- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

AIKEN, S.C. (AP) - Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina told an Aiken audience Friday she would require federal agencies to account for each dollar requested in their budgets, part of her continuing demand that government spending be put on a diet.

“Government has gotten bigger and bigger for 50 years,” Fiorina told a crowd of several hundred at the University of South Carolina’s Aiken campus. “Our government has become incompetent. We need to address some of these core problems.”

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO’s comments, part of a spiel Fiorina has given frequently as she campaigns in this first-in-the-South primary state, came during one in a series of town hall meetings that U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is hosting with each of the GOP presidential candidates. Last month, more than 2,000 packed a theater in downtown Columbia to hear businessman Donald Trump answer questions submitted by voters in advance.

Fiorina - who’s currently running in second place behind Trump, according several public opinion polls - said the businessman and GOP front runner may have commandeered the national conversation on immigration reform but isn’t the first to discuss it.

“He didn’t bring this issue up,” Fiorina said. “We’ve been talking about it for 25 years.”

Whereas Trump champions building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Fiorina said parts of existing law, like the country’s guest worker program and employer verification systems, must been reinforced before any new laws or policies are enacted.

“We have to fix the legal immigration system,” she said. “Every single one of these festering problems can be solved.”

Meeting with reporters before the gathering, Fiorina also referenced Thursday’s mass shooting at an Oregon community college, saying more must be known about the shooter before rushing to judgment on whether universal background checks could have prevented the massacre.

“We need to know more about this particular shooter, but it would appear that he is one of those individuals who should not have had access to a gun,” Fiorina said. “Before we start calling for more laws, I think we ought to consider why we don’t enforce the laws that we have.”

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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