MARTHA MACCALLUM: Now we go to Carly Fiorina. Carly, you were CEO of Hewlett-Packard. You ran for Senate and lost in California in 2010. This week, you said “Margaret Thatcher was not content to manage a great nation in decline, and neither am I.”
Given your current standings in the polls, is the Iron Lady comparison a stretch?
CARLY FIORINA: Well, I would begin by reminding people that at this point in previous presidential elections, Jimmy Carter couldn’t win, Ronald Reagan couldn’t win, Bill Clinton couldn’t win, and neither could’ve Barack Obama.
I started as a secretary and became ultimately the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world, almost $90 billion in over 150 countries. I know personally how extraordinary and unique this nation is.
I think to be commander in chief in the 21st century requires someone who understands how the economy works, someone who understands how the world works and who’s in it; I know more world leaders on the stage today than anyone running, with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton; understands bureaucracies, how to cut them down to size and hold them accountable; and understands technology, which is a tool, but it’s also a weapon that’s being used against us.
Most importantly, I think I understand leadership, which sometimes requires a tough call in a tough time. But mostly, the highest calling of leadership is to challenge the status-quo and unlock the potential of others. We need a leader who will lead the resurgence of this great nation and unlock its potential once again.
MACCALLUM: Alright, I want to ask that same question, because it’s true, really, of all of you on this stage that, like it or not, Donald Trump is — there’s a huge disparity between the poll numbers that you have and the poll numbers that he has, given also the fact that Rudy Giuliani said he thought that there may be some Reagan qualities to Donald Trump.
So Carly Fiorina, is he getting the better of you?
FIORINA: Well, I don’t know. I didn’t get a phone call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race. Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton? I didn’t. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t given money to the foundation or donated to his wife’s Senate campaign.
Here’s the thing that I would ask Donald Trump in all seriousness. He is the party’s frontrunner right now, and good for him.
I think he’s tapped into an anger that people feel. They’re sick of politics as usual. You know, whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hoped would resolved, the political class has failed you. That’s just a fact, and that’s what Donald Trump taps into.
I would also just say this. Since he has changed his mind on amnesty, on health care and on abortion, I would just ask, what are the principles by which he will govern?
MACCALLUM: All right. This question to Carly Fiorina. The FBI director Comey says that terrorists can thrive here at home because they go dark and they recruit behind the cyber walls that are built by American companies like Google and Apple.
Comey says this is a big problem. Rand Paul says that the government forcing these companies to bring down those walls would be a big privacy issue and a dangerous way to go on this. You’ve been a tech leader in this country. Which side are you on?
FIORINA: Let me say first that it is disturbing that every time one of these home-grown terrorist attacks occurs, and, as your question points out, they are occurring with far too great frequency, it turns out we had warning signals.
It turns out we knew something was wrong. It turns out some dot wasn’t connected, and so the first thing we have to do is make sure that everyone and every responsible agency is attuned to all of these possibilities and symptoms.
We even had warnings about the Boston Marathon bombers, and yet the dots weren’t connected. So we need to get on a different mindset.
Secondly, I certainly support that we need to tear down cyber walls, not on a mass basis, but on a targeted basis. But let me just say that we also need down — to tear down the cyber walls that China is erecting, that Russia is erecting.
We need to be very well aware of the fact that China and Russia are using technology to attack us, just as ISIS is using technology to recruit those who would murder American citizens. I do not believe that we need to wholesale destroy every American citizen’s privacy in order to go after those that we know are suspect or are — are already a problem. But yes, there is more collaboration required between private sector companies and the public sector. And specifically, we know that we could have detected and repelled some of these cyber attacks if that collaboration had been permitted. A law has been sitting — languishing, sadly, on Capitol Hill and has not yet been passed, and it would help.
MACCALLUM: So, would you tonight call for Google and Apple to cooperate in these Investigations and let the FBI, in where they need to go?
FIORINA: I absolutely would call on them to collaborate and cooperate, yes.
MACCALLUM: Alright. I want to go to Carly Fiorina on this, but I want to ask you some of what I just asked to Governor Perry.
The issue is that the allies that we are with sometimes have groups within them that funnel money to terrorists as well. This is a complicated situation. Are you OK with us being on their side?
FIORINA: Yeah. Sometimes it’s a complicated situation, but some things are black and white.
On day one in the Oval Office, I would make two phone calls. The first one would be to my good friend, Bibi Netanyahu, to reassure him we will stand with the State of Israel.
The second will be to the supreme leader of Iran. He might not take my phone call, but he would get the message, and the message is this: Until you open every nuclear and every military facility to full, open, anytime/anywhere, for real, inspections, we are going to make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system.
I hope Congress says no to this deal. But realistically, even if they do, the money is flowing.
China and Russia have never been on our side of the table. The Europeans have moved on. We have to stop the money flow. And by the way, as important as those two phone calls are, they are also very important because they say this. America is back in the leadership business. And when America does not lead, the world is a dangerous and a tragic place.
This is a bad deal. Obama broke every rule of negotiation. Yes, our allies are not perfect. But Iran is at the heart of most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East through their proxies.
MACCALLUM: Very, very briefly, would you help our allies in that region to get nuclear weapons if Iran has them?
FIORINA: Let me tell you what I would do immediately, day two in the Oval Office. I would hold a Camp David summit with our Arab allies, not to talk them into this lousy deal with Iran, but to say to them, “what is it that you need to defeat ISIL?”
You know, Obama has presented the American people with a false choice every time. It’s what I’ve done or not done, or it’s war. It is a false choice.
King Abdullah of Jordan, a man I’ve known for a long time, has been asking for bombs and material. We have not provided them. He has gone to China.
The Kurds have been asking us to arm them for three years. We haven’t done so.
The Egyptians have asked us to share intelligence. We’re not doing it. We have Arab allies.
They are not perfect. I know every one. But they need to see leadership, support and resolve from the United States of America, and we can help them defeat ISIS.
HEMMER: First [executive] order, Carly Fiorina?
FIORINA: I agree with my colleagues. We need to begin by undoing — I would begin by undoing a whole set of things that President Obama has done, whether it’s illegal amnesty or this latest round of EPA regulations. But let me go back to something that’s very important. We have been debating right here the core difference between conservatism and progressivism.
Conservatives, I am a conservative because I believe no one of us is any better than any other one of us. Every one of us is gifted by God, whether it is those poor babies being picked over or it’s someone whose life is tangled up in a web of dependence.
Progressives don’t believe that. They believe some are smarter than others, some are better than others, so some are going to need to take care of others.
That is the fight we have to have, and we have to undo a whole set of things that President Obama has done that get at the heart of his disrespect and disregard for too many Americans.
MCCALLUM: Moving on to the next question, President Obama promised hope and change for the country, yet 60% of Americans are not satisfied with the shape that the country is in right now. Many think that America has lost its “can do” spirit and that it’s not the nation that it once was.
Ronald Reagan was confronted with a similar atmosphere, and he said that it could be morning in America again. JFK said it was a new frontier. FDR said that we had nothing to fear but fear itself.
On this level, Carly Fiorina, can you inspire this nation?
FIORINA: This is a great nation. It is a unique nation in all of human history and on the face of the planet, because here, our founders believed that everyone has a right to fulfill their potential and that that right –they called it life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness — comes from God and cannot be taken away by government.
We have arrived at a point in our nation’s history where the potential of this nation and too many Americans is being crushed by the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government, and only someone who will challenge the status quo of Washington, D.C. can lead the resurgence of this great nation.
I will do that.
HEMMER: Carly Fiorina, closing statement.
FIORINA: Hillary Clinton lies about Benghazi, she lies about e-mails. She is still defending Planned Parenthood, and she is still her party’s frontrunner. 2016 is going to be a fight between conservatism, and a Democrat party that is undermining the very character of this nation. We need a nominee who is going to throw every punch, not pull punches, and someone who cannot stumble before he even gets into the ring.
I am not a member of the political class. I am a conservative; I can win this job, I can do this job, I need your help, I need your support. I will, with your help and support, lead the resurgence of this great nation. Thank you.