real world, they are angry, they are frustrated, they are confused, they are afraid, in many cases, and they are concerned. And so I think when we set all the entertainment and the fun back and forth aside, these are serious times, actually, and serious issues, and it’s not a game. This is real life, and it affects real people.

HH: The most serious issue is Vladimir Putin putting troops into Syria. Some would argue that’s the most serious issue. What do you think about that? If you were the president, Carly Fiorina, how would you respond?

CF: Well, first of all, it’s an extremely serious issue, because what it says is that little trip that General Soleimani took to visit with Vladimir Putin had a purpose. And the purpose was to solidify a military relationship between Syria and Russia. That’s extremely concerning. It is one of the reasons why I said on many of your shows, you know, when the U.S. fails to lead, we run out of options. And the world becomes a more tragic place. First, I think with regard to Russia, we have to show Vladimir Putin that we will push back. And for me, that means we don’t talk to him anymore, we’ve talked to him way too much, but we begin immediately pushing back. That means we start rebuilding the 6th Fleet in a very aggressive manner right under his nose. It means we begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland right under his nose. It means we begin conducting far more aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states right under his nose. And I would actually send some more troops into Germany right under his nose. And I think he will get a message. With regard to Syria, this is a failure of our policy there. And honestly, Hugh, before I give you an off the cuff reaction about what we ought to be doing in Syria now, I will have a very serious set of consultations with our military leaders, because our options are so few now. We have such a mess there caused by this President and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State complete lack of an action, not to mention their misreading of Bashar al-Assad. And Hillary Clinton first called him a positive reformer. Then President Obama says he has to go. And meanwhile, he’s doing whatever he wants, and we’re doing nothing. So that’s a complicated situation now.

HH: Rebuilding the 6th Fleet would require a significant increase in Defense spending. There is a sequester in place. And right now, it appears as though we’re on an almost inevitable path to a shutdown, terrible criticism of the Republicans, a cave by the Republicans, that an increase in domestic spending in order to get Defense spending up. I mean, it just looks to me like a play I’ve seen before, Carly Fiorina. Am I wrong? Is that what you’re expecting?

CF: No, you’re not wrong. That’s why I’m running for president, because we have this political class of both parties that won’t ever really fix it. The sequester was a clever, little budget trick that both parties agreed to thinking they could kick the can down the road. And here we are again. Our military defense is, of course, not just one more budget item. It’s not the same as, say, the level of soy bean subsidies. This is vital to protecting the interests of our nation. And we must have the strongest military on the face of the planet. Everybody has to know it, which means we have to rebuild our army brigades and our Marine battalions and our Navy battleships, and we have to invest in our nuclear triad. All those things have to be done. With regard to shutting down the government, I hope Obama doesn’t shut the government down, but I will ask anyone, I will dare anyone who continues to fight for taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, I will dare them to watch those videotapes. Watch as a fully formed fetus lies on a table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says look, it’s a boy, we have to keep its heart beating to harvest its brain. I will defy anyone to support that if they’ve watched those videotapes. And if the Republican leadership doesn’t fight this to the end, they are undermining the character of our nation just as surely as the Democrats are, and President Obama should have to stand up and explain to the American people why he supports this kind of savagery.

HH: Now shutdown would not be necessary to present that squarely to the President if the Senate did not have a filibuster rule. They could pass the Defense Appropriations bill that plusses up the military. They could pass an HHS bill that takes up Planned Parenthood funding if they didn’t have a filibuster. Is it time to kill the filibuster, Carly Fiorina?

CF: Well, it may be. You know, Harry Reid, I mean, obviously when Harry Reid invoked the nuclear option so he could change the rules, we all said that that was a terrible thing, and it was a terrible thing. On the other hand, when we are talking about, I mean, I would have to give it very careful consideration, but I don’t reject it out of hand, because when we are talking about the defense of our nation, and the defense of the character of our nation, those are pretty serious issues to have politics as usual get in the way. I hope the leadership has the courage for both of these fights.

HH: By that courage, do you mean, are you willing to have them allow President Obama to shut the government down, and then take everything that comes with it? 30 seconds, Carly Fiorina.

CF: I would be, yes, this goes to the heart of the character of our nation and the defense of our nation.

HH: Carly Fiorina, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night in Simi Valley. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you, www.carlyforamerica.com, www.carlyforamerica.com will connect you with all things Carly.

End of interview.

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