In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News just a few days before she is set to enter the 2016 presidential race, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina discussed her experiences on the campaign trail and her ideas for improving the economy.
As Breitbart News reported, Fiorina is scheduled to announce she is running for president this upcoming Monday, May 4. Fiorina has a lengthy professional résumé but has never held political office before. In 2010, she unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for California’s Senate seat, a state that she is careful to remind voters is a “deep blue state.”
Considered a long shot for the White House, she has nonetheless impressed conservative audiences this year with passionate speeches at CPAC and several recent events in early primary states. Her sharp critiques of Hillary Clinton have led many Republicans to welcome her entry into the race, if for no other reason than to help support the party’s message against the current Democratic frontrunner. Craig Robinson, founder and editor of TheIowaRepublican.com, wrote this week that Fiorina was “well liked and respected by Iowa Republican activists” and “is going to be a surprise on caucus night if she keeps it up.”
Breitbart News asked Fiorina about her recent travels to early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. “It’s not for the weather, I assure you,” quipped Fiorina, a California resident. She was enthusiastic in describing her interactions with voters there, saying that she had received “really tremendous encouragement and support.”
“Literally every event we go to, we get more people than we expect,” said Fiorina. “People are really eager to hear what I have to say, eager to get to know me a little better, and so I’m really encouraged by every stop along the way. And while the weather has not been ideal, honestly, it’s very invigorating… I’m enjoying it, it’s fun, it’s great to meet all these folks.”
In contrast to her 2010 campaign, “if anything, there is more angst in America today,” said Fiorina.
There is deep disquiet, because here we are in 2015, and things are not appreciably better [than they were in 2010]. In fact, if you look back at the number of people who have fallen into poverty, it’s worse. If you look at the number of people who are on food stamps, it’s worse. If you look at the number of businesses that have failed, it’s worse. If you look at the vast overreaching and complexity, and corruption, and abuse, in the federal government, which we’ve documented year after year after year, it’s worse.
When asked what about her message Fiorina thought resonated best with these audiences, she replied, “I honestly think that people are tired of politics as usual. I think they’re tired of sound bites, the vitriol, the arguing back and forth without much substantively changing, and I think they very much appreciate someone who understands how the economy works, how the world works, and how big bureaucracies work. Talking about what we can actually do to solve problems and move ahead, not just talk about them.”
Regarding how to solve America’s economic problems, Fiorina said that the issue is not what the government should do but rather what it should undo, advocating for peeling back the layers of taxes and regulations that impact smaller businesses the most:
Specifically, we’re now for the first time in U.S. history destroying more businesses than we’re creating. That’s a pretty scary statistic. And the businesses that are failing and getting destroyed are small businesses, family-owned businesses, new businesses. That’s really important because those kinds of businesses create two-thirds of the new jobs that employ half the people.
I started out at a nine-person real estate firm. My husband started off at a family-run auto body shop. It’s where most Americans start.
Big companies are doing just fine. Because big companies can deal with big government. But little companies can’t. And so what you see on Main Streets all across America, you see communities that are not vibrant anymore. And one of the reasons is because the Main Street businesses that have created economic growth in those communities are really struggling, because they don’t have the resources to deal with all this complexity and rules and this power that flows down from the federal government.
And so we have to start undoing some things. Literally, undoing some things. Undoing the complexity of the tax code. Undoing the regulatory thicket. So that these economic drivers can breathe and flourish.
Breitbart News asked Fiorina for some more specifics on what exactly she would “undo.” Fiorina responded by first talking about the Dodd-Frank legislation, which she blamed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being able to continue without needed reforms. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the common names for the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), respectively, and are government-sponsored enterprises that were created to expand the secondary market for mortgages. The two were heavily involved in the mortgage crisis and housing bubble.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were, according to Fiorina, “the original start of the financial crisis,” and she blamed both Republicans and Democrats for supporting these programs and not reforming them, with devastating consequences for the American economy, including community banks:
Dodd-Frank has taken ten banks too big to fail and turned them into five banks too big to fail. And now we have three thousand community banks that have gone out of business. And they’ve gone out of business because they can’t handle the complexity and the requirements.
So, yes, we have to start over, and we might want to start by reforming Fannie and Freddie that started this whole business in the first place, or the twenty-five agencies that still exist in the federal government that were asleep at the switch.
In addition to Dodd-Frank, Fiorina – like many of her fellow Republican aspirants to the White House – wishes to “dramatically simplify” the tax code:
The tax code is now somewhere between twenty-six and fifty thousand pages…I hear people talk about tax reform, and clearly we have to lower rates, but we have to simplify the tax code dramatically. Look, a company or a wealthy individual can figure out all the loopholes in those tens of thousands of pages that advantage them, but a regular family, or a small business, they don’t have the time and the resources.
Read Part I of Breitbart News’ exclusive interview with Carly Fiorina here. The last section of the interview with Fiorina, discussing her pro-life beliefs, will be published this weekend.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.