Carly Fiorina joined me today:
HH: It’s a day that I begin with the biggest star right now in the Republican Party, Carly Fiorina. In the new CNN/WMUR poll, she has rocketed the most of any candidate into second place in the New Hampshire primary. She’s behind Donald Trump who has 26% support. Carly Fiorina has 16%. Welcome, Carly, congratulations. You’ve had quite a week.
CF: Well, thank you so much, Hugh, and it’s great to be back with you.
HH: Are you surprised at how rapidly your fortunes have risen?
CF: Well, yes and no. No in the sense that we have figured out is that as people get to know me, they tend to support me. You know, I went into that CNN debate with half the watchers never having heard my name, or knowing I was running for president. But what we’ve seen is as people come to know me, they tend to support me. Yes, in the sense that I figured we wouldn’t be in the top four until maybe a little bit later this fall. But obviously, I’m very gratified by it, by the response and the reaction of voters when they get to know me.
HH: Let me ask you a number of questions, and I want to begin with one that’s sort of personal. Our friend, Mary Katharine, is having the worst week in anyone’s life, to lose your husband with two small children. And you’ve been through very difficult times. You talked about one of those in the course of the debate. You did not talk about your bout with cancer. What is it that gets people through those darkest moments?
CF: Well you know, I wrote Mary Katharine right after I heard this tragic news. I think what gets you through these difficult times, and I’m sure what will see her through these times, is a deep faith, and the love of family and friends. I also know that in the very, very darkest of times, there are also blessings if we will see them. And in the very, very darkest of times, there are also always moments of grace if we will receive them. And so I wish her blessings and moments of grace in very difficult times.
HH: I also know you’ve had to have been able to see some of the Pope’s amazing response and responsiveness at these various venues, including probably the most sacred space in America, the 9/11 Memorial, for everyone, and no matter what their faith or background or how long or not long in the country they have been. That is a sacred space. And then with these kids in Harlem, and these crowds in New York and at the Congress yesterday, how are you reacting, Carly Fiorina, to the Pope’s visit?
CF: Well you know, I think it’s really reassuring when people recognize a deeply spiritual presence. I think our lives, and so much of our culture, is so superficial. And so when people are moved, regardless of their faith, when people are moved by the presence of someone who is deeply spiritual, and who has spent their life in the service of their faith, I think it’s both reassuring and uplifting, actually.
HH: And he’s definitely doing that. I’m pretty astonished by the reaction of everyone to his visit to the United States, because of course, he’s controversial in many ways, but in other ways, he is simply a pastor who is pastoring to people. Carly Fiorina, I want to now turn to some politics. Obviously, the big announcement of the day is that Speaker John Boehner is exiting the House at the end of October. Is this enough change in Washington given what you have heard? And I note for people, I’m broadcasting today from Colorado Christian University, which is the sponsor of the Centennial Institute, which is the sponsor of the Western Conservative Summit where I saw you begin your ascent, because you rocked that crowd in the summer, and it’s just kept going up. But you’ve continually said Washington has failed. Speaker Boehner is a wonderful man, and he cried, and people appreciated him today, but is that enough of a change?
CF: Well, one man does not a change make. One position does not a change make. You know, we’ve changed the head of the VA several times, and yet 300,000 plus veterans are still dying without access to health care. So no, I applaud John Boehner for his service to his nation. Every leader has a season. And I think he made the right decision that his season was over. I hope the House will select a conservative leader who will actually get some things done like pass a border security bill, and pass a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. And pass the REINS Act, but I also think ultimately real change will not come to Washington until we have a president in the Oval Office who is unafraid to challenge the status quo, and who will also harness the anger, the frustration and the common sense and the good judgment of the citizens of this nation to pressure the political class to solve festering problems that have been left unsolved for decades.
HH: Now that’s a serious statement, and I have been telling people that I had the best seat in the house for the debate, although I couldn’t tell who won, because I wasn’t watching the screen like 24 million people were, and I couldn’t tell the split screens. But I tell them all you went full Thatcher, and you stayed full Thatcher the whole time. Some of the other candidates were glad-handing in breaks. Not Carly Fiorina. Was that conscious on your part that you were focused and staying focused?
CF: Well, I hope I’m always focused when the occasion calls for it. I think you have to be focused when you’re talking to the American people about issues of such great import as ISIS or Iran or drug addiction or any of the other many things we covered. And honestly, when I got a break, what I wanted to do was go talk to my husband, Frank, who was sitting right next to your position there. I didn’t really want to talk with the other candidates, not because I don’t like them or I’m not a friendly person, but I wanted to say hi to my husband. And honestly, being three hours on heels, I wanted to sit down for a minute.
HH: That was, by the way, my wife was sitting behind me. The Fetching Mrs. Hewitt was amazed that you did three hours in those heels. So our hats are off to you. Scott Walker, who was to your immediate right on the stage, is no longer on the stage. Were you surprised? And what do you put this down to?
CF: Well, I was a little bit surprised by how quickly he decided to exit. He and I have spoken since his departure. I said to him that he has been a leader, he remains a leader, and he will continue to be a leader in our party. And I think you know, each candidate has to make their assessment of whether or not they have the wherewithal to go forward. I suspect that others will begin to drop out of the race now, because you know, this is a long, long haul. I have always said to you, Hugh, on your show and to your listeners, this is going to be a process of elimination before it becomes a process of selection. It is a long process, and I think what we’re beginning now is the process of elimination.
HH: Let me talk to you, then, about a couple of reactions to your sudden ascent. Obviously, people start throwing stones in your direction, and they’re not just other candidates. The Washington Post today ran a journalistically malpractice…it is, I’ve had Michelle Ye Hee Lee on the program before to argue with her about her idiosyncratic understanding of what is true or not. But they awarded you three Pinocchios today for your perfectly true statements drawn from your autobiography. What’s going on there, Carly Fiorina?
CF: Well yeah, so (laughing) that one, I must say, has sort of floored me, because basically the Washington Post is saying no, I was not a secretary.
CF: And you know, my campaign team talked to this reporter. It’s like no, no, no, actually, she was a secretary. She was a Kelly girl. These are the jobs she had. And then she worked full time as a secretary in a real estate firm. I mean, what do you say when the liberal media is so threatened by you, and so threatened apparently by my true life story, that they honestly try and convince people that actually, I wasn’t a secretary. And why, on top of everything else, I find so amazing is remember Barack Obama? There was no examination of his resume at all. Nobody actually checked whether he was a community organizer or not, or how long he sat in the pew of that church. But suddenly, I’m not a secretary.
HH: It’s an amazing story, only because of the depth to which they had to contort to do that. But they also seemed to assume, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, that if your father is a law professor, you are somehow wealthy and famous. And every law professor in America is laughing at that.
CF: Yeah, exactly. I mean, my dad was a law professor. It’s not that we didn’t have a comfortable life. Of course, we did. My father was a law professor. My mother was a stay at home mom. They had three children. They were putting three children through college at the same time without scholarships, and I had to work, you know, put myself through college. So maybe this person is amazed, but that is indeed my true life story.
HH: And other attacks that have come your way, are you ready for them? And are you deciding this is just the price of being all of a sudden number two in New Hampshire and who knows where in Iowa?
CF: Well, it is the price. It is the price. When you become a real candidate, you become a threat. And when you become a threat, people will attack. It is the way, sadly, the game is played. Yes, I’m ready. I’m not afraid of anything. I’m not ashamed of everything. That doesn’t mean I’m a perfect person. It means I have been a transparent person about my life, and a transparent person about my record. And so I will continue to be who I am, to talk about what I’ve done and what I’ve experienced, and most importantly of all, to talk to the American people about what I will do as president of the United States.
HH: Let’s turn, then, to a couple of issues, Carly Fiorina. You did not have a chance to answer the question about climate change and how it ought to be responded to if indeed you believe that the Earth has warmed a degree or so over the last 100 years. First of all, what’s your position on the science? And secondly, what’s your answer to the question posed by Jake to Marco and others, Senator Rubio and others in the course of that debate?
CF: Well first, I read the fine print. And what scientists who tell us global warming/climate change, whatever they’re calling it now is real, what they also tell us is that with current technology, the only thing we could do is a concerted, coordinated, global effort over three decades, costing trillions upon trillions of dollars. In other words, everything we are doing as the United States of America, the EPA rule, upping greenhouse gas emission guidelines, all of that is not making any difference at all except this, destroying people’s livelihoods. So I am not willing to destroy people’s livelihoods. And those who claim they are doing so at the altar of science are not being truthful. They are destroying other people’s livelihoods at the altar of ideology, not of science. If we truly want to solve this problem that the scientists tell us is real, we’re going to have to innovate, not regulate. And the only way to innovate is to have industries in this country that are strong enough to do so. We need to be the global energy powerhouse of the 21st Century. We need to be the leader in every field of energy for many reasons, because it creates jobs, because it makes the bad guys less bad, and because we will have industries strong enough to innovate. That’s always how we solve intractable problems. We innovate, not regulate.
HH: My second policy question is a make good. I may have been a little bit over the speed limit driving from Stanford to Simi Valley. And when an officer of the California Highway Patrol on Tuesday night wanted to discuss that with me, and discovered that I was going down to the debate, he waived me on, bid me fair, but asked me to ask the candidates will you support law enforcement, because it’s getting dangerous out there. Do you know what he’s talking about, Carly Fiorina?
CF: Oh, yes, I do. And you know, tone starts at the top. So we need a president who will honor every day those in uniform who serve us, whether it’s the cop on the corner or the Marine in Afghanistan. And when I say tone starts at the top, I mean this. President Obama has invited to the White House a 14 year old boy from Texas who built a clock and got thrown out of school. Now obviously, the school vastly overreacted to that incident. But has President Obama spoken? Has he spoken out about any of the assassinations of policemen that have occurred, people who were killed merely because they were police officers? When we do not have a president who speaks out, who steps up, who stands with those who serve and protect us, then people get the message that their service doesn’t count.
HH: Third political issue has to do with what happened in the Rose Garden today. President Xi was there, and President Obama was there, and a question came about cyberattacks. And President Obama, and I’m paraphrasing here, said I have talked about, I have warned them, and we will be watching. And I didn’t see President Xi smirk, but I could feel him smirk.
CF: Of course.
HH: It was horrible.
CF: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I’m talked to him. Really? What we should do, what we should do, what I will do, first, we need to stand up a consolidated, coordinated cyber command in the federal government whose job it is to protect our databases and systems, whose job it is to interact with the private sector whenever and wherever necessary to detect and repel these cyberattacks that we know, have known for over a decade, are coming and will come from China and Russia and North Korea. Second, we should have immediately retaliated, retaliated with a coordinated cyberattack of our own. We have the capability to do that. President Obama thinks his talk is so powerful. His words mean nothing at all. And they particularly mean nothing at all to President Xi or to Vladimir Putin or to any other one of our adversaries.
HH: Let me conclude, Carly Fiorina, I know your time is tight, by talking about Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader who is in all likelihood going to be the new Speaker, longtime acquaintance and friend of mine and of yours, having given your time in California all those many years. I know you know he’ll be a good Speaker. But then there’ll be a Majority Leader election. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the leader of the House Conference, will be running for Majority Leader. I’m certain of that. I’ve been reading the reports all day long. What do you think the Republicans in the House ought to do about that choice before them? So will Tom Price another good man. So will a lot of good people. But Cathy McMorris Rodgers is unique in that she’s the only woman in Republican leadership. Ought that to matter in the race ahead?
CF: Well you know, I think that Cathy would agree with me that the reason to vote for her, or the reason to vote for me is because you think someone is the most qualified candidate to win the job and to do the job. And oh, yes, we happen to be women. But I also will say that I hope very much that whoever the leaders are in the House, that they will step forward and produce some results for the American people. I have suggested three results. One, pass a border security bill through the House and through the Senate. Two, pass the REINS Act, which gives Congress the authority to oversee the lawless rulemaking that is going on from the EPA, the NRLB, the FCC. I mean, we’re just rolling out, this administration is rolling out rule after rule after rule. And these rules are being promulgated by a bunch of bureaucrats who are accountable to no one and elected by no one. Congress needs to oversee this. And third, I hope very much that leadership in the House and the Senate will pass a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. And I hope that others will join with me in saying to Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, anyone else who is going to continue to defend the butchery of babies for the sale of body parts why they are prepared to shut down the government over this.
HH: Carly Fiorina, as always, great to talk to you. Come back early and often. We’ll see you again, hopefully not too long down the road in person, and on another debate stage. Thank you, Carly.
CF: Thanks, Hugh, all the best. Take care.
End of interview.