Fiorina jumps into GOP presidential race – USA TODAY
Carly Fiorina made it official Monday, announcing she will seek the Republican nomination for president with a campaign that figures to stress economic and gender issues.
“I understand how the economy actually works,” the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard told ABC’s Good Morning America.
Fiorina — who has never held public office — will likely be the only woman woman in an increasingly crowded Republican field.
In the weeks leading up to Monday’s announcement, Fiorina has said business experience will enable her to address economic problems that she blames on President Obama.
Nominating a woman to lead the Republican ticket, she added, would neutralize whatever gender advantage is enjoyed by potential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“If Hillary Clinton were to face a (Republican) female nominee, there are a whole set of things that she won’t be able to talk about,” Fiorina told reporters last month.
During her ABC interview, Fiorina said Clinton, the former secretary of state, has not been “transparent” about her State Department e-mails, the 2012 attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, and contributions to the foundation of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
“She is clearly not trustworthy,” Fiorina said of the Democratic front-runner.
Fiorina also hit Clinton in an announcement video, saying that voters are tired of “the professional political class.”
While a currently a blip in national polls, Fiorina said that “it’s time for us to empower our citizens.”
Fiorina’s business record is also a likely target for opponents, given her forced removal from the top job at Hewlett-Packard in 2005. She also lacks political experience and lost her only previous race for public office, a 2010 bid to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
The latest Republican candidate plans to start her official campaign with an online town hall Monday via the app Periscope. Fiorina also plans a tour of early caucus and primary states over the next several days, including stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
She also has book coming out Tuesday entitled “Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey.” The memoir includes accounts of Fiorina’s bout with breast cancer and the death of a stepchild.
A native of Austin, Texas, the 60-year-old Fiorina began her corporate career with AT&T in 1980, eventually rising to become a senior vice president. She later became an executive for an AT&T spinoff, Lucent.
Fiorina became chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard in July of 1999, a job she held until February of 2005 when the board of directors dismissed her.
Among the disputes: Fiorina’s attempts to restructure the company, including a contested merger with Compaq. Board members criticized Fiorina, saying the merger with the personal computer giant undercut HP’s traditional business of selling printers.
Fiorina described the board as dysfunctional, and has suggested that gender played a role in her dismissal.
“Men understand other men’s need for respect, but they don’t always understand women’s need for respect,” Fiorina told The Hill. “The situation that transpired in the boardroom was all about certain board members wanting to protect their position when they felt threatened, because their behavior was against the code of conduct, and they knew that I as a leader would not tolerate that conduct.”
In recent years, she has started new businesses — including Carly Fiorina Enterprises — and become more involved in politics.
Fiorina served as an adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. Two years later, she entered the political ring herself by challenging Boxer, losing to the incumbent senator 52%-42%.
In recent weeks, Fiorina has cited the challenges of running as a Republican in Democratic California. “I ran as a proud, pro-life conservative — you don’t do that in California unless you really mean it,” she said recently. “That race taught me something: Only a conservative can unify this party.”
Fiorina, who has also chaired the American Conservative Union, joins a rapidly expanding Republican field.
Three sitting U.S. senators — Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz — have formally declared their campaigns. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former heart surgeon Ben Carson are slated to announce their campaign plans later this week.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are expected to join the Republican race in the coming weeks.