Washington (CNN)Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said on Tuesday that Hillary Clinton was "pandering" in her plan to go further than President Barack Obama on immigration policy.
Carly Fiorina: Clinton 'pandering' on immigration
Fiorina, a Republican businesswoman who has emerged as one of the harshest critics of Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, said she first wants to see a more secure border. Fiorina also said she would also support a "path to legal status" for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States -- but only after the legal immigration system was fixed.
"The people who worked hard to earn citizenship the right way are totally committed to this country," Fiorina told CNN's Erin Burnett immediately after Clinton spoke extensively about her own immigration platform in Las Vegas. "I think it isn't fair to say to people who've worked hard to earn the privilege of citizenship that 'Never mind. Never mind that you played by the rules. People who didn't get to have the same privileges that you do'."
Fiorina, the only female candidate in the Republican field, also swatted away the notion that her general election argument would center only on her common gender with Clinton, though she acknowledged that would neutralize one potential Clinton attack.
Instead, she pointed to her tenure as chief executive at Hewlett-Packard, saying that experience distinguished her from the "professional political class."
But her record there is not all rosy. Fiorina was eventually forced out as CEO, and she oversaw 30,000 job losses as head of the tech giant.
"The only way you succeed as a technology company is by leading, not by lagging," Fiorina said, striking back at unflattering media coverage of her ouster and pointing to less covered parts of her accomplishments. And, she added, she took no pleasure in any of those firings.
"The worst thing a CEO can do is to have to say to someone, 'You don't have a job,'" she said. "Everyone had to manage through tough times. And I think that's honestly what distinguishes leadership."
She also weighed in on the attack in Garland, Texas, this week at an event showcasing controversial cartoons of Mohammed.
"It clearly was provocative, just like white supremacists demonstrating is provocative," Fiorina said.
She offered praise for how Obama characterized the gathering that provoked the violence.
"I'm very pleased that the President came out and called this what it is, which is an attempted act of terror," Fiorina said.