Fiorina at ISU: ‘Professional political class’ has failed

Nathan Hoffbeck, freshman in pre-business, talks to Carly Fiorina in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union on Friday, Aug. 28.

Alex Hanson

The professional political class has failed, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said Friday at Iowa State, but with new leadership, she is ready to be a part of the “resurgence” of America and “unlock human potential” if elected president.

Only in America can someone, such as herself, go from being a secretary out of college to leading the largest technology company in the world, Fiorina said in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

The event — part of a four-day swing through Iowa — was structured like a town-hall event, allowing ISU students to question Fiorina directly. Friday’s event was part of the Iowa State Lectures Program’s ongoing Presidential Caucus Series that features presidential candidates.

Robert Dunn, senior in accounting, asked Fiorina how she could be sure conservative reforms are pushed through a Republican Congress if she was president. 

She answered that America was originally supposed to be a “citizen government,” run by the people. Fiorina said under new leadership, the next president needs to understand the issues and needs to know that the tools to fix the economy are available.

“The political class has failed you, and that’s why I think it’s time for a different type of leadership,” Fiorina said.

When asked about how she would grow the economy while creating more clean energy jobs, Fiorina said the U.S. should be the “global energy powerhouse of the 21st century” and be a leader in all forms of energy. She said regulations to combat climate change will not make a difference if only the United States is implementing them, adding that they hurt the economy.

In regards to the Renewable Fuel Standard, Fiorina said she understands it is popular in Iowa, but she does not believe the government should be involved. She said she would phase the standard out as president.

She spoke on how she would grow the economy, mostly focusing on scaling back the size of the federal bureaucracy. She also mentioned tax reform as a top issue, and “leading in the world again.”

Fiorina also called out what she called “hypocrisy” among progressives when asked about campaign finance reform. She said she would be OK with regulations, but only if everyone plays by the same rules. Fiorina mentioned the Koch brothers, conservative billionaires, being attacked, but made no mention of liberal billionaires Tom Steyer and George Soros.

In a gathering with members of the press after the event, Fiorina blasted CNN — the host of the next Republican debate on Sept. 16 — for its debate criteria that may keep her off the main stage with the other top nine candidates

“I think the rules are ridiculous,” Fiorina said. “They could change [the rules] if they wanted to and the [Republican National Committee] could ask them to change the rules. They could do more polls and count state polls.”

Counting the state polls would put Fiornina on the stage on Sept. 16.

“When you have a candidate who is in the top five in every state poll, including Iowa and New Hampshire and is comfortably in the top 10 of every national poll, for them to say, ‘Oh, so sorry, we cant change our rules,’ is ridiculous,” Fiorina said.

“Since when did CNN get to decide who Republican primary voters get to hear from?” she asked.

When asked about her stance on student loans and debt, Fiorina said government involvement in education and the student loan system has withered out competition and driven up the cost of college.

“Government has created in no small way the problem of high cost college education,” Fiorina said. “They’ve gotten involved accreditation, they’ve put all sorts of requirements on college, they’ve eliminated choice … and in other words, government is adding to the cost burden. Of course, they’ve also nationalized the student loan industry, so we don’t have a competitive student loan industry.”

Jean Diaz, senior in management and marketing, said he likes Fiorina because of her experience outside the political world.

“Sometimes being elected has nothing to do with being a good leader and everything to do with being a good poster boy, and she is not a poster girl,” he said. “She is a leader and will get things done.”

George Knight, an exchange student from the United Kingdom studying political science, said he was impressed by Fiorina, adding that she stands out from some of the other candidates running in this election.

“I thought she was very strong, one of the more competent Republican candidates,” Knight said. “Some of her foreign policy seems overly aggressive, but her domestic policy is quite appealing.”