Carly Fiorina joined me on the program today to discuss the first 48 hours of Hillary ’16:
HH: Welcome back. In the three spot today, Carly Fiorina batting third. That usually is the power slot in baseball. Not cleanup, we don’t have four candidates. We only have Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina, because we only do the best radio in the world. Carly Fiorina, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, it’s great to have you.
CF: It’s great to be back, Hugh, thanks for having me.
HH: I have to begin by asking you about the former Secretary of State Clinton’s announcement and rollout, the first 48 hours of Clinton ’16, how does Carly Fiorina think about this?
CF: Well, I think it’s ironic that she thinks the middle class needs a champion from the political class. I think what the middle class needs is relief from the political class and from the policies that she supports, because of course, they’re crushing the middle class. Nevertheless, you know, Hillary Clinton is out there, she is their inevitable nominee, so we’re going to have to face her one way or another.
HH: Now I know you’ve been under the scrutiny of media for a long time. You’ve had to answer lots of questions in lots of situations for lots of years. It seems as though Secretary Clinton doesn’t have to answer any questions at any time. What do you think of this double standard?
CF: Well you know, it’s true, I was on Morning Joe the other day on MSNBC, and honestly, the hosts were very offended that I would question her record in any way. But of course, we have to question her track record, her lack of accomplishments, her lack of transparency, her lack of leadership. We have to keep questioning them, because the media won’t. But we do. We have to fight on the ground of what she’s really accomplished, and what she really stands for instead of fighting on the ground that she wants to fight on, which is I’m a champion for the middle class, I’ll be the first woman president, all the things she wants to talk about, and we need to keep bringing it back to who are you really and what have you done really?
HH: Do you think the van is a stunt?
CF: (laughing) As opposed to what?
HH: (laughing) I don’t know, a sincere attempt to connect with people?
CF: Well, yes, it is. I understand it has a large television and a bed inside it, so I don’t know. It’s not the kind of van I’ve ever been in, but what can we say?
HH: Now I asked both Governor Christie and Senator Rubio about media coverage. I want to play their reactions and get yours, Carly Fiorina. Here’s Governor Christie talking about media coverage in 2016:
CC: And listen, as Republicans, let me tell you, Hugh, we don’t get anywhere complaining about it. We’re not whiners or moaners. At least I’m not. We understand that the mainstream media in this country is liberal, and they put forward liberal causes, and they support liberal candidates. And in light of that kind of atmosphere, we’ve elected Ronald Reagan. We’ve elected George Bush 41. We’ve elected George Bush 43. There is no reason we can’t do that when we have the best candidate. We can overcome that. And I’m not going to be cone of those people who is going to whine and moan and complain about the media. Believe me, you’ve seen it, Hugh. I’ve gotten beat up by the New York and Philadelphia media more than anybody else in this country over the last year and a quarter, ridiculous, outlandish stuff that they’ve alleged against me. But I’m not going to be somebody who’s going to whine and moan and complain about it. Do your job every day, and the people of New Jersey supported me for reelection, and if it decide to run for president, I think I’ll do okay.
HH: Carly Fiorina, what do you think of that approach to the media?
CF: Well, I do think that Governor Christie is correct that we’re not going to change the media, the mainstream liberal media in the next two years. That’s just a fact. We’re not. On the other hand, it’s also true that there are wonderful people like you out there who take a more factual and balanced approach, and of course, it’s also true that we have many more ways to reach people than we did in Ronald Reagan’s time, or even in George W. Bush’s time. So I think we need to be realistic that the media has a bias, that the media will always have a double standard about someone like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, as another example, but I think we can also be optimistic that there are ways to overcome that. There are ways to get our message out, and so we can’t be deterred by it. But we also for sure cannot be cowed by it.
HH: Here is Marco Rubio on the same question.
MR: I think some outlets will eventually get to that point. I think initially, obviously, look, when you come from the left in American politics, you’re going to be treated differently. Those of us on the right need to get used to that. We play on the road every weekend, every week when we’re on television and radio, for the most part. That’s just the facts of life. We don’t like it, it isn’t fair, it’s the way it is. We’ve got to get used to it. To get elected as a conservative in America, you’ve got to work twice as hard.
HH: Now Carly Fiorina, last week on this show, and it resonated, you said Republicans have to bring up the server and the email every day. And I really do think there is, we can’t be resigned to a media narrative that will not confront her glaring, obvious deficiencies on national security and policy. We can’t allow that.
MR: Oh, I agree with you. I agree with you. And so that’s the point. Knowing that the media is what they are, we have to bring it up. We have to challenge her record. You know, we even have go to, as I did yesterday, we even have to go on MSNBC and challenge her record. And the email server is a glaring example of both a lack of transparency that is character, and also potentially a lack of understanding of how technology works, which perhaps goes to competence.
HH: Now I also want to ask you, I was on Meet The Press on Sunday, and I was asked to comment on the rollout, and I said it reminds me of Weekend At Bernies. And oh, did the left go crazy.
HH: Oh, I was ageist, and I was sexist…I don’t know how I was ageist. Bernie wasn’t that old, and Bernie was a man. But nevertheless, there was a list circulated of terms we cannot use about the former Secretary of State because they’re ageist. What do you think about this issue of her age and whether or not it comes up with her ability to cope with new technology, new ideas and a changing world?
CF: Oh, my goodness. Do you remember when George H.W. Bush was pilloried by the media because he hadn’t seen a supermarket scanner before?
CF: It’s just yet another example of a double standard. Look, I don’t think it’s ever right to criticize someone simply because of their age, simply because of their gender, simply because of the color of their skin. That’s never right. We never condone that. On the other hand, it’s completely legitimate to say that in 2015, a basic understanding of technology is a requirement for the office for a whole set of reasons, because the technology is a transformational tool that can help us reinvent government, because technology is being used against us by our enemies, because technology needs to be used in an inventive way to protect us. It’s absolutely fair game to say an understanding of technology really matters now.
HH: Now I’ve got to ask you as well, all day long, she has been being ridiculed on Twitter and other places for this fiasco of a rollout. Ridicule is the one thing people can’t come back from in American politics. You can have scandals, you can have failures, you can have complete pratfalls. But if people are making fun of you, do you think, Carly Fiorina, there is a chance that she’s just going to say no mas, no mas after a few months of this?
CF: I do not. I think there’s no chance. Hillary Clinton is a determined, hard-working woman. She is. And she has set her sights on the White House. And so she’s not going to give up, and she’s not going to give in. She’s going to keep going. And she has, we shouldn’t underestimate her, because she has support, whether enthusiastic or not, she has support from her party. She will have the best ground game in political history thanks for Barack Obama. And she will also have more money than anyone, because she doesn’t have to spend very much in a primary. So we shouldn’t underestimate her. She is a determined fighter, and she will fight for this.
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HH: Carly Fiorina, today Governor Christie gave a long speech on entitlement reform which called for, among other things, raising Social Security retirement age to 69, early retirement to 64, raising the eligibility age for Medicare one month per year, so that by 2040, you have to be67 years old to get it, eliminating the payroll tax for seniors who stay in the workforce over 62. And here was the most controversial thing that he said.
CC: So let’s ask ourselves an honest question. Do we really believe that the wealthiest Americans need to take from younger, hard-working Americans to receive what for most of them is a modest monthly Social Security check? And I say no, and I propose a modest means test that only affects those with non-Social Security income of over $80,000 dollars a year, and phases out Social Security payments entirely for those that have $200,000 dollars a year in retirement income. Think about how much money you have to have to have $200,000 dollars in retirement income.
HH: So Carly Fiorina, Republicans are in a primary, they’re going to debate big ideas. That’s a big idea. That’s not just touching the third rail of American politics. It’s bear hugging it. What do you think of it?
CF: Well, I’ll tell you, Hugh, I think that in life, you start with the basic obvious things and get those right before you tackle hard things. So what do I mean by that? We have literally hundreds of billions of dollars of fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in our federal government, and has been going on for decades. And it hasn’t been touched for decades by, frankly, either Republicans or Democrats. So let’s tackle that before we start taking away people’s Social Security. Let’s tackle the fact that you can watch pornography all day long and earn exactly the same salary, pensions and benefits as someone sitting next to you trying to do a good job. Let’s actually go to a pay for performance system. Let’s go to zero-based budgeting so we know exactly where every dollar is being spent, and we can debate where every dollar is being spent and reduce the number of dollars that are being spent. Why do we talk about revenue neutral tax plans? We ought to reduce the amount of revenues that the government gets every year, because it gets too much revenue. Let’s tackle those things that the political class has failed to tackle for decades before we start deciding who gets Social Security and who doesn’t.
HH: So are you rejecting the Christie entitlement reform plan as necessary part of the debate this election season?
CF: Chris Christie can put forward any entitlement reform plan he wants. And let’s give him credit for courage and candor. What I’m saying is that I think the American people actually are really tired of what has been allowed to go in Washington, D.C. for decades, and no one will tackle that. No one will tackle that our Veterans Administration doesn’t serve our veterans. No one will tackle the unbelievable corruption. No one will tackle the unbelievable waste. Senator Tom Coburn bravely puts out a report year after year after year that lays out in terrible, excruciating detail the amount of waste, abuse and corruption that goes on, and no one will touch it. So let’s deal with that stuff first.
HH: Carly Fiorina, always good to talk to you, thank you for joining me on this, the 48 hour review of the Hillary Clinton campaign 2016. Last question for you, you got a date, yet?
CF: Not, yet, but as I said last time, you know, it’s probably the first part of May.
HH: All right, just keep checking, always going to ask. Thank you, Carly, I’ll be right back.
End of interview.