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Politics: Fiorina answers question with job offer
By Jason Lesley
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina didn’t get to be CEO of computer giant Hewlett-Packard without the ability to recognize potential in people.
When Waccamaw High graduate Bobby Walters, 18, asked her how she planned to motivate young people to get involved in politics during a campaign stop in Litchfield this week, Fiorina acted on instinct.
“Maybe you’ll help me?” she told Walters in front of a full house at the Tara Theater at Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort.
After her 60-minute address, Fiorina offered Walters a job as an intern working at her South Carolina campaign’s headquarters in Columbia. Walters, a freshman at the University of South Carolina, said he’s thinking about taking the part-time internship and promised to let Fiorina’s campaign staff know in a week or so.
“I didn’t really know that much about her,” Walters said, “but I was very impressed. She was saying some things that made a lot of sense.” He said being on a presidential campaign staff would be “good for the resume, especially if she gets somewhere in the election.”
Fiorina told her audience Monday that she began thinking about running for president after hearing a young man say Americans don’t consider this a nation of limitless possibilities any more. “We are,” she said. “We always have been, and if we lose that sense of limitless possibilities, we lose the core of who we are.”
Fiorina said her personal story, going from a secretary in a real estate office to the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is only possible in America. Her husband, she said, started as a tow truck driver and become an executive at AT&T. “Here you have the right to seize your possibilities and pursue your own path,” she said. “Those possibilities are being crushed by a government that has become so big, so powerful, so costly, so complicated, so inept and so corrupt.”
Fiorina said she agreed with a poll that concluded 75 percent of Americans think the federal government is corrupt. “The more big and powerful the government gets, who is favored?” she asked. “The big, the powerful, the wealthy, the well-connected.” She said the country is run by a professional political class, both Democrats and Republicans, that thinks more about power, position and privilege — and re-election — than about getting things done.
“Over time,” Fiorina said, “people become managers and accept the system. They don’t challenge the system. They don’t push against the status quo and as they accept the system, they become over time a part of the system. Leaders challenge the system. They don’t accept it just because it’s been broken for a long time. Leaders know their highest calling is to challenge the status quo.”
Fiorina laid out her blueprint to do just that. She said she would simplify the tax code, reducing it from 73,000 pages to three. The Internal Revenue Service, she said, has more personnel than the FBI and CIA combined. She called for “zero-based budgeting” of the federal government. Fiorina called the Affordable Care Act an 80,000-page “monstrosity” that has led to crony capitalism in the health care system and should be repealed. She said she would return education to the states.
Fiorina pledged to secure the U.S. border with Mexico and to develop a cooperative effort between the tech sector and the government to thwart terrorism. “It is delusional and dangerous,” she said, “for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to be talking about gun control and climate change when terrorists are murdering people in San Bernardino and Paris.”
Tim Tilley, owner of the Georgetown company EnviroSep, said he was impressed with Fiorina. “I think she’s incredible — extremely polished,” he said after her speech. Tilley said it’s too early in the campaign to tell who’s going to emerge and if Fiorina has a chance. “It will be interesting to see what happens with [Donald] Trump after Christmas.”
Judy Clarke, president of the Georgetown County Republican Women’s Federation, said Fiorina made a strong case for her candidacy. “I thought she was excellent,” Clarke said, “very, very strong.”