Carly Fiorina

Remarks to Greenville County Republican Women- Sept. 24, 2015

Carly Fiorina
September 24, 2015— Greenville, South Carolina
Republican Women's Club Convention
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Fiorina gave this address at the Poinsett Club.

Thank you very much it's wonderful to be with you and thank you for the warm introduction and the warm escort.

I’m so honored to be sitting between Betty and Vivian. Or as you like to say here in South Carolina, Miss Betty and Miss Vivian, and I'm happy to be known as Miss Carly. I think you all are going to eat lunch while I speak so please don't be afraid to eat while I talk. I’ll talk hopefully for not too long, then take as many of your questions as you have.

You know, yesterday, or maybe it was the day before, Donald Trump announced that he was no longer going be appearing on Fox News. He was particularly upset by something that a commentator said on Fox News.

Now, it's true that not everything reported in the media is really accurate. Shocking. But in this particular case I read a story that said that Mr. Trump decided he wasn’t going to appear on Fox News anymore because a commentator said that I had managed, and I believe I am quoting here to snip off his…… with precision during the debate.

Now, you know if I quit talking to all the people who attack me, I would have crawled under a rock long ago. That’s part of it, you know, it’s part of what it takes to be in the arena. You have to be able to take criticism. You have to be able to stand up to a fight. In fact, since the last debate I’ve been engaged in a couple fights.

And one of them is with the liberal media and Planned Parenthood, who continue to say that I'm lying about what's going on in Planned Parenthood clinics. It's interesting, I was at a pregnancy center earlier today. A wonderful center where women who are facing a difficult choice get to learn something about all of their options. They are encouraged to have the courage to bring their children into the world. I was never able to have children of my own, and so I know in a special way, how precious life is.

So here we are with Planned Parenthood saying I'm wrong about the videos, but no one is denying that babies are being butchered, in order to sell their body parts by Planned Parenthood. I bring this up because part of running for President, part of leading is to be able to survive criticism and an onslaught of attack.

When I met Betty Post, she said to me, Carly you must have ice water in your veins. No, I don’t. It’s just I know how important this is. So I’m going to talk about what I think is at stake. I think the possibilities of this nation are at stake. I think the future of this nation are at stake. I think defense of this nation is at stake. I think that character of this nation is at stake.

Let me start with the character of this nation. It doesn't matter whether you're pro-choice or pro-life. I'm pro-life. I know many women don’t agree with me, but it doesn't matter if you're pro-choice or pro-life, Americans do not butcher babies to sell their body parts.

And how disappointing, after working hard to return a historic Republican majority to the house, I worked hard on that, and a bunch of you worked hard on that. And after returning a Republican majority in the Senate, how disappointing, here we are at the end of September and still the pain capable child protection act has not been passed. This isn’t just good policy, it’s good politics.

The majority of women, the majority of young people, the majority of Americans now agree that abortion for any reason at all after five months is wrong. So why don’t we pass this bill. But we haven’t. That’s about the character of our nation.

Here’s another thing that is about the character of our nation. Remember 18 months ago when the scandal of wait times at the Arizona VA, burst into the public eyes. We learned that veterans were dying waiting for appointments. The pressure was so intense on the political class, on politicians in Washington that they got together and managed to pass, in three short weeks, a bipartisan bill, that the President signed, without a peep. That said you could fire 400 senior executives at the VA if things didn’t get better at the VA.

About a month ago over 300,000 veterans have died in the last year waiting for care. You don't hear a peep out of Washington. One person has been fired from the VA. When we do not care for those who have served us, this too is about the character of our nation. When we no longer can speak the truth about the evils around the world and the evils here at home. When we call acts of terrorism, workplace violence. When we do not stand up and acknowledge that Christians are being persecuted, crucified, and driven from their homelands around the world, this too is about the character of our nation.

This election is also about the defense of our nation. The defense here at home, and the defense of our nation around the world. I have said many times that the world is a dangerous and tragic place if the United States of America is not leading. Look at any statistic. Terrorism is on the rise, not on the wane as our predecessor would like us to believe. Our hearts are broken when we see pictures of the Syrian refugee crisis and yet there are probably forty three million people according to the UN on the move every year now, being driven from their homes by violence.

The world is a tragic place, we are not leaving. Human trafficking is on the rise. Sexual slavery is an epidemic around the world. We have enemies like ISIS that use rape, sexual slavery, as a tool, as a weapon to subdue populations. Not to mention crucifixions, and beheadings, and all of the rest. The world is a dangerous and tragic place when we are not leading.

And here at home, when we have officers, police officers, assassinated, merely because they wear the uniform and try and keep our communities safe. Our president is silent. That is about defense of this nation as well. The world is a very dangerous and very tragic place when we are not leading, and so I will make clear to the world on day one in the oval office, that the United States of America will lead once again. We will stand with our allies and we will confront our advisories.

And I will do that by making two phone calls. One to my very good friend Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him that we will stand with the state of Israel, always. The second phone call will be made to the supreme leader of Iran. He might not take my phone call, I am not his cup of tea, I believe, but he will get my message. And the message is this, new deal. I don’t care what deal you signed with the President of the United States, new deal. The deal is this, unless you open every military and nuclear facility to real anytime, anywhere, inspections by our people, not yours; we as the United States of America will make it as difficult as possible for you to move money. You must stop the money flow because the Iranians are using the money. They are using the money to build nuclear capabilities, to fund their proxies who sew conflict without the Middle East, and we now know from the supreme military leader himself, he has no intention at all of following this deal. Those two phone calls are critically important, but they also send a message to every ally we have and every adversary we have, that the United States of America is back in the leadership business.

You know how important our military capability is. South Carolina is the home to so many of our men and women in uniform, and so many of our veterans as well. And so you know as I do, that we must, the next President of the United States, like Ronald Reagan many years ago, must build a military capability of this nation.

That means, and you know what that means, we need about 50 army brigades, about 36 marine battalions, we need somewhere between 300 to 350 naval battle ships, and we need to reinvest in all three legs of the nuclear triad. We need as well to care for our veterans. We also need to reform the pentagon and all of the bureaucracy that sits in Washington D.C.

This election is about the character of our nation, this election is about the defense of our nation, abroad and here at home. So yes, finally, we have to secure the border. Because a nation that cannot secure its border cannot protect its sovereignty. How long have we been talking about immigration? With all due respect to Mr. Trump, he did not bring this up.

We talked about it in 2012, we talked about it in 2008, we talked about it in 2004, and the truth is that we have been talking about this for 25 years. San Francisco has been a sanctuary city since 1989. We now have 300 of them. We have been talking about an insecure border for 25 years, we have never secured the border, and we must. It’s not rocket science. It takes what? It takes money, man power, technology and mostly, apparently, it takes political will power and leadership to actually get it done.

You know we worked hard for that republican majority. I’ve encouraged the leadership of the house and the senate, why don’t you pass a border security bill. Ask President Obama why he’s going to veto it. Pass a border security bill. But no.

This nation is about our character, this nation is about the defense of our security, this nation is also about the possibilities in his country. When I was a little girl, my mother, on a Sunday morning said to me, “what you are is God’s gift to you, what you make of yourself is your gift to God”. Those words landed in my life, because I didn’t feel gifted. As a young girl or a young woman.

I have travelled, and lived and learned all over the world. I have done business, I’ve done charity, and I’ve done policy work. I have learned over and over again, that everyone has God-given gifts. Every life is filled with possibilities and potential. So it's worth thinking about. Why is it that more things have been more possible for more people in more places, here in this nation, than anywhere else on earth? Why has this nation had more possibilities?

I think it’s because our founders knew what my mother taught me, and what I have learned. Our founders knew that everyone has God-given gifts. Our founders knew that everybody has potential. Everyone has possibilities. And so they founded a nation on an idea. A visionary idea. The idea was that here you have the right, they described it as a right, you have the right to find and use your God-given gifts to fulfil your potential. That is what they meant by the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what they were talking about. And they said, and this was a radical notion at that time. That right, comes from God, and cannot be taken away by man or government.

Ladies and Gentleman, I am running for the presidency of the United States. Because I believe that we have come to a pivotal point in our nation’s history. Where the possibilities of too many Americans, indeed the potential of this great nation, is being crushed. By a government that has grown so big, so powerful, so costly, so complicated, so inept and so corrupt, and a professional political class that refuses to do anything about it.

I am not alone in this belief. If you think I’ve said something just now that you’ve been thinking for a long time, consider this. Seventy-five percent of our fellow citizens, seventy- five percent of our fellow citizens, now believe that the federal government is corrupt.

Gallop has been tracking this for decades, it is the highest level they have ever seen. Eighty- two percent of our fellow citizens now believe that we have a professional-political class. That cares more about the protection of its own power, position, and privilege, than on getting anything done.

So what does that mean? That means that democrats, republicans, independents, young, old, men, women, people of every ethnicity, means the vast majority of Americans, are losing faith in their government, and in their political process. Perhaps that is why so few Americans vote now.

I’ve talked to a lot of women out there who have stopped voting. And when I ask them why, it’s not because they don’t care, it’s that they think they don’t count. It won’t make any difference. Ours was intended to be a citizen government. Of, for, and by the people. And in a citizen government, when citizens lose faith, in their government, and in their political process, that ladies and gentleman is a pivotal time in a nation’s history.

And why do such huge numbers of Americans feel this way? Because it’s obvious. Pick a festering problem that you hope would be solved by now. Pick your problem, pick your cause that you’ve worked hard for. Is it border security? Is it tax reform? Is it the veteran’s administration? Is it the Department of Education? Is it debts and deficits? Is it reform of Social Security? You pick an issue that we talk about election after election, and what happens? Nothing. We talk and talk in politics, but we never get it done.

This reminds me of the difference between managers and leaders. You know what managers are? Managers are the people who do the best that they can within an existing system. They don’t challenge the status quo, they accept the status quo. The operate within the status quo. And when you operate within the status quo, and you don’t challenge the system, guess what? All you can really do is tinker around the edges of problems.

All these vast special interests in Washington D.C. When you have big, powerful, complicated, inept, corrupt government, what happens? You have tons of people who are working really hard to make sure the status quo never gets challenged. Because people benefit from the status quo.

The status quo always has huge power because people benefit from it. It is always hard to challenge the status quo. And yet, that is what leaders do. Leaders challenge the status quo in order to solve problems and produce results.

It reminds me of something a great hero of mine once said. Margaret Thatcher once addressed her people, her citizens, at a pivotal point in her nation’s history, and she said, “I am not content, to manage the decline of a great nation.”

You know what, ladies and gentleman? I think we have been managing the decline of this great nation for quite long enough, thank you very much. I am not content either, but I am prepared. With your vote, with your support, with your prayers, I am prepared to lead the resurgence of a great nation.

This election is about our character, our defense and our security, it is about our possibilities and our future, it is about leadership, and citizenship. A leader challenges the status quo. But there is something else very important about leadership. I learned it long ago when I was a young woman. I didn’t really understand the lesson I was being taught at the time. It took me a lifetime to understand it.

When I graduated from college, with a degree in medieval history and Philosophy, I went on to law school, hated it, quit, and I went back to work full time. So I went back to work as a secretary, that’s how I put myself through college, typing and filing.

And I was hired by a little nine person real estate firm. To type, and file, and answer the phone. About 6 months into that job, two men who worked there came up to me at my desk and said to me, you know we’ve been watching you, and we think you could do more than type and file. Do you want to know what we do?

That was my introduction to business, but it was my introduction to leadership as well. Those two men saw possibilities in me. They saw potential in me, and because they did, suddenly I saw new possibilities in myself.

For a long time after that I used to think leadership was whoever had the big office. Whoever had the big title, whoever had the perks, whoever had the parking space? But I have come to know that leadership is not about your title. Leadership is not about the size of your office, the size of your airplane, your helicopter. It is certainly not about the size of your ego. Leadership is about service. And in fact, the highest calling of leadership, is to unlock potential in others. It is the core of leadership in every setting.

So now we need, I believe, someone who can win this job, and someone who can do this job. To win this job is going to require a fearless fighter. Someone who is not going to shirk and hide under a rock and quit talking when it gets a little mean and people call you names.

Ladies, I will not falter. And this is a fight about many things. It is a fight about our possibilities, our future, our character, our security. It is also a fight to remind the American people why we are republicans. Why we are republicans and why our values and principles work better.

Several months ago, I went on the view. The show the view. Because I think it’s important to talk to people who don’t know yet that they agree with us. As we’re on the show, we’re having quite a good time, one of their hosts said to me “you know I really like you, why are you a republican?” You know the way that people can ask that sometimes.

And that is a really important question. We need to be able to answer that to the American people, so here is what I said. Because I know that no one of us is better than any other one of us. Every one of us has God-given gifts. Every one of us has the capacity to live a life of dignity and purpose and meaning. And I know our principles, our values, our policies work better to lift everyone up, regardless of their circumstances. That is the argument we must have.

We also need someone, and I am going to close with this. We also need someone who can do this job. Because the job needs doing now. We cannot tinker around the edges of our problems anymore. We actually, finally, have to start getting some important things done.

And so we need a President in the oval office who actually understands how the economy works, and who understands that the job creation engine of this nation has always been, and will always be, the small owned business, the family owned business, the community based business. We are crushing them. So we crush too many opportunities for too many people.

Our president must understand the world, and who is in it, and how it works. And having been all over the world for decades doing many things, no one knows as many world leaders on the stage today as I do. I know that it is vitally important that this country stand with our allies and confront our adversaries. And I also know, only this nation can lead in this world. Because only we are an exceptional nation, with a character to say we will never conquer territory, we will only liberate people.

A president needs to understand bureaucracies, because it’s only if you understand a bureaucracy that you understand what it takes to cut it down to size and hold it accountable. Our government has become a vast, bloated, inept bureaucracy, we must cut it down to size and hold it accountable.

She must understand technology. Technology is a great tool. It is also a weapon if that is being used against us, and no Mrs. Clinton, you cannot wipe a server with a towel. Which maybe is why the FBI is, as of today, pouring over 30,000 emails about her yoga classes.

And most importantly of all, we need a president in the oval office who understands what leadership is. The highest caller of a leader is to unlock the potential in others. Now I believe I am prepared to be a President of the United States who will work with the citizens of this great and blessed nation, to unlock the potential of every American.

Thank you so very much, ladies and gentleman.

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