Carly Fiorina On The Future Of The United States

interview with Carly Fiorina
via Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Carly Fiorina on the Future of the United States

Recorded on March 16, 2017

Although many people have heard of Carly Fiorina, former presidential candidate and first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, few have had the chance to sit down and speak with her. In this special live taping of Uncommon Knowledge, at the National Review Institute’s Idea Summit, with guest host Michael Franc, director of Hoover’s Washington, DC, Programs, Fiorina discusses the 2016 presidential election, her personal path to conservatism, and her beliefs about the future for US and global politics. She opens up about the often-brutal criticisms she received during the election, her choice to become conservative, the loss of her stepdaughter to drug addiction, and the ways in which she believes conservatives are fighting to help people help themselves by giving them the tools and resources necessary to change their own path. Fiorina goes on to analyze the current state of the union, the disenfranchised Americans she’s met, and the solutions she believes in for the future of the United States.

Special Guest Host:  Michael Franc is the Hoover Institution’s director of DC programs, where he oversees research and outreach initiatives to promote ideas and scholarship in our nation’s capital. He holds a dual appointment as a research fellow. Mike Franc is a longtime veteran of Washington, DC, policy making. Before joining Hoover, Franc served as policy director and counsel for House majority leader Kevin McCarthy. He also served as the vice president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation from 1997 to 2013. During that time, he managed all the think tank’s outreach with Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch.  He also completed a tour of duty as communications director for former House majority leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and worked for the US Department of Education and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has been quoted widely in the print and broadcast media and was a regular contributor to the National Review Online and other publications. Franc has a BA from Yale University and a JD from Georgetown University.

Transcript

Michael Franc:   Hi, my name is Michael Franc of the Hoover Institution. We're here in Washington D.C. at the National Review Institute's Idea Summit 2017. I want to welcome our guest and give you a quick bio, and then we're going to go into a little conversational give and take, and ask some questions, and then eventually we'll turn to the audience for some questions of their own. So, Carly Fiorina, born in Austin Texas, and at a young age, moved around quite a bit. She went to school in London, attended five different high schools, including one in Ghana, and from there, ended up in, of all places, Durham, North Carolina, where she graduated. Subsequently, received a degree in philosophy and medieval history from Stanford. She eventually received an MBA from the University of Maryland, and a bachelor of science from MIT. She started her career and AT&T, as a management trainee, and I guess a secretary in some ways, we referred to it. She moved up to become the first senior vice president, female senior vice president at AT&T. She eventually became the head of Lucent Technologies, where she served as the head of that until 1999, when she became the first female CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She served there for a number of years, until she left, and decided to go, among other things, into politics. She ran for the Senate in California, in 2009, and for a Republican in California, she did a remarkably good job, she ran a very principal campaign, and held her opponent to 52%, and stood very well for, given the kind of state California unfortunately has become for conservative candidates. In 2016, as we all know, she ran for president, and she's here with us tonight, so Carly Fiorina, welcome to Uncommon Knowledge.

Carly Fiorina: Thank you. I actually did start as a secretary, before AT&T is.

Michael Franc: Okay. Thank you.

Carly Fiorina: It wasn't a so-called secretary, it was a real secretary.

Michael Franc: Real secretary, okay. It's an incredible success story, and I think everyone who knows about it admires you for what you've accomplished. So, I thought what I'd start off doing is asked a little bit about the campaign. It was nasty and brutish, it was rude in many cases, you were on the receiving end of a lot of very, I think, horrible comments, including most, if not entirely from our current president, yet in September of last year, you endorsed Donald Trump, when he was candidate for president, and I thought I would just ask you to elaborate a little bit, what went on internally with you? You had probably some kind of cost-benefit analysis of what to do in that situation, you probably weighed different factors, could you just walk us through maybe how you came to that conclusion, and your thinking on it, and then we'll ask you a little bit about where you think the new president is today, eight weeks into his presidency.

Carly Fiorina: Well, first let me say that, yes, there is a lot about a political campaign that's, to use your terms, nasty and brutish, and people say some pretty nasty things. Honestly, many people said nasty things, including, as I recall, Emily's List called my candidacy and offense to women, I think because I'm pro-life. That's sort of the way politics is in many cases, but I have to say that one of the things that I knew going into politics is that people would say nasty things. I've been a controversial person in the past, people have said nasty things in the past, so it didn't scare me. Whatever people said about me, including our president, didn't impact my judgment of what was important in this race. To me, what was important in this race, among other things, is that Hillary Clinton not get to the White House, where she could continue Obama's policies. It was a pretty clear choice. I mean, yes, I had my differences with nominee, Trump, I had my differences of opinion with our president, Trump. On the other hand, when the choice is as clear as it was, there is no choice, Hillary Clinton couldn't be president.

Michael Franc: Well, could you maybe elaborate a little bit on what you saw being at stake if there were President Clinton in the White House?

Carly Fiorina: Well, first, when I announced my candidacy for the presidency, I reminded people that Gallup has been asking a very specific question to the American people for decades, do you think the federal government is incompetent, and corrupt? 80% of the American people say yes. 80% of us think the federal government's incompetent and corrupt, which means that Republicans, Democrats, independents, we all kind of agree on that. Well, if you think you want more incompetent, corrupt government, then please, vote for Hillary Clinton, because clearly that's what she would've brought, more. More politics, more corruption, more big government, more failed progressive policies. Having spent 12 years in California, I know that policies, wrongheaded policies can destroy an economy, can destroy livelihoods, can destroy industries, can destroy families, because I saw it over, and over again in California.

Michael Franc: Let's talk a little bit about some of your experiences with voters when you are campaigning, because I think that gives you a unique insight into what probably was going on. As we all know, they were very, very few people who were not surprised in some aspect and what happened November 8th, but you spoke in dozens of states, before thousands, if not tens of thousands of people, you probably listened to a lot of their questions about things that were of great concern to them. The question usually was their number one concern if they had a chance to ask a candidate like you a question, so what were you picking up from the voters? Did you sense that there was something big going on in the election, and could you may be elaborate a little bit for us on that?

Carly Fiorina: So, in addition to 80% of the people thinking the federal government is incompetent and corrupt, 80% of Americans think that professional politicians care more about their own prestige, power, position, and privilege than on getting the people’s work done. So, if that's what people think, and it is what people think, then what are they looking for? They're looking for real change. The level of frustration, the feeling of helplessness that so many people had to actually impact the things that we're impacting now. I got engaged in politics when I figured out that politics, and politicians, and the policies they pursue impact everybody's life, whether folks are engaged in it or not, and that's what I heard. I also heard, and came to understand in a much deeper way, that politics is personal. You know, Tip O'Neill used to say, "All politics is local." Actually, I think all politics is personal, very personal. People make personal decisions based upon what is going on in their life, and so when the majority of Americans decide it isn't working anymore, it's not working for me, I feel a growing sense of helplessness, and powerlessness over the things that are going on in my life, then what do you do? You vote for change. And if necessary, you roll the dice to get that change. I think it's fair to say that the American people were prepared to roll the dice, and say, "We're going to do something different now."

Michael Franc: There's been a lot of talk about a few books that, before the election, were written and picked up on some of what we think explains the election, so Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, who I believe is here tonight, is one of those books. He grew up in Kentucky and Ohio, and sort of an Appalachian background, and he's surmounted a lot of different obstacles to, now he works in Silicon Valley, he's an attorney, graduated eventually from Yale Law school, had very loving grandparents, and served in the Marines. Charles Murray's famous book, Coming Apart, chronicled that in sort of a sociological, social science way, with a lot of data points about the growing gap between Americans who have a lot of privileges in education, and accomplishments then those who don't, and just trend lines going back 50 years. And even before that, Bowling Alone, by Robert Putnam, chronicles sort of the decline of civil society. Were you picking up on that sort of angst, that sort of, you know, that famous study by Angus Deaton, and Ann Case about the reversal of mortality, and white Americans between 45 and 54, they're actually going in the wrong direction due to things like opiate poisoning, and liver failure, and so on. Where you picking up a sense of desperation, or where you picking up any of that, that when you look at it on election day, led to all kinds of 60, 70% margins in, I think, 2500 counties out of the 3100 in the country?

Carly Fiorina: The short answer is yes. We lost a daughter to addiction, and so I know more than I would care to, honestly, about the addiction crisis in this country, just to pick that is an example. I bring it as an example, because here's a case where, if you look at what we've done as a nation, we have spent trillions of dollars trying to combat poverty, trillions of dollars and decades trying to combat drug abuse, and we failed on both counts. I mean, we're spending money, and it's not working. And yet, if you go into communities, there are programs for the prevention and treatment of addiction that work. They are community-based, it's incredibly important that they be community-based, because a community has to surround an addict, so that they can recover, and be integrated once again into the community. But, those community-based programs are starved for resources and support, and meanwhile, we're spending trillions of dollars pouring out of Washington DC, and it's not working. I bring it up, because I truly believe, I didn't start out as a conservative, I didn't even start out as politically active. I'm a conservative, because I know through experience that our principles, and our ideas, and our policies work better. One of the policies and principles that's so important to conservatives is that it's better that power, and money, and decision-making be dispersed. It can't be concentrated in Washington DC, because when it's concentrated, it's abused. So yes, people are desperate because things aren't getting better, and yet, the money continues to be spent. That should cause any sensible person to say, and it did cause many Americans to say, "You know what? This isn't working. We have to try something different." I think now, what I hope we will see happen, and what I think we as conservatives need to push to have happen is exactly what we believe in, money, power, decision-making have to be dispersed, so that people are in a position to solve the problems that impact their lives, and have the resources, and the capabilities, and the power to do so.

Michael Franc: I think stories about someone who starts off one place, and arrives in and another, and an ideological sense, are always fascinating. Where there any epiphanies you had, anything you noticed one day that the lights went on, and you started to realize, "Oh, maybe I'm a conservative, and some of these ideas make sense?" You talked about it more in the abstract, where there any specific moments that really jumped out at you?

Carly Fiorina: Well, it was a whole process of living life and going to work. So, the reason I mentioned I started as a secretary, when I landed at AT&T, which by the way, my very first job after I got my MBA was here in Washington DC, at AT&T. It's where I met my husband, who's here tonight, 36 years ago. I didn't have any plan to be a CEO. I was just grateful to have a job, and hoping that I didn't blow that job. But, everywhere I went, I found problems that had been left unresolved, and everywhere I went, I found people who actually knew how to solve the problem, but they had never been asked. What I discovered over, and over, and over again is that everybody has more potential than they realize, including myself, but everybody I run across in my life has more potential than they realize, and people can solve the problems that impact them. Yes, they need resources, and they need a helping hand sometimes, and they need tools, and they need support, and they need leadership, but actually, people are best able to solve the problems that impact them because they understand them. I also learned, as I rose in the big bureaucratic institutions, that if you concentrate decision-making, and money, and power in too few hands for too long, that power will be abused, and the money will be wasted, and the decisions will not be as effective as the decisions that people who understand the problem best would have made. Now, when you think about what I just said, everyone has potential, every person has value, regardless of their circumstances, people are best able, best equipped to solve problems locally, and if you concentrate power, you're abusing power, those are conservative principles. Those are constitutional principles. I think I became a conservative when I realized, "Guess what? Those principles work better. They are the principles that I have used throughout my career, and throughout my life."

Michael Franc: It's almost the exact opposite of a progressive philosophy.

Carly Fiorina: It is the exact opposite.

Michael Franc: You know, with the expertise, and the experts sometimes deciding everything for us.

Carly Fiorina: Look, the progressive believes, honestly, I've said this many times, publicly, progressives believe some of us are better than others. They don't believe we are all created equally, they don't believe we all have value, they believe some are smarter than others, some are better than others, therefore some get to decide for others. "And don't worry, you may not be able to handle your life, or deal with your problems, don't worry, we'll take care of you." It is the height of disrespect, and disregard for our fellow citizens, and for someone else's potential and value.

Michael Franc: So, let's turn to where things are today. We have a new administration. This city is about in as much confusion, angst, and turmoil in some quarters as I've ever seen. I've been here probably since you started at AT&T. There's a lot of fiefdoms being challenged, there's a lot of orders that have been viewed as being settled, that are now suddenly may be up for grabs. Can you talk to us a little bit about what you're seeing happening now, maybe areas where it's particularly of interest to you, that you'd like to elaborate on, and then maybe what we should be doing about it down the road?

Carly Fiorina: Well first, having led change many times in my career, and in my life, change always inspires resistance. It is the nature of change, right? People like the status quo, because they have invested in it, because maybe, here in Washington, a lot of people have been successful in the status quo. They may have railed against it, but they been successful in it, so of course, big change inspires big resistance. No one should be surprised by that, particularly President Trump. He shouldn't be surprised that he's inspired resistance. Second, fiefdoms need to be challenged. I mean, that's the only way change happens. However, it is also true that, in order for change to be sustained, people have to be brought along. People have to conclude that the change that you're trying to implement is actually preferable to the status quo. Once you realize that all change inspires resistance, and in order for change to be sustained, and successful, you need to bring people along, then I think it is also true that how you get things done is as important as what you get done. How you get things done, how you approach something is how you bring people along.

Michael Franc: Have you had a chance to look at any of the, some of the big issues that we're going to be faced with in Congress, and the courts, probably in many ways, over the next few months, if not years? Like healthcare reform, the Obama care effort to repeal, replace it with something different, the excitement about maybe being able to tackle the tax code for the first time in over 30 years. Any thoughts on those?

Carly Fiorina: I'll talk about all three if I may. First, when you have these vast bureaucracies, which is what Washington has become, it's a vast bureaucracy, and money has been spent for decades, my cardinal rule is, the first thing you need to know is where is the money? And actually, we don't know. I mean, we don't know. We don't know how the money is being spent. I think we should start with where is the money being spent, and how is the money being spent? So, I would like it if one of the first things that happens is a full accounting of where taxpayer money is being spent. I also know from experience that ... By the way, there is an opportunity to save money absolutely everywhere, including the Pentagon. I also know, as much as I support increased military spending, and I do, I also know that, if you throw money too fast at something, a lot more money is going to get wasted. You have to be thoughtful, and careful about how money gets spent. I think we need a mindset that literally every program, and every dollar spent has to be justified. Secondly, with regard to tax reform, which I think is vital, it's not just the rates that need to go down. Of course the rates need to go down, it's ridiculous that we have the highest business tax rate in the world, but we have to simplify it dramatically. You can't have a 76,000 page tax code, which is what we have. And here's the thing, complexity always favors the wealthy, the rich, the connected, the big. Complexity favors big companies over small companies, because they can handle the complexity, they can hire the accountants, the lawyers, the lobbyist. Complexity favors the wealthy, because they can hire the accountants and the lawyers, and the middle class and the poor cannot. Complexity favors entrenched interests. So, simplicity is key. It's not just about lowering the rates. Finally, with regard to health care, look, I don't think we can tinker around the edges of this problem. Healthcare is a mess, and it's a mess because governments and the insurance companies have colluded for decades. We used to do it at a state level. It was state governments, state regulators who colluded, I know I'm using a strong word, colluded with insurance companies to prevent competition. We created regulated oligopolies in 50 states, so that in California, only four or five companies can compete for your business. All we did with Obamacare was nationalize that collusion. Now we have one big national collusion, and unfortunately, I think the current piece of legislation is tinkering around the edges of that problem. We are not creating a marketplace, we're not creating competition, we're just changing a little bit the relationship, the collusion, between government and insurance companies. So, in my view, you can't tinker around the edges. You got to repeal this thing, and you actually have to create vibrant markets for health insurance, which we have not had for 50 or 60 years. By the way, you know, it's interesting. The American people don't actually understand that. They don't understand how the health insurance market has been regulated for decades, and I do think sometimes we make a mistake when we forget to tell people how we got into this mess, because if we don't understand, if people don't understand how it got so bad, then they can't be open to how to make it better. So, I think sometimes we have to take the time to explain to folks how we got into this mess.

Michael Franc: It's hard to get voters to agree to solve a problem that they don't understand even exists.

Carly Fiorina: Absolutely.

Michael Franc: They know they're frustrated, like you said earlier, but the source of it—

Carly Fiorina: That's right, and they also have gotten used to politicians not keeping their promises, but they heard, they clearly heard two promises. President Trump said, "I will not touch Medicare and Social Security." Now, we can disagree about whether it was smart to do it, but he promised that, and people heard that, but they also heard Republicans promise, for years, "We will repeal Obamacare." They heard those two promises.

Michael Franc: Right. Drawing upon your business world experiences, and thinking about what's been happening since Inauguration Day, with executive orders to address certain regulatory initiatives of the last administration, Congressional Review Act moves on the floor of the house, the Senate to actually repeal some of those regulations, what kind of approach would be the best for the regulatory state, the administrative state, that it's gotten as large ... Some estimates are $2 trillion a year, almost as large as the tax code. How would you address those kinds of issues? What do you think the president and Congress should be doing on that front?

Carly Fiorina: Well first, of course, I heartily applaud the appeal of many regulations. On the other hand, I also think that governing by executive order is inconsistent with what works best. I thought that under Bush, I thought it under Obama, I think it under Trump, so I hope that governing through executive order is not sort of the modus operandi. I think, in order to take apart the regulatory state, just as to vastly simplify the tax code, we have to change the mindset in a dramatic way. Let me illustrate what I mean. I think you need a new rule in place. My suggestion would be, every single regulation on the books will be sunsetted in two years, unless someone can prove that we have to keep it. In other words, change the burden of proof. Just like I would change the burden of proof in the tax code. Close every loophole, close every loophole, lower every rate, so that the burden of proof suddenly is on people who say, "No, no, no, we need this particular loophole, but all these others can go." The reason I say that, it's so kind of basic, but the way Washington works, if you put something in the tax code, it stays forever, and the burden of proof is on people to say, "It has to go away." If you get a regulation past, it stays forever, and the burden of proof is on those who say, "We don't need it anymore." We have to turn around of the burden of proof. That could be done by executive order. Guess what, everything goes away. Perhaps it's a bit dramatic, but we need, I think, dramatic change to actually take apart the administrative state, and it won't happen merely through executive order, and I don't think it'll happen merely through legislation, but it's vital that it happen. All the way back to first principles. All the way back to first principles.  Success, at least for me, and I think for many conservatives, success is power is dispersed, money is dispersed, decision-making is dispersed. It's not victory if all we've done is flipped Ds for Rs, and we have as much power, as much money, and as much decision-making still concentrated in the same places. That is victory to me.

Michael Franc: Along those lines, the Republican party is at its probably highest level of control, both at the federal level, and at the state level, and depending on which category you're looking at, 80 to 100 years, I think the 68 or nine state legislative chambers that have Republican majorities, many of them have supermajorities. I believe there's 33 governors now that are Republican, many of them are conservative. What should be the proper role for states as we go forward, in some of these really Herculean efforts to undo that status quo, to address the swamp, to challenge the fiefdoms, what role should they play?

Carly Fiorina: A huge role. States should be the locus and the focus of problem-solving, period. They should be the locus and focus of problem-solving on so many of these issues. Why? Because they're closer to the problems. Why? Because they're more accountable. The reason I think Republicans have control of so many governors mansions, and statehouses, is because demonstrably, Republican policies work better in people's lives. All you have to do is compare the economic outcomes, the education outcomes, the new business creation outcomes in states where Republican policies have been in place, versus states where Democrats policies have been in place. I mean, it's pretty black and white. But, states, you know, our founders called states laboratories of democracy. I think they're far more than that, although they are also that. They have to be the focus of problem-solving. Again, I go back to first principles, money, power, decision-making need to be moved out of Washington, and back to the states. There are certain things that are the federal government's role. We know what those things are. They're clearly outlined in the Constitution. It's not their role to solve every problem. All the way back to what I said several minutes ago, we've spent trillions of dollars in the federal government, and poverty remains a problem, arguably worse than when the war on poverty began. We've spent trillions of dollars on the war on drugs, and yet drug addiction remains a problem, probably worse than it was in the 80s. It's not working doing it here. It can work if decision-making is moved closer to the people impacted by the decisions.

Michael Franc: I believe the poverty rate at the beginning of this year was a 10th of a point higher than it was at the very, very beginning of the great Society.

Carly Fiorina: Well, and you know, I have paid a visit, in 2008, I paid a visit to the West Virginia town where Lyndon Baines Johnson famously stood on the front porch, and declared the war on poverty, and I want to tell you what, that is a desperate community. All of these decades later, and these trillions of dollars later, the desperation remains. It's pretty clear this isn't working, and that is why conservatives, I think, have to continue to be very focused on our principles, because our principles work better, and land them in people's lives.

Michael Franc: Along those lines, this conference has spent a lot of time looking at different elements of populism, nationalism, how some of the right of center forces are starting to maybe look at things a little differently, or realigned differently. Any thoughts about the possibilities, the potential for going in a more populist direction, the threats, the dangers of that, and maybe where we fit in, in America, relative to what's going on mostly in the European countries that have seen different variants of the same kinds of things? Everything from Brexit, to Le Pen and so on, emerge recent years, is it all connected?

Carly Fiorina: Well, I tend to shy away from political buzzwords. I mean, I know this town is obsessed with them, but I think people hear all kinds of things in a term, they hear all kinds of things in the word conservatism, they hear all kinds of things in the word populism, it's why I tend to define what I mean by conservative. Every life has value and potential, regardless of circumstance or appearance. People can solve problems that impact them. power concentrated is power abused. It's why I tend to spell it out. So, let me tell you what I think is going on. All politics is personal. People assess their lives, and in this country, too many people assess that their lives aren't getting better. In fact, they have assessed their lives are getting worse, and they feel as though people are not paying attention to that. I mean, you know, we've talked about many kinds of desperation, but I can remember, you know, you have stories, you have people you meet along the way. I remember in particular, a veteran, you know, more than one, strong, fighting men who would come up to me with tears in their eyes, and talk about how helpless they felt, because they couldn't navigate their way through the Byzantine bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration. I also would talk to veterans who would say, "I want to help my fellow veteran. I've figured it out." I don't know if that's called populism or nationalism, but I think what it is frustration with the government, and a political class that hasn’t addressed that need, despite many promises over decades to do so. I think people are anxious about the incredibly rapid global changes that are going on. Those global changes aren't going to stop. It's driven in large measure by technology. Those changes aren't going to stop. It is true today that any job can go anywhere, money can go anywhere, ideas can go anywhere, that reality isn't going to change. But, in that reality, it is even more vital that we put policies in place that reward job creation, that reward innovation and risk-taking, that make it easier to start a business, not harder. In other words, we've had in place for too long a set of policies that, knowing all the changes that are going on in the world, and that make people anxious, make it harder for our nation to compete, not easier. That makes no sense at all. Brexit was completely rational. I mean, I don't know if you call it nationalism or populism, but when voters say, "60 or 70% of my elected representative's time is being spent answering bureaucrats in Brussels, what the heck? This makes no sense at all. Let's get out." It's a very rational response. When people see, look, I think most people are good people, in trying to do the best they can. I mean, yes, there's evil in the world, but most people aren't. Most people are good, and they're trying to do the best they can, and most people are warmhearted and generous. They really are. But, it's also true that people get anxious and scared when it feels as though we care more about someone who hasn't even come to the country yet then the people who are already here. And so people respond. I remember being in a little New Hampshire town, there was a Democrat mayor, and his wife was a Democrat, and she was very upset about the, you'll recall the summer when all these women and children were streaming across the borders, and these folks were being sent to these New Hampshire towns. This was a warm and generous woman, but she said, you know, "We are not taking care of the children in our own town, and we can't bring even more in, although I feel very sorry for them." I think those are pretty rational responses. When people make judgments about what's in someone else's heart, based upon their appearance, or where they come from, that's where I draw the line. I think trying to make sure that you can take care of yourself and your family, that's pretty rational, and pretty understandable.

Michael Franc: Speaking of your heart, you have a foundation I believe.

Carly Fiorina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael Franc: Can you talk to us a little bit about what stirs your soul, what kinds of charitable endeavors you want to deploy your treasurer to, to help resolve? What kind of problems, and so on?

Carly Fiorina: I start with a fundamental knowledge. I was going to say belief, but it's more than that, it's knowledge, that every person has more potential than they realize. Every person has more potential than they realize. I've seen it over, and over, and over again. So, what my husband and I tend to focus on is, what are efforts that unlock peoples’ potential? So, we got very engaged in micro-finance. I was privileged to serve as the chairman, until I declared my candidacy for the presidency, chairman of the largest private micro-finance organization in the world. Micro-finance is the, as you are probably aware, is when you extend lines of credit to people who are in desperate poverty. People are not poor because they're stupid, they're not poor because they lack ambition, they're not poor because they lack potential or talent. In many cases, they are poor because no one will take a chance on them. Sometimes they're poor because we've wrapped their lives in webs of entitlement, instead of saying, "You have potential, and you can actually create something if we give you the helping hand, and take a chance on you, and extend you a line of credit, and give you tools and support." I've seen micro finance, as but one example, work in so many places, and now, frankly, what I'm exploring is whether we can make it work in this country, because we have to find a way to help people, despite desperate circumstances, realize their potential, untangle their lives from these webs of dependence that we've woven them up in, and restore their dignity.

Michael Franc: That's great. Well, we're getting toward the end of our time, and I want to have one good chance here to make a little bit of news.

Carly Fiorina: Uh-oh.

Michael Franc: So, you and Frank are living in Virginia ...

Carly Fiorina: Oh, I might disappoint you.

Michael Franc: And so there’s been some rumors, I just thought I would give you the floor, to say if you have any hopes and dreams of elected office in the state of Virginia.

Carly Fiorina: Well, first, I assume you are referring to the Senate race in Virginia.

Michael Franc: Yes.

Carly Fiorina: Certainly, I am considering it, and certainly am encouraged by all the enthusiasm for it. It's also true that, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we have a really important set of elections in 2017. We have a gubernatorial race, we have a lieutenant governor race, we have an attorney general race, so I'm out there trying to be helpful on those races first. And the other thing that I would just say is, you know, this actually is a decision for more than me. I think, honestly, the party is going to have to think very carefully about Virginia, because there are a lot of seats that are up in 2018, and a lot of opportunities to take seats away from Democrats who are in deep red states for example. Virginia is going to be a tough haul. It's a purple state. The Democrats will spend, by their estimates, $60 million trying to protect Tim Kane in that seat, so to run for Senate successfully in Virginia will take a Herculean team effort, not just a single candidate. Although, I don't shy away from a fight, as you know.

Michael Franc: All right, thank you very much.

Carly Fiorina: Thanks for having me.