Carly Fiorina

Q&A at the Iowa State Fair- August 17, 2015

Carly Fiorina
August 17, 2015— Des Moines, Iowa
Iowa State Fair
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Thank you I am so thrilled to be engaged in this great tradition and ritual of presidential politics. And you know I have to always set the record straight when someone introduces me so graciously, yes I have had a life that is only possible here in the United States of America, its only possible here that a young woman can start out as a secretary and go on to eventually run for the presidency of the United States. [Applause]

But I, like everyone else in life, have had my share of hardship as well. I battled cancer and in that battle learned the power of love and the solace of faith. We lost our younger daughter Lori to the demons of addiction so I know as well that each one of us sometimes needs a helping hand, and someone to take a chance on us. But I'm not going to give you a speech today, because I want to answer as many questions as I can. And to get the ball rolling I'm going to tell you about a question I was asked. Early on in my presidential race, I was asked on a national television program whether a woman's hormones prevented her from serving in the oval office. So, can we think of a single instance in which a man’s judgment might have been clouded by his hormones, any at all? [Applause]

Question: What I would like to ask you is about raising the minimum wage and how that would impact the tax receipts to the US treasury, and additional funds coming in to social security and Medicare?

Answer: So the question is about raising minimum wage. So, first I believe that minimum wage should be a state decision and not a federal decision. Why? Because it makes no sense to say that the minimum wage in New York City is the same as the minimum wage in Mason City, Iowa. That makes no sense. Secondly, we have to remember, that a lot of minimum wage jobs are jobs where people start. And in those jobs they learn skills to move forward. So we need to be honest about the consequences of raising a minimum wage too high. One of the consequences is that young people who are trapped in poor neighborhoods will have less opportunity to learn skills and move forward. You know I started out as a secretary and nine person real estate firm. My husband Frank started out as a tow truck driver in a family owned auto-body shop. And I tell young people all the time don't worry about getting the perfect job just get a job, any job. [Applause] Because in every job you will learn things. You will learn things about yourself, you’ll learn things about the world around, you’ll learn skills that you can use to get a better job. So we need to understand where real growth in jobs from. It doesn't come from the federal government telling businesses how much to pay their workers. Actually where jobs come from are little companies, little businesses, family-owned businesses and farms like I started out in, like many of you started out in. In fact those small family-owned businesses and farms create two-thirds of the new jobs in this country, they employ half the people. And we are crushing them. Under the weight, the complexity, the cost, the power of a federal government that frankly advantages the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected and is crushing the small and the powerless. We are now destroying more small businesses than creating for the first time in US history. And every time we destroy a small business or we destroy a community bank, we are destroying the opportunity for someone to get that first job, learn skills, and get a better job. [Applause]

Question: I am an inventor and there are a couple of patent reform bills coming through congress, so if you could feed into that discussion and just add what is your opinion on that reform and [inaudible].

Answer: Yes, so, this gentleman is an inventor. Good for him because this country was built on innovation and entrepreneurship and small business ownership. You know what goes on in Washington DC, is big companies get together with a professional political class and they write the rules so that they advantage the big and they make sure they understand the rules going forward. Who is it you might ask, just as an example, who was it that was trying to crush Uber? Taxicab companies, limo companies, they are getting together with government regulators and saying keep those innovators out of here. There is a patent bill the gentleman referenced the fact that there is a patent reform bill wending its way through congress in supposedly is going to reform the patent system like many things that Washington DC does. What they ought to be doing is actually using the laws that we have to punish those who are violating the law but this bill which is written by big companies and politicians would cause, it would call say a Thomas Edison a patent troll. It would call you potentially a patent troll. So we always need to be very careful when big pieces of legislation moving their way through congress, generally speaking there's a big company behind it. There are bunch of professional politicians who were being lobbied strongly by companies want to get the rules in place and they crush the small and the powerless. So I have lobbied against that bill for many many months now. [Applause]

Question: Not audible

Answer: So the question was about drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Look, we must be, we can be, we will be under a President Fiorina the global energy powerhouse of the 21st century. We have the resources to do this, we have the expertise to do it, and yes of course we must be responsible stewards of our resources and of our lands and of our planet. But all of the people who tell us that we can’t do this, we can’t drill, we can’t keep the coal industry going, they all cite the science of climate change. Let me tell you what the scientists say. If you want to quote science you got to read the fine print. All the scientists that tell us that climate change is real and man-made also tell us this, a single nation acting alone will make no difference at all. So we can destroy every job in this country, can destroy the coal industry, we can destroy the agriculture industry. By the way EPA, as of the end of this month, the Environmental Protection Agency will control 95 percent of the water in this state. Just like they have controlled the water in California for decades, and as a result the agriculture industry in California is in deep trouble. We can destroy all of these jobs in this nation. We can destroy industries of this nation at the altar of Science but here’s the truth ladies and gentlemen- those livelihoods and lives are being destroyed not at the altar science, but at the altar of ideology. This is about ideology it is not about science. [Applause] So one of the reasons to be the global energy powerhouse of the 21st century, whether that is ethanol, renewable fuels, growing, exporting, natural gas, whatever it is. One of the reasons to be the global energy powerhouse of the 21st century is not just because it creates jobs, it's not just because it makes it harder for the bad guys to be quite so bad. It’s also because we need strong industries in order to be able to innovate and the answer to issues now use innovation not regulation. [Applause]

Question: I wondered if you, in your short time today, would just give us a brief view of the Iran/ Iraq/ Afghanistan/ ISIS situation, and including our military situation.

Answer: So the question is about Iran, ISIS, and a set of foreign policy issues that are critically important. Let me begin by saying that I know more world leaders on the stage today than anyone else running. With the possible exception of Hillary Clinton, only I didn’t do photo ops. I had substantive meetings, and so I know. I know whether it is sitting with Vladimir Putin privately or sitting with Bibi Netanyahu privately or doing business in China for decades or understanding many of our Arab allies, I know this. When The United States of America does not stand with our allies, and confront our advisories the world is a very dangerous place. So these are the principles that I would apply. First, we must have the strongest military on the face of the planet and everyone has to know. Second, we must care for those who have served us. It is a stain on our nation’s honor that the DA has been broken for 20 years. And the professional political class in Washington DC talks a lot about fixing a lot of things but somehow they have never fixed that. We know someone in the Oval office that knows how to translate a good speech into results, I do. Third, on day one in the Oval office I will make 2 phone calls. The first will be to my good friend Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him that we will stand with the state of Israel. The second will be to the supreme leader of Iran. Realistically, he might not take my phone call. He will get the message. And the message is this- new deal, new deal. Until you open every military and nuclear facility to real anytime, anywhere inspections, the United States of America without anyone else’s permission or collaboration, we’ll make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system. We can do that, we must do that. I earnestly hope that congress will vote down this deal, but we should be realistic. The rest of the world has moved on. China and Russia have never been negotiating on our side of the table but money is flowing. We have to cut off the money flow. Those two phone calls are critically important, they are also a signal. Loud and clear, to every ally we have and every adversary we have the United States of America is back in the leadership business. [Applause]. Two more quick points on this. I would not call Vladimir Putin, we have spoken way too often to him. But, I would immediately begin rebuilding the sixth fleet. I would immediately begin rebuilding the missile defense program, I would move military in and out of the Baltic States and conduct aggressive military exercises and Mr. Putin would get the message. [Applause] And finally I would hold a Camp David summit, immediately, with our Arab allies who know ISIS is their fight, but they have asked for very specific things. King Abdullah of Jordan, a man that I have known for a very long time, has asked us for bombs and material, we have not supplied them. He is fighting ISIS on the ground as we speak. So he is going to China trying to get that help. The Egyptians have asked us to share intelligence, we haven’t, I would. The Curds have been asking us to arm them for three years, we haven’t, I will. The point is that our Arab allies know this is their fight, and they are prepared to fight it and ISIS must be defeated. But they cannot fight it, without leadership and support and resolve from the United States of America. [Applause]

Question: Not Audible

Answer: So the question is about Alzheimer’s, I lost my father to Alzheimer’s. So, I understand. The heartbreak of this disease. Many of you, who, have perhaps followed my campaign for a while know that I believe that the government is broken. Huge, powerful, inept, corrupt. By the way, 75 percent of the American people agree with me. That does not mean that there are not things that we should be investing in. We need to be investing in research around these critical diseases. Just as we need to be investing more in mental health, for example. Or in treatment of drug addiction, something I also know very close to my heart. But it is amazing to me that every time that we say there is something important that we need to invest more in, the federal government says, “I need more money”. You want me to secure the border? How long as the border been insecure, by the way. Twenty-five years, twenty- five years. We need more money. You want to repair roads and bridges, we need more money. You want to invest in Alzheimer's research we need more money. How can it be that the federal government gets more money every single year, and has been doing so for 50 years? Debts and deficits increase every year and has been going on for a really long time and yet the important things always cost more money. I'll tell you how was possible, because we never look at how we're spending the money. In fact we don't even know anymore how we’re spending our money. And every year and appropriations hearing the only thing that gets talked about is the rate of increase over last year's budget. It’s why every agency just gets bigger and bigger and bigger and guess what, when you have a big bloated bureaucracy that gets more money every year there's no consequence for failure to perform, and no reward for good performance, guess what happens? It quits performing. So the federal government means less money. That's why we need tax reform that is revenue-neutral but not revenue reducing, we need to hold people accountable for their performance which means we have to go to some kind of paper or performance environment. We need to go to some version of zero-based budgeting so we actually know where all our money is being spent. And ultimately, the federal government must invest in those things that are truly important. Like research for cures of basic diseases. Or the strongest military on the face of the planet. Or securing the border. The government has to invest in those things that are important and quit spending money on those things that are not important, or do not work, or are not its job. [Applause]

Question: Not Audible

Answer: So the question is about big companies that have too much influence, what is the plan to curb that? Ask yourself a basic question. If something is so complicated that you don’t understand it, what do you suppose the chances are that you get taken advantage of? [Shouting from the crowd: one hundred percent] One hundred percent, you are right sir. Here’s the thing, if we want to stop the spread of Crony capitalism, what we must do is not just reduce the size and power and weight of the federal government, we must simplify. A 73,000 page tax code. Look, the time I left Hewlett-Packard after six years of leadership there, we had turned it into an almost 90 billion dollar firm. We led in every product category and every market segment. If I didn’t like a 73,000 page tax code, I could hire loads of accountants and lawyers and lobbyists. To figure out how to take advantage of all of that complexity. But the nine-person real estate firm that I started out in, they can’t handle it. The reason we are destroying more businesses than we’re creating now was because of a small business cannot handle the weight, the complexity. So the only way to level the playing field is to simplify, dramatically. Every time the federal government passes a law that puts it deeper into an industry, what happens? The big get bigger, if you doubt that look at Dodd-Frank. What is the result of Dodd-Frank? 10 Wall Street banks who helped write that bill, by the way, have become five even bigger more powerful Wall Street banks and thousands of community banks of going out of business. What happened to Obamacare? The health insurance companies helped write that bill and what do you see happening right now. The health insurance companies are getting bigger drug companies are getting bigger and meanwhile small hospitals are going out of business. The only way to curb the power of the big, the powerful, the wealthy, and the well-connected is to simplify. Because if you have a three-page tax code that anybody can read and anybody can fill out you don't need to hire mountains of accountants and lawyers and lobbyists to figure it out. [Applause]

Question: Not Audible

Answer: The question is how I feel about the Planned Parenthood videos. I am pro-life. [Applause]. And I believe science is proving us right every day. But you do not have to be pro-life to understand the hideous nature of what is going on here. This is about the moral character of our nation. When you can have employees, who target poor communities, who are pushing women into later term abortions so that they can more successfully harvest body parts, even though later term abortions are demonstrably bad for women, you can only be horrified when you see employees picking over a petri dish while they say, “look it’s a baby”. There is no excuse Planned Parenthood must be defunded, and I believe. [Applause]. And anyone who buys the democrat argument, with all due respect, anyone who buys the democratic argument that this is about women's health you need to look at all of the other facilities that provide women's health services. You need to go look at the facts and how many mammograms they actually do. You need to go look and understand the foundation of Planned Parenthood which from its very inception targeted poor women, African-American and Hispanic women. There are more African-American lives aborted in New York City every year than are born alive. That ladies and gentlemen is not right. So if congress does not have the courage to defund Planned Parenthood, I’ll tell you what, a president Fiorina, when we go to zero based budgeting, I simply will not provide the money to fund Planned Parenthood. [Applause].

I have one final question, and in the time that I have left, let me just leave you with this thought. This is the most extraordinary country on the face of the planet, because our founders knew what my Mother taught me, that everybody has god given gifts. I am a conservative because I know that no one of us is any better than any other one of us. Every one of us is gifted by god. Every one of us has the capacity to a live life of dignity, and purpose and meaning. And our founders created a country in which you have a right, to find and use your god given gifts to fulfill your potential. That is what they meant by life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So let me leave you with what this country must be. Think of Lady Liberty. She stands tall and strong which America must be. She is clear eyed and resolute, she doesn’t shield her eyes from the realities of the world. But she looks out into the world as America always must, and she holds her torch high. Because she knows that she is a beacon of hope in a troubled world. And Lady Justice who holds a sword at her side because she's a fighter. She is a warrior for the values and the principles that have made this nation great. She holds a scale, and with that scale she says 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 power- full and power less alike. And she wears a blindfold. And with that blindfold I believe she says that it must be true that in this nation in this century and ladies and gentlemen it can be true it doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter what you look like. It doesn't matter your circumstances and it doesn't matter how you start. Here, in this nation every American’s life must be filled with the possibilities that come from their God-given gifts with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you so much. [Applause]

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