Carly Fiorina

Campaign Speech in Phoenix- Sept. 11, 2015

Carly Fiorina
September 11, 2015— Phoenix, Arizona
National Federation of Republican Women Convention
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Thank you so much! Republican women I salute you, and the few men I see here too. Ladies, look at this face. This is the face of a 61 year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle. Look at all of your faces. The face of leadership, the face of leadership in our party, the party of woman's suffrage. The face of leadership in your communities, in your businesses, in your places of work and worship. Ladies, note to Democrat Party, we are not a special interest group, we are the majority of the nation. Our experiences, our views, our hopes, our dreams, our desires, are as diverse as the other half of the nation, the men.

I personally am so tired of hearing about women's issues. Every issue is a woman's issue. We care about health care, we care about national security, about education, about debt and deficits. Yes, we care about the character of our nation, we care about defunding Planned Parenthood [applause], and we care about it all. And yet, we know change is difficult, change is slow. We know it is still different for women. We know that the burdens of poverty still rest more heavily on women. The responsibilities of parenthood rest more heavily on women. We know that we do not have meritocracies everywhere. And yet, this is a time in our nation's history where it must be true that every man and every woman has an opportunity to fulfill their potential. That is why I’m running for the Presidency of the United States.

I have traveled, and lived, and worked all over the world. And I know, with certainty, that it is only in this nation that a young woman can begin her career typing, and filing and answering the phones for a nine-person real estate firm, go on eventually to leave what we turned into the largest technology company in the world, and run for the Presidency of the United States. That is only possible in this nation. And it is possible here because our founders knew something that my mother taught me, many, many years ago when I was a little girl. One Sunday morning my mother said to me in Sunday school, “what you are is God's gift to you, what you make of yourself is your gift to God”. And I have learned all throughout my life that everyone has God given gifts, that everyone has potential.

But this nation became a nation where more things have been more possible, for more people, from more places, because our founders built a nation on a visionary idea. And the visionary idea was this, that here you had a right to find and use your God-given gifts, you have a right to fulfill your potential. That is what they meant when they said Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. They said, and they said, and this was the radical part, they said that that right, to find a new your God-given gifts to fulfill your potential, that right comes from God and cannot be taken away by man or government [applause].

Ladies and gentlemen, I am running for the Presidency of the United States because we have reached a pivotal point in our nation's history. The potential of too many Americans, men and women indeed, the potential of this great nation, is being crushed. By the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, and the corruption of the federal government, and a political class that is unwilling or unable to do anything about it [applause]. We need a leader of this party, and a leader of this nation who is not afraid to challenge the status quo.

How do you go from secretary to CEO? By challenging the status quo, by solving problems, by producing results, and by leading. All of you have done the same in your lives, or you would not be here. We know as women, that sometimes we face special hurdles, special barriers. I can remember my very first business meeting after I got out of the secretarial pool. I went off to work at AT&T, where I met my husband Frank, 34 years ago. My very first business meeting, with a colleague, to meet some key clients. He came up to my desk and he said, well Carly, I guess you can't come to this meeting, because the customer wants to go to something, ironically, called the boardroom. I said well why can't I go? He said well it’s a strip club. I thought long and hard about that, and that couple hours later I went back to him, and I said, well I hope you won't feel too uncomfortable but I'll see you at the boardroom. That morning I dressed in my most severe suit, I had a little bow tie. Remember those? I got in the cab, I gave him the name and the address of the strip club, and he turned around and said, “Oh, you the new act”? I can remember the first time I became a manager, and my new boss to introduced me to my new subordinates by saying, this is Carly, and she’s our token bimbo. So, yes ladies, I know sometimes change is difficult, change is slow, but I also know that when you have a leader unafraid to challenge the status quo, that change is coming.

You know there's a big difference between managers and leaders. It's not that managers are bad people, they're not. But managers are people who operate within the system. They tinker around the edges of problems, they don't ever really challenge the status quo. They just operate within it. We've got lots of managers, in life, in business, and in politics. Leaders challenge the status quo, and produce results.

I am reminded of something a great hero of mine once said. Margaret Thatcher once addressed her fellow countrymen, and women at a pivotal point in that nation's history. She said I am not content to manage the decline of a great nation. Well ladies, neither am I, but I am prepared. I am prepared with your votes, with your support, with your prayers. I am prepared to lead the resurgence of a great nation [applause]. Whatever your issue, whatever your cause, whatever festering problem you hope would have been resolved by now by the professional political class, they have failed us [applause].

A lot of us have worked really hard to return republican majorities to the house and to return a majority to the senate, and yet we haven't passed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, we have not defunded Planned Parenthood, we haven't passed the Border Security Bill. Just last month we got a report that three hundred and seven thousand veterans have died waiting for an appointment, and not a single head has rolled in Washington DC.

Under both Democrats and Republicans alike, let us be honest, under both Democrats and Republicans alike government has gotten bigger and bigger, more and more powerful, complicated and complex. We have talked about problems for decades. This election cycle, what a surprise, we're talking once again about illegal immigration. How often do we talk about it? How long has the border been insecure? 25 years. It is time to quit talking about it, and secure the border.

San Francisco has been a sanctuary city since 1989. There are now three hundred of them in this country, are we going to talk about it, or we can elect a leader who's going do something about it? Every government agency under both Republicans and Democrats alike has gotten bigger and bigger, and while we always talk about reducing the size of government, limiting its power and scope, we still had a 73,000 page tax code. A regulatory thicket that is impenetrable, and that weight, that complexity, is crushing this nation.

We are now destroying more businesses than we are creating for the first time in US history. It is not the big getting destroyed, it is the small, community-based. The family-owned businesses that create two-thirds of the new jobs in this country, and employee half the people. This crushing, load of government is tangling people's lives up in webs of dependence. Seventy-five percent of the American people think the federal government is corrupt. Eighty-two percent of the American people now think we have a professional political class that is so focused with the preservation of its own power, privilege, and position, that it has forgotten who it is there to serve [applause]. At this pivotal point, at this pivotal point in our nation's history, we need to get this economy going and growing again. And we can only do that by recognizing who creates the jobs in this country. Small family-owned, community-based businesses.

We have to disentangle people's lives from those webs of dependence. We have to cut a 73,000 page tax code, down to about 3. We have to hack through the regulatory thicket, yes, three ladies and gentleman. So you don't need an accountant, or lawyer, lobbyist to understand it. We have to cut this bureaucracy down to size and hold it accountable, and that will take a lot of challenging the status quo. It means we have to go to some version of zero-based budgeting, we actually do need to know where our money is being spent, that's the only way you can spend less overall and yet prioritize how you spend it.

We need to go to some version of a meritocracy, so that when hundreds of thousands of veterans die without an appointment, more than two people in the VA lose their jobs. We have two hundred and fifty six thousand federal government bureaucrats, baby boomers, who are going to retire in the next four or five years. I will not replace a single one.

We need to restore leadership in the world, ladies and gentlemen, because when this nation does not lead, the world is a very dangerous and a very tragic place. We must have the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it. Which is why, we must those who have already served us. And on day one in the oval office, I will make two phone calls. On day one. The first will be to my good friend Bibi Netanyahu, to reassure him we will stand with the state of Israel always [applause]. The second phone call will be to the supreme leader of Iran. He might not take my phone call, but he will get my message. The message is this, new deal. I don't care what deal you signed with President Obama and John Kerry, new deal. Until, and unless you open every nuclear, every military facility, to real anytime, anywhere inspections by our people, not yours, we the United States of America will make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system. We can do it, we don't need anyone's permission to do it [applause]. And with those two phone calls, the message will go out around the world. Loud and clear, the United States of America is back in the leadership business.

We must win this job. We cannot lose again. So we need someone who can win this job. And I think you have seen by now, I will not shrink from a fight, I will not falter. But I will also talk to anyone, I will answer any question, I will go anywhere. Because the only way we can win this election is to talk to the American people about our party, our ideals. I was asked on The View, look, we got to go talk to those people who don't yet know they agree with us, and so I went to The View. And I was asked a question on The View, by one of their lovely hosts, I had quite a good time, we were all having good time, and she said to me, Rosie Perez, she said you know Carly, I really like you, and I’m not a Republican. I said I'm shocked, I never would have guessed this. Why are you? And I say, because I know no one of us is any better than any other one of us. Every one of us has God given gifts, every one of us has potential. Every one of us has the capacity to live a life of dignity, and purpose, and meaning. I know our values, our principles, and our policies work better to lift everyone up [applause].

This is the battle we must have in 2016. I was asked an interesting question early on in my candidacy. I was asked whether or not, it was on a Saturday morning, on national television, and I was asked whether or not I thought if a woman’s hormones prevented her from serving in the oval office. Really? So ladies let’s just think, can we think of a single instance in which a man's judgment was clouded by his hormones? [Laughter and applause].

I am not asking for your vote and your support because I am a woman. I am asking for your vote in your support because I am the most qualified candidate to win this job, and to do this job. And while winning is important, doing is even more important. At this pivotal time, doing is even more important. These festering problems that we have left unsolved, for decade after decade, the insecurity of our borders, the debts and deficits, a federal government that no longer serves. You name your problem, may have festered for too long.

So let me close by asking you to think about what it takes to actually do this job, to get the economy going and growing again, to lead in the world, to cut government down the size, and reminded who it is there to serve. It takes someone who actually understand how the economy works. Our president, our president must understand how the world works and who's in it. I have met more world leaders on the stage today, than anyone running with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton, but I didn't do photo-ops. I did business, and charity, and policy work. I have chaired the advisory board at the CIA, and advise the head of the CIA, NSA, two secretaries of Defense, Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Homeland Security. I understand the world and who is in it, and I respect our military men and women.

Our president must understand bureaucracies, and how they operate, and how to cut them down to size. She must understand technology, it is a great tool, it is a powerful weapon, and no Mrs. Clinton, and you do not wipe a server with a towel. And finally of course, she must understand what leadership is. Leadership is not about position, it is not about title, it is not about how big their office is, or how big your plane, or helicopter, or your ego. Leadership is about service. The highest calling on leadership is to unlock potential in others, and now we need a leader in the oval office who understands they must serve by unlocking the potential of this great nation.

And so I will leave you with this, I we know what this nation can be. I think we know what this nation must be. And that vision of what we can and must be, is symbolized by two of the most powerful symbols of our nation's democracy. Lady liberty and Lady Justice. Picture in your minds Lady Liberty. She stand tall and strong, as America must always be. She is clear-eyed and resolute, she doesn’t shield her eyes from the realities of the world. But she nevertheless looks out into the world, as America always must and she waves her torch high, because she knows she is a beacon of hope in a very troubled world. And Lady Justice. Lady Justice holds a sword by one side, because she is a fighter, she is a warrior for the values and the principles that have made this nation great. She holds a scale in the other hand, and with that scale she said, all of us are equal in the eyes of God, and so all of us must be equal in the eyes of the law and government, powerful and power-less alike. And she wears a blindfold, and with that blindfold I think she tells us that it must be true, it can be true, that in this nation, in this century, it does not matter what you look like, it does not matter who you are, it does not matter how you start, it does not matter your circumstances, here in this nation every American’s life must be filled with the possibilities that come from their God-given gifts. One nation, under God, indivisible. With liberty and justice for all.

Thank you so very much ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, thank you.

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