Fiorina: ‘I’m not a neophyte’

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Dylan Stableford
·Senior Writer
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Carly Fiorina speaks at the Freedom Summit Saturday in South Carolina. (Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina defended her lack of political experience on Sunday, saying her work as a tech adviser to agencies like the NSA and CIA gives her plenty of policy bona fides and that the American people are looking for someone from outside the Beltway to be the next occupant of the White House.

“Many, many voters are actually looking for someone outside of the political class,” Fiorina said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “They believe that we need to challenge the status quo of Washington.

"In addition, I have done a lot of policy work, advised secretaries of defense, heads of CIA and NSA, secretaries of state and the Homeland Security,” Fiorina continued. “So I’m not a neophyte, but I do come to this run with some qualifications that others don’t have.”

One of them, she said, is her global connections.

“I know more world leaders on the stage today than anyone running, with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton,” Fiorina said. “I understand how bureaucracies work. And that’s important because our government has become a vast, huge, bloated, corrupt bureaucracy.”

Fiorina says her experience running the tech company “through the worst technology recession in 25 years” proves she is a leader, even though it includes 30,000 layoffs and her own 2005 firing.

“There’s nothing worse than laying someone off,” she said. “I had to make some tough calls during some tough times that many technology companies did not survive at all.”

The 60-year-old GOP hopeful served as HP’s CEO from 1999 to 2005.

“I was fired in a boardroom brawl,” Fiorina said. “We had board members who were leaking information out of the boardroom. You know, the truth is this: It is a leader’s job to challenge the status quo. And when you do, you make enemies.”

Fiorina said that experience sets her apart from Clinton.

“I understand the executive decision making, which is making a tough call in a tough time, for which you are prepared to be held accountable,” she said. “Something that at least Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a track record of.”

In an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric last week, Fiorina called Clinton “a highly intelligent, very hardworking woman who has dedicated her life to public service” but “doesn’t have a track record of trustworthiness.”

Fiorina also dismissed the suggestion that such roles as U.S. senator and secretary of state are accomplishments.

“In the world that I come from, a title’s just a title,” Fiorina said. “Why are we so impressed with political titles? A senator is a title. Secretary of state is a title. What has anyone accomplished with their title?”