Carly Fiorina, who was the former CEO for Hewlett-Packard, and who once ran for U.S. Senate, announced her presidential bid on Monday, making her the first woman GOP member to campaign for the 2016 election. Talk about her possible presidential bid had begun last week, when Fiorina began hiring a staff for her campaign and made visits to some of the early primary states, like Iowa, where she lined up speaking appearances. Fiorina has used her history in the business world to generate a pro-business message to her audiences.
Fiorina made history in the business world by being the first woman to run a company in the Fortune 50 as CEO for HP between 1999 and 2005. Her tenure came to an end as a result of the controversial merger between her company and Compaq, where HP’s board decided to remove her CEO in the wake of a tumultuous period for the company. Although revenues during that period had flourished, there were often missed target periods for earnings, thousands of layoffs and clashes within the company.
Fiorina, after her departure from HP, was a board member of several other large companies, including Kellogg Co. In addition, she was a contributor to Fox News and served as an economic adviser to Senator John McCain during his 2008 bid for the presidency and was also considered as a potential running mate. In 2010, she made a bid for Senate in an attempt to unseat the Democratic Party incumbent, Senator Barbara Boxer, where she used her business history as a basis to qualify her over Boxer’s record of being a “wealthy Washington insider.” Boxer, counteracted, however, pointing out the layoffs within the company and the replacement of employees by outsourced overseas contractors. Fiorina lost the election by ten points and with about $500,000 in debt after she had contributed $5 million to her own campaign.
Fiorina’s bid for the White House has come under much criticism, including her lack of political experience overall. The former CEO, however has used this to her advantage, stating that the country’s founders never intended the country to be run by politics, but rather by true leadership representing the wishes of the citizens. Most of the Washington insiders, she argues, lack this type of executive leadership.
Fiorina, in addition, has been sharply critical of President Barack Obama’s presidency, attacking his economic policy and stating that he did not deserve credit for the recovery. In addition, she has attacked the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, accusing her of being untrustworthy, and questioning her accomplishments as secretary of state from 2009 – 2012, as well as the legitimacy of her family’s charity foundation. She feels that holding several titles without having accomplished much does not qualify her to be the first woman president.
Fiorina in her bid for the presidency in 2016, in which she announced on Monday, joins Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and most recently, highly acclaimed neurosurgeon Ben Carson, all whom she currently trails. Like most of her GOP colleagues, she has stood to the right on abortion, however on other social efforts, she has taken a more moderate approach. While she did not outright say she supported same-sex marriages, she believes that civil unions, including same-sex couples should receive the same government benefits as traditional ones. While experts cite that she has a very small chance of securing the nomination, they also feel, that with her strong oratory skills and experience in the private sector, as a woman, she could represent a challenging counterweight to to Clinton’s attempt brand herself as the representative of women’s role in society.
By Bill Ades