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Carly Fiorina On The Debates, The Budget, And Defense Spending

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The transcript:

HH: I’m so pleased to welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show Carly Fiorina. Carly was at the Western Conservative Summit hosted by CCU this summer, and she wowed them here. I hope she gets back to Colorado before they actually, I don’t even think they have a primary, Carly Fiorina. I’m sure you’re focused on the other states, but welcome back, good to talk to you.

CF: Thank you, Hugh, nice to be with you.

HH: You never get flapped, and so you were unflappable after the Hindenburg debate. But after a week of thinking about it, what went wrong there?

CF: (laughing) Well, I have to say, Hugh, it’s the first time, really in my memory, but I’m not aware than an audience actually booed moderators before.

HH: No.

CF: But they did. They did. First of all, I think that the RNC needs to really insist on real conservative partners. You know, CNN missed an opportunity. There you were, Hugh, you’re this expert on foreign policy, and they didn’t really use you as well as they should have used you. Now I don’t know, one question out of twenty. Of course, CNBC didn’t even try to have a conservative commentator there. They have a couple at CNBC. They didn’t use them. and then on top of everything else, they weren’t particularly well-prepared. On the other hand, taking tough questions, even taking stupid questions, is sort of part of the gig of running for president. Yes, it would be very good if moderators were prepared and balanced. I think the RNC did the right thing in having consequence for NBC. But if you want to be president, you can’t be rattled by dumb questions or unfair questions or biased questions, because it won’t be the last time.

HH: Now, and I have to speak up for my friends at CNN. I think they used me well, and we can argue about that, but I do know having a conservative on the panel definitely has an impact on preparation.

CF: It definitely has an impact.

HH: Just because…yeah…

CF: You’re right.

HH: Now there’s a story today by William Saletan over at Slate – Rubio is lying about Hillary lying. And I know, you know, you want to beat Marco Rubio. At the same time, this is a line of attack that’s going to develop on the left, and you’ve pioneered what Senator Rubio is doing now. Do you expect the left to rally across the board for the former Secretary of State’s deceptions before the Benghazi Committee?

CF: Of course. They already have. They already have. The Benghazi Committee revealed, if anyone was in doubt, that Mrs. Clinton absolutely knew on the evening of the attack that it was a purposeful, preplanned terrorist attack. It’s what she tells her daughter. And nevertheless, she ends up and talks to the American people about a videotape, and says the same thing over the bodies of the fallen. She lied, and I’ve been saying that for months. And for months, the left has been attacking me, the messenger, instead of here’s the message. But after those hearings, what did the liberal media do? They rallied around her. They gave her high marks for her performance. They talked about what a great week she had. Of course, they’re going to rally around her. That is why she’s going to be the nominee of her party, and that is why we have to have someone who can beat her, because they will, and they are, rallying around her.

HH: Now Saletan writes, “Hillary Clinton did mention the video in a statement on the night of the attack, quoting her, some have thought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet, she said. There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind, “ he continues to write, “Conspiracy theorists portray this statement as a claim that the video caused the attack. They see the statement as part of a concerted effort to boost Obama’s campaign by denying that a terrorist attack occurred, but ‘some’ would be an odd way to describe the attackers. Clinton’s words make more sense when you see her thinking spelled out in a longer statement two days later as she explained at the October 22nd hearing. Her statement delivered in the midst of the video uproar, and the protests at many U.S. embassies was a warning to would-be, to rationalizers and would-be copycats.” What do you think of that? They’re denying what she did, Carly Fiorina.

CF: That’s exactly right. Exactly right. I think the best way to deal with this is to say what is obvious. Knowing that it was a preplanned terrorist attack, what Mrs. Clinton should have said, what President Obama should have said, is this was a terrorist attack on our embassy in which four Americans were killed. We will seek retribution. That is what should have been said. That is what should have happened. Instead, they blamed a video, much to the terrorists’ delight, no doubt, and a year later, a single person had been arrested.

HH: Now the article goes on to attack Charles Woods. They blame the victims, of course. Woods’ accuracy is suspect, writes Saletan. He’s a longtime critic of Clinton and Obama who is at odds with his own family about the GOP’s investigations of Benghazi. Two years after the attack, Woods was still repeating the discredited conspiracy theory that through a live video feed, the White House’s Situation Room was watching our people die in real time.” You know, I am a little appalled that they would go after Mr. Woods, because he heard what Hillary told them when the bodies came back.

CF: Well, this is what they do. The left attacks the messenger. They try to destroy the credibility of the messenger, because they do not want the message heard. This is what they did with me around Planned Parenthood. It’s what they did when I dared to suggest that progressive policies were bad for women. This is what they do. They attack the messenger, because they do not want the truth of the message heard. And that is why I’ve said consistently on your show, Hugh, we need a fearless fighter to win this election. They will throw everything they have at this. And their technique is to undercut the messenger, regardless of the truth of the message that’s being told.

HH: Now I do want to do a little bit of what CNBC did not do. I want to ask your reaction to tax cuts that have been proposed, and to the TPP that’s out there. What’s Carly Fiorina’s general approach to tax rates and to the TPP?

CF: Well, first of all, I would like to know what’s in the TPP. That’s a pretty basic question. What’s in it? What did we negotiate? This deal, negotiated in secret over 18 months, is 30 chapters long. It is thousands of pages, like they always are. The people who look at it can’t talk about it. Let’s just say what’s in it. I think that would reassure me. I think it would reassure lots of people. I don’t like agreeing to secret deals, particularly when the people who negotiated them haven’t negotiated very well on America’s behalf, which is clearly the track record of this administration. Now when it comes to the tax code, as I tried to suggest at the debate, you know, we have been talking about tax reform forever. We literally have been. And yet somehow, it never gets tone. The tax code is 73,000 pages long. We have the highest tax rate on business in the world. We’ve had 4,000 changes to the tax code in 2001. You know how many changes that is a day? And that’s happened under Republicans and Democrats alike. And the reason that matters is because all of that complexity is crushing not to a big company, not to a powerful set of interests, not to somebody wealthy enough to afford accountants and lawyers, not to the well-connected. It is crushing to the small business, to the powerless, to the middle class family. And so the most important thing we can do is to simplify. It’s the only way to level the playing field. 73,000 pages needs to become three. The only way that happen is you lower every rate, and you close virtually every single loophole. Complexity favors the big. Simplicity levels the playing field between the powerful and the powerless.

HH: And a last question, Carly Fiorina, I’ll be back at the next couple of CNN/Salem Media Group debates, and I hope to be asking about defense. One of the things that could come up is which of our weapons systems is most important. Northrop Grumman got a big contract this week for the B-3, it’s been called. They’re only going to build 21 of them. We need a strategic bomber. Or do we? What do you make to a 20 airplane contract? Is that enough for a strategic part of the triad?

CF: I’m not going to answer that right off the top of my head, because I would have to look at the entire military preparedness plan as it now exists. However, there is no doubt that we need to invest in every part of the nuclear triad. There is no doubt we must do that. There is also no doubt that we must rebuild our Army, that we must rebuild our Navy, that we must rebuild our Marines. We have a lot of rebuilding to do. We also need to rebuild the morale of our armed forces, because morale is at, unfortunately, very low levels, because this is an administration that does not value our military. It does not listen to our military. It does not support our military. So that is but one investment that needs to be made. My guess is there are many, many more. And at the same time…

HH: The folks over at the Center For…

CF: We need to reform the Pentagon.

HH: The folks over at the Center For a New American Strategy said that what you laid out at the Ronald Reagan Library debate had a price tag of $1.4 trillion dollars, that it wasn’t affordable. Have you price out, yet, your plans for the military, Carly Fiorina?

CF: Well you know what? Let me tell you, we are spending trillions of dollars on all kinds of things. We spend trillions of dollars on the war on poverty, and yet we now have more people living in poverty. This government is capable of spending trillions of dollars. What we seem incapable of doing is prioritizing how we spend. And that is why we have to go to zero-based budgeting. We have to know where our money is being spent, because we must invest in our military. It is one of the federal government’s most important responsibilities. And the only way to be able to afford that price tag, and I have no doubt it’s very expensive, we have to be willing to reform the Pentagon, but we’ve got to be willing to prioritize how its spent.

HH: Carly Fiorina, always a pleasure. Follow her on Twitter, @CarlyFiorina. We’ll see you soon.

End of interview.


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