The declared candidate for president weighed in on the latest Clinton Foundation scandals, the Iran deal, and what the GOP nominee is going to need to do to beat the former Secretary of State.
HH: Welcome now Carly Fiorina, declared candidate for the president of the United States. Welcome back, Carly, it is great to have you on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
CF: Well, thanks for having me back, Hugh. How are you doing?
HH: It is, I’m terrific. Congratulations. You had quite a launch yesterday, and I have to tell you Zeke Miller of Time Magazine was in the studio here in Washington, D.C. with me, said you did a 45 minute press phone call where you took any and all comers. That’s 45 minutes more than Mrs. Clinton. You’re going to keep building on that lead, do you think?
CF: Well, look, I intend to answer all questions from all comers. So it seemed to me to be completely fair to be accessible to the press on the day that we launched, although you’re right, it’s unprecedented, and it’s certainly very different than Mrs. Clinton. And then later in the day, we used a great technology called Periscope to connect up with anyone who wanted to connect with us from all across the country. We had a couple of people on from around the world to ask any question they wanted to ask, because I think people have serious questions on their minds, and I think they deserve serious answers.
HH: Now your new book is called Rising To The Challenge, which was apropos of how you’ve launched your campaign, rising to the challenge of any question, anytime from anywhere. My question is Zeke Miller then wrote will the debates allow Carly Fiorina onto the stage? And I said I don’t know how they can keep you off. I don’t get to make the rules, but what do you think, Carly Fiorina?
CF: Oh, I’m quite confident I’ll be on the debate stage.
HH: Okay, so I get to ask you questions then. This may be a little debate prep for you then. Would you vote…
HH: Would you vote for the Iran deal that the Senate appears, the Corker-Cardin deal, do you think that’s enough? Or would clarity of rejecting even that be better serving American interest?
CF: Well, look, I think it’s very important that the Senate be a part of this process. So I think the Senate is sort of the last chance we have. If you’re asking me would I vote to approve the Iran deal, the answer is absolutely not. And the reason is absolutely not is because we haven’t achieved a single goal. As you and I have talked on your show many times, not a single nuclear facility will be dismantled, not a single one of the 19,000 centrifuges will stop spinning. They’re not willing to ship any of their enriched uranium out of the county anymore. Russia is now going to sell them uranium. They’re selling them military weapons. China and Russia, of course, have not been on our side of the table during any of this negotiation. This is a terrible deal, and it should be rejected. But on the other hand, hopefully if the Senate passes this bill so that they get a say in this deal, it will slow it down some, and we need that. It needs to be slowed down and stopped, because clearly Kerry and Obama are going to sign anything that’s put in front of them.
HH: Well, let me pause on that, because your competitor in the race for the nomination, Marco Rubio, is offering amendment after amendment. And they’re good amendments, and they’re all being denied a vote by Democrats. At some point, doesn’t the farce overwhelm the benefit of a 90 day review that you would even recommend to Senator Rubio or Senator Paul or Senator Cruz, who are all going to be on that stage with you, that they just say no to Corker-Menendez?
CF: Well you know, I, look, I know that people’s hearts are in the right place when they put forward amendments that can’t possibly work. I mean, Iran is never going to recognize Israel’s right to exist. That’s just an impossibility, and so I don’t understand what the purpose of that is. As I said, I think it is useful to have the Senate force a 90 day review period. Maybe nothing will be different at the end of that 90 day period, but I think all time is on our side before we sign this deal, because the truth is the minute we sign this deal, Iran is marching towards a nuclear weapon as fast as they can get it. And that’s a very bad thing. Now if it were me, I would immediately impose crushing financial sanctions on Iran. We have a great deal of influence over whether Iran can move money through the financial system. We ought to be using that influence and that leverage, and I wouldn’t let that pressure up until they agreed to full, open inspections of every nuclear facility they had. We’re not there, unfortunately.
HH: Carly Fiorina, I’m reminded by an article today, you’re the only one running for president who comes out of the world of business. You had to sign forms that if there were any misstatements of material fact, it would send you to jail. You’re entering this world where everyone makes material misstatements of fact all the time. Is it alien to you to have to indulge this fiction that Iran can be dealt with?
CF: Well, look, there are so many people in politics, or in Washington, D.C. in general who are never held accountable for anything. And I think it’s really distressing to the American people. I think it’s why there’s such a huge gulf between the American people and what they see as an out of touch political class, and a bureaucracy that no longer serves their interests.
HH: Carly Fiorina, hold that thought. I’ll be right back with Carly Fiorina, declared candidate for president. Her brand new book is called Rising To The Challenge.
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HH: Carly Fiorina, what is the best website for people who are interested in learning more about your campaign?
HH: That’s easy.
CF: (laughing) Kind of logical.
HH: Good, private sector. Tony M. tweets, Carly Fiorina, totally impressed with your subject knowledge and preparation. I’m seeing that a lot, and I go back to the fact that you came out of a publicly-traded corporation which gives you a different tool set than everybody else in this race. How would you summarize that tool set and its differential from everyone else who’s running?
CF: Well, I understand the economy and how the economy works. I understand the world, who’s in it, how the world works. I’ve met with these world leaders not for photo ops, but to talk about business or to talk about charity, or to talk about whatever they wanted to talk about in a serious, substantive way. I understand bureaucracies and how they work. And the government is a giant, bloated bureaucracy that’s got to get cut down to size. I understand technology. And technology is a really important tool to reimagine government and to reengage citizens in the process of their government. And I understand, Hugh, maybe to the point of your question, accountability and executive decision making, the ability, the experience, the wisdom to make a tough call in a tough time with high stakes for which you are prepared to be held accountable. And in the world that I grew up in, which is the world of business, which is the world many Americans, most Americans grow up in, we’re used to being held accountable. Words are just words. Speeches are just speeches. Gestures are just gestures. People are used to being known for their character, their integrity, do their actions match their words. And I grew up being taught, as I think most of your listeners did, that actions speak louder than words. And we’re prepared to be held accountable for our actions. And right now, there are some very important actions that the next commander-in-chief needs to take.
HH: Carly Fiorina, the man who will probably be throwing the biggest bricks your way is named Bill Clinton. And he was on the record yesterday. I want to play this tape for you and then get your reaction to it. Here is former President Bill Clinton yesterday.
CM: Over the years, he’s made a lot of money giving speeches. While his wife was Secretary of State, he gave 11 of them which paid him $500,000 or more.
BC: I give 10% of my revenue off the top every year to the Foundation. And Hillary, in the years she was there, gave 17%. Over the last 15 years, I’ve taken almost no capital gains.
CM: But why do it?
BC: And I’ve given 10%…to pay my bills and because in the…
CM: Regular working Americans look…
CM: …and say $500,000 dollars for a speech?
BC: Why shouldn’t every, it’s the most independence I can get. It’s, I don’t, if I had a business relationship with somebody, they would have a target on their back from the day they did business with me ‘til the end. Any kind of disclosure is a target. And, but it looks bad. There’s no facts, of course, but listen, people, I work hard on this. I spend a couple of hours a day just, people like to hear me speak. And I have turned down a lot of them. If I think there’s something wrong with it, I don’t take it, and I do disclose who gave it to me, so people can make up their own minds.
CM: So she’s now running for president. Will you continue to give speeches?
BC: Oh, yeah. I’ve got to pay our bills.
HH: Carly Fiorina, your reaction?
CF: Well, first, look, I don’t have any trouble with however much money Bill Clinton makes to give a speech. You know, he’s a former president. Good for him. I think he certainly sounds pretty defensive to me. I think the issue here is not how much money he makes per speech. The issue is that boy, when you have to restate your 990’s for a charity over many years, there’s clearly a problem with disclosure. When your wife as Secretary of State was supposed to be, said she would, disclose all the foreign donations that foreign governments made while she was Secretary of State to your Foundation and then didn’t, there’s a problem with transparency and disclosure. I think what we’re being reminded of is the Clintons love to tell us just trust us. Just trust us. But the problem is we really can’t, because you can’t, you earn trust. You earn trust. And you earn trust through transparency and accountability. And there’s been a lack of transparency, a pattern of a lack of transparency, which suggests a lack of trustworthiness.
HH: Now when he responded, though, that they had been transparent, and he had it both ways in that, do you expect anyone to call them on this, Carly Fiorina, because they’re almost above anyone’s accountability.
CF: Well, I know. You know, nobody else would get away with this. Nobody else would get away with this. I am at some level sort of pleasantly surprised that that media has stayed on this at all, and that that reporter, whoever it was, put the microphone up in Bill Clinton’s face. But you can imagine, you know, if this was George W. Bush, you can imagine how reporters would be handling this. Look, there is without a doubt an appearance of conflict of interest here. There is without a doubt an appearance of a lack of transparency here. There is an appearance of a far too cozy relationship between these governments and these donors and a former president and a current Secretary of State. And all of those things raise serious questions. But you know what, Hugh? You and I have talked about this before. This won’t be an issue in the general election in 2016 unless our nominee makes it an issue. And if I’m the nominee, I’ll make it an issue, just like I’ll make Benghazi an issue, and I’ll make her lack of track record an issue. Our nominee is going to have to make this an issue.
HH: Now a minute to the break. The former Secretary of State’s lawyer announced she’ll come back one more time to the Hill, sort of a take it or leave it offer. Should Chairman Gowdy reject or take that offer, in your opinion, Carly Fiorina?
CF: Well, I guess if it’s all that he can get, it’s better to hear something than nothing, I guess. I think in the end, it probably won’t be terribly satisfying, unfortunately. And you know, she knew what she was doing when they wiped the server clean. I’m sure they had lots of conversations with lots of lawyers, and they feel that they’re on firm enough legal ground that that server can’t be subpoenaed. But again, this doesn’t help her establish a track record of transparency or trustworthiness. And I think leaders require people to trust them. And she’s not building that level of trust.
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HH: Carly Fiorina, Howard Dean went on the air today to assess Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee’s bad, horrible, terrible month and where she stands. I’d like to get your reaction to it. Here’s Howard Dean.
HD: It’s not terribly worrisome. First of all, there’s no there there. The press has been talking about this for two weeks and have yet to find anything that’s really damning, and certainly nothing that’s illegal. Secondly, this is what was expected. And I’m actually glad it’s happening now. The GOP is throwing everything they can at her. This is mostly, this is about politics. I think she’s actually survived quite well, and I was very happy with the numbers that she showed, and actually a little surprised at how strong she was against all of the Republicans including Jeb Bush. She still leads them by a very significant margin. Now again, this is the very early part of the campaign. The polls are going to change. But I think, you know, I think so far, so good.
HH: Carly Fiorina, so far, so good for the Clintons?
CF: Well, you know, she’s going to be the Democratic nominee. I mean, you and I have talked about this before. She’s certainly going to get through this, which is why it’s so important that we have a nominee who will throw the punches that can be thrown. And Howard Dean, you know, he’s doing his job. He’s acting once again like the Democratic Party chairman and cheering his nominee on. So I don’t think any of that’s unexpected.
HH: So if you could have any question asked of the former Secretary of State by a reporter, if she comes out like, you know, the groundhog on February 2nd, what would that question be?
CF: (laughing) Oh, wow, that’s a great question, Hugh. I have to think about this. But I guess my question would be why is it that you knew the right thing to do was to disclose these donations while you were Secretary of State and simply failed to do it? And the second question I would ask is why were you willing to peddle a fiction about Benghazi starting as you stood over the bodies of four murdered Americans and for a month after that? Why were you willing to do that?
HH: Those are great questions, and she’s agreed to six debates. And I don’t believe either of those will be asked in any of those six debates. I hope they will be. Carly Fiorina, come back early and often throughout 2016, www.carlyforpresident.com. Thank you, congratulations on your launch, and good luck in going forward.
CF: Thank you so much, Hugh, for having me.
End of interview.