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 thoughts on the Democrats’ “war on women” messaging strategy and the foundations for her pro-life beliefs.
As Breitbart News reported, Fiorina is scheduled to announce she is running for president on 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.
Breitbart News asked Fiorina about her thoughts on the Democrats’ “war on women” strategy and how they had been successful, to at least some extent, in branding the Republican party and its candidates as antagonistic to women. Fiorina pointed to the political action committee, the Unlocking Potential Project, that she launched last year, which “focused specifically on talking with women about why conservative principles work better to lift everyone up, men and women, and pushing back against the war on women.”
We had a great deal of success in the five states where we focused our efforts. I can’t speak for the whole party, but what I can say is that, as a woman, I find it insulting when Democrats talk about “women’s issues” — I mean, every issue is a woman’s issue.
We’re 53 percent of the vote; we’re the majority of Americans. And so women care about the economy, and jobs, and health care, and education, and immigration, and national security, and debts and deficits. There’s no question that the Democrats play identity politics…it’s called “divide and conquer.” And there’s no question that Hillary Clinton wants to be able to run on the war on women.
And so, I think what we need to do, what I will continue to do, is talk with men and women about all of the issues. I think our tone matters. There are a lot of women who are really struggling, and they deserve our empathy and our support, but we also can’t back off of our principles.
This was the key to success for the GOP, said Fiorina, who noted that she “ran in California as a proud pro-life conservative,” which is something that is not done “unless you really mean it.”
I won a lot of Democratic and Independent votes because even on a very emotional issue like abortion, when I talk it through with women — who may not agree with me — we managed to find common ground on issues like late-term abortion or the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
You know, the majority of young people and women now believe that abortion after five months is problematic, so even on that issue, there is an opportunity to find common ground if we will have a reasonable conversation instead of just hurling vitriolic sound bites at each other…
[The Democrats’] policy, which I point out to men and women and women all the time, their policy really is what Barbara Boxer said when I ran against her in 2010: life is a life when it leaves the hospital. And the vast majority of Americans do not agree with that.
But I think the Democrats have a sense that if they start to give on that issue and be reasonable, then they’ve opened up the debate about well, when is it a life? And I think they’re afraid to have that debate. Meanwhile, I think from my point of view, we need to take common ground where we can find it, because that’s progress.
Breitbart News asked Fiorina to share the reasons why she personally is pro-life. Fiorina replied that there were many factors, including the values she learned growing up “in a family of faith,” but one experience she had a young woman really reached her, when her best friend asked her to come with her when she had an abortion:
I accompanied my best friend, because she was having an abortion, and I watched what that did to her. I watched how she was dealt with at that abortion clinic, the fact that she really wasn’t presented with any options…
One of the things that struck me as so sad is, she was never really encouraged to even evaluate that choice. It was sad, because I think she would have been a less tortured woman later, had she thought carefully about the choice that [she was making].
Her husband’s mother was encouraged to abort him, and learning this had a profound effect on Fiorina:
When I met my husband, I learned that his mother had been told to abort him…she was a woman of great courage and faith, who, despite the advice of her doctors, she went ahead and brought her son into the world, and while she spent a year in the hospital following his birth, he was the joy of her life and he is the rock of mine. And I’ve thought a lot about how different my life would be if she had made a different choice.
Fiorina concluded by saying that “science is proving us right every day now,” noting “the DNA in a zygote is exactly the same as the DNA the day you die,” as well as the increasing numbers of successful in utero surgeries during the last decade, some as early as sixteen weeks. “I think the longer this conversation goes on,” she said, “the more scientific evidence is presented, the more people begin to realize that, no, the Democrats really have the extreme position here.”
Read Part I of Breitbart News’ exclusive interview with Carly Fiorina, discussing her thoughts on the protests in Baltimore, here. Part II of the interview, discussing her experiences on the campaign trail and ideas for improving the economy, is here.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.