Carly Fiorina at ISU: We must win to ‘take our country back’

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at a town hall at Iowa State University in Ames on Jan. 30.

Alex Hanson

During the final weekend of campaigning before the Iowa Caucus on Monday, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina told Ames residents that it is still possible to fix all of our nation’s problems, but they must choose the right individual to lead the United States.

Speaking to a full room of well over 100 people at Iowa State’s Scheman Building, Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, told those in attendance that a government and politicians not held accountable would do nothing to fix America’s issues — at home and aboard — and that she is best suited to take on the presidency.

“I’m running for the presidency of the United States because the American people are being told to sit down and be quiet,” Fiorina said. “While we settle [for our current state], the rich get richer, the powerful get more power and the well connected get better connected.”

Out of all the outsiders running for the Republican nomination, Fiorina sits at the back again — well behind front-runner Donald Trump and close to 10 points behind Ben Carson.

The latest Iowa Poll from The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics released shortly before her event showed Fiorina at just 2 percent support. Carson sat at 10 percent support, while Trump sits atop at 28 percent. Ted Cruz — also positioning himself as an outsider — is close behind Trump at 23 percent.

Still, Fiorina told the audience that the U.S. government was intended to be a “citizen government,” and she would be the best choice to take over. She cited her business experience at HP, and said during every meeting, she was held accountable for her work, which is what the nation needs in its next president.

But while touting what she would accomplish, she said supporters in Iowa must turn out Monday night, because if she does not win, a citizen will not be elected — it will just be another insider or politician. 

Fiorina also took questions from the audience, with several questioning her about her plan to use technology while president. She has often said, as president, she would allow citizens to use a smartphone app to vote on specific issues for realtime feedback.

Fiorina was asked why we need representative government if citizens can directly respond. She responded by saying the use of technology would put pressure on representatives to make decision for the people, not for themselves.

She was also asked if allowing citizens to vote with a smartphone would alienate low income residents who can’t afford smartphones.

Fiorina pushed back, saying the government already subsidizes phones, and many have access to forms of technology to get involved.

She was also asked about term limits, which Fiorina quickly agreed would keep politicians accountable. On budgeting, Fiorina called for zero-based budgeting, including the military spending budget — but she did call for more “investment” in the military.

On student debt, Fiorina said she would like government to get out of education, which she said would lead to more competition and lower cost of attendance. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, all this can be done, but it’s not going to be quick and easy,” Fiorina said. “I don’t think you expect quick and easy. I think you expect leadership, accountability and results.”