Fiorina opens up on Clinton, leadership, TMZ and Idaho
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IDAHO FALLS – Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina spoke to hundreds of supporters Wednesday morning during a town hall meeting at Melaleuca Global Headquarters.
The former Hewlett Packard CEO spoke about why she’s running for president and answered questions about the economy, healthcare, the rising cost of education, and numerous other topics. [NOTE: Fiorina’s speech will be posted on EastIdahoNews.com shortly.]
Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot said Fiorina has a message that resonates with people and he was grateful she could stop in Idaho Falls.
During her visit, Fiorina sat down for a brief conversation with EastIdahoNews.com reporter Nate Eaton.
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com reporter: Let’s start with the debate last night. Hillary Clinton said, “I can’t think of anything more outsider than being the first woman president.” What are your thoughts on that statement?
Carly Fiorina, Republican presidential candidate: I guess that’s the best argument she thinks she can make because she’s the ultimate insider. She is the ultimate member of the professional political class and she has spent a great deal of her life positioning to become president of the United States. She has changed her positions if necessary over and over and over to become president of the United States. I’m not running because I’m a woman, and I don’t expect people to vote for me because I would be the first woman president. I’m running because I think I’m the most qualified candidate to win the job and to do the job, and I think our nation is at a pivotal point. I happen to be a woman and there are many, many people all across this country, including in Idaho, who really can’t wait to see a debate between Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina.
Eaton:You were CEO of Hewlett-Packard. What do you think is the most important principle or skill you learned that you would apply as president?
Fiorina: I was recruited to Hewlett-Packard. It was a company in real trouble. It had a great history, but it was falling further and further behind. It had become a dysfunctional, political, sclerotic bureaucracy that was no longer leading.
Does that sound a lot like the federal government? It is. I started as a secretary and to go from secretary to CEO – what I did was run to problems. Every time I ran to a problem, I found out there were ways to solve that problem, but the only way you solve festering problems is actually challenge the status quo and produce results and solve problems. That’s what I did at Hewlett-Packard, and that’s what we need someone to do in the Oval Office.
Eaton: What’s the worst thing about running for president?
Fiorina: There are many wonderful things about running for president. You meet wonderful people. I think the thing that always surprises me is how much politics has become a fact-free zone. People just talk. Business isn’t like that. Life isn’t like that. In life, we’re used to knowing that actions speak louder than words. We’re used to being held accountable. In business I had to report results every 90 days. I had to answer every question about those results, and if I misrepresented those results I was criminally liable.
Imagine if we held politicians to this standard. It’s always amazing to me that politicians just talk. It doesn’t matter whether the facts support what they’re saying. In too many cases, it doesn’t matter whether they said something completely different two months ago. They just talk, and I think that’s dispiriting to the American people. It causes the American people to say, “It doesn’t really matter if I vote.” It matters hugely, but we need somebody who does understand that actions and results are more important than words.
Eaton: Do you know you were on TMZ the other day?
Fiorina: (laughing) Somebody told me that — I didn’t know.
Eaton: You were on TMZ. Somebody snapped a photo of you in the airport. The story read “First class bank account still flying coach. 59 million dollar presidential candidate flying Southwest.” You were there with the “regular” people. Did you ever think you’d be on TMZ and they would be talking you’re with the “normal” people flying coach?
Fiorina: I’ve been flying on regular flights for a long time. I meet a lot of supporters at airport, by the way. But no, I never thought I’d never be on TMZ, and I guess if I’m gonna be on TMZ, I’m glad they noted that I fly coach on Southwest.
Eaton: Last question – you’re in Idaho. How do you like your potatoes?
Fiorina: That’s easy – baked. I love baked potatoes.
Eaton: Any toppings?
Fiorina: Yes. I like sour cream, I like chives, I like a lot of pepper, and sometimes I like cheddar cheese too.
Eaton: Anything you want to add?
Fiorina: I’m so grateful to Idaho and Idahoans for such a wonderful reception that I got here. It’s just wonderful to be here. I guess I would also say that many of the very important mentors and colleagues that I have had in my career have been from Idaho, and so I have a personal appreciation for the character and ethic of the people from Idaho because a lot of people from Idaho took a chance on me.