Feb 10, 2015 6:16 PM

Paul Steinhauser: For Fiorina, it's about resume, not gender

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD - "Every day I get closer."

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, telling NH1 News about her whether she'll launch a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Fiorina was back in New Hampshire Tuesday. She started her visit at the Bedford Village Inn, the main attraction at the latest installment of the Politics and Eggs series. Following her address and question and answer session, she autographed their signature eggs. After a meeting with some leading GOP activists in Manchester, Fiorina dropped by NH1's studio in Concord.

Of the more than 20 people seriously mulling GOP White House bids, Fiorina's the only woman. Asked about what that says about the Republican Party, she responded that "as far as I remember, there's only one woman running on the Democratic side too. I think that it's absolutely vital that we win in 2016 and that means we have to have a candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton, who I think will be her party's nominee."

Fiorina said when it comes to 2016, for her it's much more about resume than gender.

"I'm not running because I'm a woman, but the fact that I'm a woman is hard to hide. I think what's also distinctive is that I'm not a professional politician. I haven't spent all my all my life in politics. I have the requisite experience to be commander in chief, but I think I bring a different prospective to this, a difference experience set, a different voice," Fiorina told NH1.

This is Fiorina's second swing through the first-in-the-nation primary state since last November's midterm elections. She spoke at a breakfast in December hosted by the Independent Business Council of New Hampshire, which was chaired by then-Rep. Elect Frank Guinta. Now congressman Guinta was in the audience Tuesday at the Politics and Eggs event.

Fiorina's coming back to the Granite State in March and April.

"I really enjoy being here in New Hampshire a lot and I‘ll be here a lot more," Fiorina added.

As for her timetable on making a decision on running for president, she said "I think it's in the late April, early May time frame, I need to make a decision by then."

As for what the major factors be in making that decision, Fiorina said "first, can I run a campaign that's positive and uplifting and unifying. I think the answer to that is yes. Secondly, can we build the political support that's necessary, the financial support that is necessary and so far I'm very encouraged by that. And can we build a team. So those are all the things that we are working on now and looking at now and I must say I'm very encouraged."

Fiorina registered at two percent in an NH1 Pulse Poll conducted last week of those likely to vote in the 2016 GOP primary. And she was at one percent in two other New Hampshire surveys released over the past week. But Fiorina's confident she can compete against probable candidates who are well known and can raise big bucks, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

"They certainly do have much higher name ID," Fiorina said. "While I think a long presidential race will probably cost, according to the experts, a billion dollars, you don't have to have all that right up front. So I'm quite confident that if I put my name in the ring, we'll be able to raise what we need to get to debates, to perform in the debates, to keep going."

Fiorina ran for the U.S. Senate in California in 2010, winning the GOP primary but losing by 10-percentage points to incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in the general election.

"There are a couple of things I learned in that process. One is that I love campaigning. I draw my energy from people and I think issues that matter to people, in the end politics matters because it impacts peoples' lives, are issues that I find interesting and fascinating. Secondly ground game matters. I do believe that ours was intended to be a citizen government and I think that New Hampshire does it right," Fiorina said.

She continued her praise of the Granite State, adding that "what New Hampshire does is that its citizens get engaged in the process of politics and they really get to know the candidates and the issues and that's what's most exciting to me and I think the country could learn a lot from the way New Hampshire does it."

That kind of talk may win some votes in New Hampshire. And Fiorina's secretary to CEO biography could help her relate to voters as well.

"I started out a secretary in a little nine person real estate firm," Fiorina said. "It's one of the reasons I understand so well the importance of small business, because the truth is most Americans get their start the way I did."


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