Former technology executive Carly Fiorina formally entered the 2016 presidential race on Monday, launching a Republican White House bid in a morning announcement that highlighted her role as a leading critic of Democratic contender Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co. is the only woman in the crowded field of major GOP candidates. She has never held elected office, but she could play a prominent role in the GOP’s push to broaden its appeal with women in 2016. Democrats have won the female vote in every presidential election since 1988.
Fiorina announced her campaign in an online video posted roughly the same time she confirmed her intentions with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Clinton played a prominent role in both.
Fiorina’s announcement video begins with her watching the former secretary of state’s recent announcement video.
“Our founders never intended us to have a professional political class,” Fiorina said after turning away from a television on which Clinton declared her own candidacy. “We know the only way to reimagine our government is to reimagine who is leading it.”
Fiorina, 60, has long been a fierce critic of Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, whose potential to become the nation’s first female president is a centerpiece of her political brand.
“I have a lot of admiration for Hillary Clinton, but she clearly is not trustworthy,” Fiorina said in the morning television interview.
Fiorina cited what she called a lack of transparency from Clinton on a number of fronts, including the 2012 attack on an American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, her use of a private email server while secretary of State, and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Fiorina became a prominent figure in Republican politics in 2010, when she ran for Senate in California and lost to incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer by 10 points.
Considered an excellent communicator, Fiorina has a compelling personal story. She began her career as a secretary, earned an MBA and worked her way up at AT&T to become a senior executive at the telecom giant.
She was hired in 1999 as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, then the world’s largest technology company and an iconic brand in American business. But Fiorina was fired six years later, after engineering a merger with Compaq, a leading competitor, viewed by some as a failure.
“I understand executive decision-making, which is making the tough call in the tough time with high stakes for which you’re prepared to be held accountable,” she said Monday.
Fiorina enters a race for the Republican presidential nomination already home to several seasoned politicians, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas. Others expected to join the race include several sitting and former governors.
Fiorina’s first public event after the announcement is scheduled for Tuesday in New York City, although she will campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina by week’s end.
STEVE PEOPLES, Associated Press