HH: Big wins across New Jersey and Virginia last night have Republicans smiling about their prospects in 2010. One of the races people are going to look at very hard is whether or not the ultra-liberal Barbara Boxer can finally be retired. To do that will require a candidate who’s got fight in his or her soul. One of those who wants that nomination is Carly Fiorina, longtime executive. She now joins me. Carly, welcome to the program, and you got into the race today.
CF: Hey, thank you, Hugh, it’s great to be with you. It’s great to be with you on day one of the campaign. I’m very excited.
HH: Now you obviously are new to elected politics. You helped John McCain out a lot, and obviously running Hewlett-Packard, you had to know about the government. Why do you want to go into the elected side?
CF: Well, because I realize that the decisions the U.S. Senate makes impact every family and every business in America. And I think frankly, what Washington needs more of is action, not talk, and people who actually know how to solve problems. And I bring a long track record of solving problems to the table. I guess I would also say that you know, our founding fathers clearly envisioned a citizen government, by, for and of the people. And professional politicians are a modern invention, not a particularly good one.
HH: Now Carly Fiorina, give people a little idea of your background. If they’re just tuning in for the first time, they’ve seen you on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and that kind of stuff. Run them through the bio.
CF: Well, I grew up with a law professor father and a stay at home mom. I went to, I moved here when I was seven years old, went through elementary school, junior high and high school here, went to Stanford University, got a degree in, believe it or not, medieval history and philosophy, so I read a lot of Thomas Aquinas, and then went to UCLA Law School for a semester, dropped out, and needed to pay the bills. So I did what I did throughout college, which was I became a receptionist. I typed and filed and answered the phones for a local company, and that really was my first introduction into business. Eventually went on and got an MBA, and joined what was at the time the Bell system with a million employees, and have worked my way up.
HH: Now you worked your way up all the way to the top of Hewlett-Packard. Now Carly Fiorina, you’ve had a very tough year. You are a breast cancer survivor, you lost your daughter this year. In terms of the emotional rigors of this year, how did that affect your decision making about going forward with this Senate race?
CF: Yes, well, it has been a tough year. Cancer, of course, was very difficult, and the loss of our daughter was even more difficult. It’s an unspeakable tragedy. On the other hand, you know, there are blessings in all things. And my faith and my family has sustained me. And I feel actually even more determined to make the most of my life, and to make a difference for the people of California. And I think this is an opportunity to do so.
HH: Now tell us a little bit about your faith. Are you a Roman Catholic?
CF: My husband is Catholic. I actually was raised Episcopalian.
HH: Because you were studying Thomas Aquinas when you did your medieval history thing.
CF: Yes, exactly, and Maimonides, and you know, so I’ve studied philosophers from Christianity, Judaism and Islam, actually.
HH: And are you prolife?
CF: I am, yes. I believe that life begins at conception, and that we should be devoting our efforts not to the federal funding of abortion, which I am certainly against, but rather to giving young women and girls who face this terrible choice access to adoptions, and that we ought to be working together, even with people who don’t agree with us that life is precious, and that it begins at conception, to limit the number of abortions in this country.
HH: Now let me ask you, if you win the primary against Chuck DeVore, a very fine conservative, friend of mine, friend of the show, if you win the primary, you’ll be up against Barbara Boxer, who absolutely has no restraint. Ever since she took out Bruce Herschensohn with a lie, and she and Bob Mulholland, I mean, they’re nasty people, Carly Fiorina, when it comes to politics. Are you prepared for this?
CF: Yeah, well they are, and Barbara Boxer, to your point, has taken the low road to high office over and over again. I am prepared for it. First, just, you know, to be blunt, I was talking about blessings in tough times. I mean, after chemotherapy, Barbara Boxer isn’t very scare anymore. You know, cancer puts many things in perspective. But I also think that we know what to expect from Barbara Boxer. We know what to expect from her, because she’s been attacking me for the last nine months. She, you know, spins out this fictional tale of my time as a CEO. She says, you know, we destroyed jobs when actually yes, we had to go through some tough times, but we ended up creating jobs. And I think we’re going to win not simply by combating her falsehoods. We’re going to win by reminding the people of California of her record. She does not represent the interests of the people of California, as evidenced by her voting record. And she hasn’t accomplished anything by virtue of the fact that she’s only managed to pass three bills in her long three terms, and one of them was naming a river, and one of them was naming a courthouse, and so those two don’t count. And I also think we’re going to win by talking about the things that California voters care about, which are jobs and out of control federal government spending.
HH: Now Carly Fiorina, in terms of your website, what is it, by the way?
CF: It’s www.carlyforcalifornia.com.
CF: That’s right, and it’s a terrific website. I think your listeners can look forward to the fact that we’re going to use technology very aggressively and well, and they can see a replay of my announcement this morning. We streamed it live onto the website, but it’s up there, and there’s some photographs from the event this morning. So I think it’s an exciting place to go.
HH: Now obviously, it’s California. It’s going to be a very expensive race. You have means. You’ve done very well for yourself. On the other hand, we learned last night from Jon Corzine’s defeat that self-funding is a narcotic that can disguise the rotten timbers in a campaign. How are you going to approach campaign financing?
CF: Yeah, well first of all, I am not self-funding this campaign. And the reasons for doing that, A) reports of my wealth are greatly exaggerated, although my husband and I have been very fortunate. But I actually think we will win because we gain broad base support. And we need to communicate and connect with a broad base of voters all across this state. And one of the most demonstrable ways of highlighting that support is for someone to give, whether it’s a dollar, or five dollars, or more if they can afford it.
HH: Now in terms of the key issues of the conservative primary electorate, now it’s very interesting, we’ve got two conservatives running on the Republican Senate side, moderate Republicans in Poizner, Campbell and in Meg Whitman running for the governor’s race. How do you see the race with Chuck shaping up?
CF: Well, certainly the voters of California, the primary voters, are going to make that decision. But I guess I would say I’m somewhat disappointed that Chuck continues to mischaracterize and misrepresent my views and my positions. I am prolife, I believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, I am a fiscal conservative, I signed a taxpayer protection pledge this morning. I am absolutely going to be focused on curtailing wasteful government spending, so I think I share the values of primary voters here in California, and I can beat Barbara Boxer.
HH: Do you enjoy this? We’ve got about thirty seconds, Carly Fiorina. Do you like the process?
CF: And I’m so sorry, Hugh. A big jet plane just flew by, and I couldn’t hear your question.
HH: I was wondering. I just asked you if you like the whole business of campaigning and pressing the flesh.
CF: I do. People give me energy. I draw my strength from people, and I love meeting them and hearing their stories.
End of interview.