Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said Thursday that she will be able to defuse Democrats’ “war on women” attacks against Republicans in the 2016 election, and said if she’s the GOP’s presidential nominee, Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton wouldn’t be able to play the “gender card.”
“I think that if Hillary Clinton were to face a female nominee, there are a whole set of things that she won’t be able to talk about,” said Ms. Fiorina, who is weighing a presidential run. “She won’t be able to talk about being the first woman president. She won’t be able to talk about a war on women without being challenged. She won’t be able to play the gender card.”
Mrs. Clinton officially declared her candidacy on Sunday, and Republicans are preparing for her to draw substantial support as the potential first woman to win the White House. But Ms. Fiorina said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that Republicans can dent that support if they nominate her, saying it would take away the potentially historic nature of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
She also said she is uniquely positioned to deliver a pro-life message to voters torn over the abortion issue — a strategy she pioneered in an ultimately unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid in California in 2010.
“One of the things that I’m confronted with frequently, as you would imagine, is women will approach me and say, ‘You know, I really agree with the Republican party on so many issues, but I’m uncomfortable with the nature of the Republican party platform on abortion,’” she said. “And my answer always is, ‘Have you read the Democratic party platform?’ No one has. So I will remind them that what it says is any abortion, at any time, at any point in a woman’s pregnancy for any reason [will] be paid for by taxpayers and, now, some would like to add, to be performed by a nondoctor.”
She says she asks women how they feel, for example, about a 13-year-old girl needing her mother’s permission to go to a tanning salon but not an abortion clinic. She says when she tells voters Mrs. Clinton campaigned against parental notification, “women are horrified.”
Boosting her pro-life credentials, Ms. Fiorina was scheduled to serve as the mistress of ceremonies at a gala hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List, a major pro-life lobby, Thursday evening.
The Democratic National Committee blasted the event, saying Ms. Fiorina and other attendees such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is running for president, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is weighing a bid, are “out of touch and want to turn back the clock for women.”
But Ms. Fiorina said public opinion is moving in the pro-life direction.
“The common ground that most women and most young people and most Americans actually have found now is, you know, abortion for any reason at all after five months doesn’t seem right anymore,” she said.
Students for Life of America (SFLA) touted Marist polling earlier this year showing that six in 10 millennials believe abortion is “morally wrong”, and that 84 percent of Americans would limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy.
Ms. Fiorina said she was “disappointed” when Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives pulled a bill earlier this year to ban abortions after 20 weeks — legislation some in the party thought would damage the GOP’s standing with women.
“Actually, it’s good politics, as well as being good policy,” she said.
Ms. Fiorina also said she finds it “personally insulting as a woman” when the Democratic party talks about “women’s issues,” saying that women care about all the issues that affect the country, themselves and their families.
“Women care about the economy, they care about jobs, they care about health care, they care about immigration, national security, education — every issue’s a woman’s issue,” she said. “There’s no doubt.”