Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Carly Fiorina slams Dems' 'War on Women' campaign

By S.E. Cupp
updated 5:29 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, at an event in Washington, D.C. in 2013.
Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, at an event in Washington, D.C. in 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • S.E. Cupp interviews former Senate candidate Carly Fiorina about her new initiative
  • Fiorina is launching Unlocking Potential (UP) Project, which will focus on female voters
  • Utilizing the latest technology, it will rally GOP women in key states for the Senate race
  • Fiorina's project is a direct response to Democrats' "War on Women' campaign

Editor's note: S.E. Cupp is co-host of "Crossfire," which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET weekdays on CNN. She is also the author of "Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity," co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right," a columnist at the New York Daily News and a political commentator for Glenn Beck's The Blaze. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- Today, former Senate candidate and Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced a new initiative called the Unlocking Potential (UP) Project, which will organize conservative and Republican women in key states to educate and turn out voters.

According to Fiorina, the UP Project will engage women at the grassroots level to help conservatives close the gender and technology gap. It will utilize cutting-edge technology and techniques to target, persuade and turn out female voters in six key states with competitive 2014 Senate races: Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia.

This morning, I spoke with Fiorina about the effort and whether or not she has any future plans to run for office.

S.E. Cupp
S.E. Cupp

S.E. Cupp: Is this a direct response to the Democrats' "War on Women" campaign strategy?

Carly Fiorina: Yes, exactly. And the idea really came to me when I spoke at CPAC earlier this year. In my speech, I took on the "War on Women" directly, and the response was overwhelming. I heard from so many women saying this is what they needed. It can help deliver their messages and provide resources to get them mobilized.

Cupp: It sounds like you're talking about dispatching an army of women to go door-to-door. I can't decide if that's a retro approach or a modern one.

Fiorina: Well, I think one of the things that we learned in both the Obama campaign and the tea party movement -- so, truly polar opposites -- is that they engaged people on the ground in a very personal manner, with personal outreach. And that's what works. And it particularly works with women. They are persuaded by other women they know.

Cupp: So, no parachuting in at the last minute, running an ad, and expecting women to turn out?

Fiorina: No. All the data says that people are most persuaded by people they know. We are going to engage people in the communities where they live and work, train them where they are, and measure the results so we know what's working. That matters a lot.

Cupp: So is it old-fashioned grass roots campaigning?

Fiorina: Well, it's modern in that we're using technology to train our messengers and broaden our messages. But the politics of personal relationships still matters the most.

Cupp: So Democrats will merely say, "Candidate X opposes the Paycheck Fairness Act. Candidate X is against women." It won't matter, by the way, if Candidate X is a woman herself. How should conservatives combat this?

Fiorina: I think in some cases we just have to take on the facts. There are plenty of laws in place today that a woman can look to if she's truly discriminated against at work, where she's actually earning less for the same job as her male counterpart.

So the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- these are tokens. They're gestures. They don't truly help women advance.

We can't avoid the factual arguments, because they're on our side.

Cupp: Are women single-issue voters?

Fiorina: Absolutely not. Of course, there are some people -- men and women -- who truly vote on single issues. But they are not a majority, and certainly not a majority of women. Women make up 53% of the vote, and their views are as broad and diverse as are men's. Most women care about jobs and the economy, and the polls bear this out.

And you know, even when the issue is life and choice, most women think that abortion after five months is egregious.

Cupp: So what hasn't the GOP been doing right to target women voters?

Fiorina: It's not a question of doing things wrong. It's a question of leaving things out.

First, all of the ads that run are very helpful, but they're not as helpful as an effective grassroots plan. Sometimes we talk at a high level about policies and principles, but we need to bring it down to a personal level. We talk a lot about less taxes and less regulation -- as principles. But if you're a single mom with two kids and you're trying to open a hair dressing shop, it's going to take you over a year to deal with all the regulations to do that, and you have a tax code that's thousands of pages long. You might get discouraged. We're destroying more businesses than we're creating in this country.

Cupp: Do Republican male candidates need "sensitivity training"?

Fiorina: (Laughs) Sometimes men know these are sensitive, hot-button issues and so they're afraid to deal with them. And some, not many, really do put their foot in their mouth.

It's not that women don't listen to men. They do. But they also listen to other women. So it's less about who's doing something wrong and more about what's missing. We need to be more empathetic and less judgmental. We need to be more optimistic.

Cupp: Do Republicans need to nominate a woman to defeat Hillary?

Fiorina: I don't want to say that necessarily. If a woman emerges, that's terrific. But we can't let this ridiculous charge stand. We just can't. We have to deal with it head on for 2014, never mind 2016.

Cupp: Any plans to run again yourself?

Fiorina: You never know! I never close off any possibility in life. And when people encourage you to do it you have to think about it. But right now I'm focused on the UP Project and getting candidates elected for 2014.

Read CNNOpinion's new Flipboard magazine

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:42 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
updated 8:12 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
updated 12:09 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
updated 4:34 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
updated 2:51 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
updated 4:13 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
updated 7:55 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
updated 12:34 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
updated 8:42 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
updated 12:40 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
updated 11:00 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The Internet is an online extension of our own neighborhoods. It's time for us to take their protection just as seriously, says Arun Vishwanath.
updated 4:54 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says we must speak out for the right of children to education -- and peace
updated 5:23 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Russia's economic woes just seem to be getting worse. How will President Vladimir Putin respond? Frida Ghitis gives her take.
updated 1:39 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Australia has generally seen itself as detached from the threat of terrorism. The hostage incident this week may change that, writes Max Barry.
updated 3:20 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Thomas Maier says the trove of letters the Kennedy family has tried to guard from public view gives insight into the Kennedy legacy and the history of era.
updated 9:56 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
Will Congress reform the CIA? It's probably best not to expect much from Washington. This is not the 1970s, and the chances for substantive reform are not good.
updated 4:01 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
From superstorms to droughts, not a week goes by without a major disruption somewhere in the U.S. But with the right planning, natural disasters don't have to be devastating.
updated 9:53 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
Would you rather be sexy or smart? Carol Costello says she hates this dumb question.
updated 5:53 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
A story about Pope Francis allegedly saying animals can go to heaven went viral late last week. The problem is that it wasn't true. Heidi Schlumpf looks at the discussion.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
Democratic leaders should wake up to the reality that the party's path to electoral power runs through the streets, where part of the party's base has been marching for months, says Errol Louis
updated 4:23 PM EST, Sat December 13, 2014
David Gergen: John Brennan deserves a national salute for his efforts to put the report about the CIA in perspective
updated 9:26 AM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Anwar Sanders says that in some ways, cops and protesters are on the same side
updated 9:39 AM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
A view by Samir Naji, a Yemeni who was accused of serving in Osama bin Laden's security detail and imprisoned for nearly 13 years without charge in Guantanamo Bay
updated 12:38 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
S.E. Cupp asks: How much reality do you really want in your escapist TV fare?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT