Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Carly Fiorina slams Dems' 'War on Women' campaign

By S.E. Cupp
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
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
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)
Paul Callan says the grand jury is the right process to use to decide if charges should be brought against the police officer
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
Theresa Brown says the Ebola crisis brought nurses into the national conversation on health care. They need to stay there.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 2235 GMT (0635 HKT)
Patrick Hornbeck says don't buy the hype: The arguments the Vatican used in its interim report would have virtually guaranteed that same-sex couples remained second class citizens
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Paul Begala says Iowa's U.S. Senate candidate, Joni Ernst, told NRA she has right to use gun to defend herself--even from the government. But shooting at officials is not what the Founders had in mind
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
John Sutter: Why are we so surprised the head of a major international corporation learned another language?
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2154 GMT (0554 HKT)
Jason Johnson says Ferguson isn't a downtrodden community rising up against the white oppressor, but it is looking for justice
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Sally Kohn says a video of little girls dressed as princesses using the F-word very loudly to condemn sexism is provocative. But is it exploitative?
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Timothy Stanley says Lewinsky is shamelessly playing the victim in her affair with Bill Clinton, humiliating Hillary Clinton again and aiding her critics
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
Imagine being rescued from modern slavery, only to be charged with a crime, writes John Sutter
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
Tidal flooding used to be a relatively rare occurrence along the East Coast. Not anymore, write Melanie Fitzpatrick and Erika Spanger-Siegfried.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Carol Costello says activists, writers, politicians have begun discussing their abortions. But will that new approach make a difference on an old battleground?
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1851 GMT (0251 HKT)
Crystal Wright says racist remarks like those made by black Republican actress Stacey Dash do nothing to get blacks to join the GOP
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 2207 GMT (0607 HKT)
Mel Robbins says by telling her story, Monica Lewinsky offers a lesson in confronting humiliating mistakes while keeping her head held high
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
Cornell Belcher says the story of the "tea party wave" in 2010 was bogus; it was an election determined by ebbing Democratic turnout
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
Les Abend says pilots want protocols, preparation and checklists for all contingencies; at the moment, controlling a deadly disease is out of their comfort zone
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 0336 GMT (1136 HKT)
David Weinberger says an online controversy that snowballed from a misogynist attack by gamers into a culture war is a preview of the way news is handled in a world of hashtag-fueled scandal
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1223 GMT (2023 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says Paul Krugman makes some good points in his defense of President Obama but is premature in calling him one of the most successful presidents.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 0221 GMT (1021 HKT)
Conservatives can't bash and slash government and then suddenly act surprised if government isn't there when we need it, writes Sally Kohn
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
ISIS is looking to take over a good chunk of the Middle East -- if not the entire Muslim world, write Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
The world's response to Ebola is its own sort of tragedy, writes John Sutter
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 2033 GMT (0433 HKT)
Hidden away in Russian orphanages are thousands of children with disabilities who aren't orphans, whose harmful treatment has long been hidden from public view, writes Andrea Mazzarino
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
When you hear "trick or treat" this year, think "nudge," writes John Bare
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 0442 GMT (1242 HKT)
The more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls have become pawns in a larger drama, writes Richard Joseph.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Peggy Drexler said Amal Alamuddin was accused of buying into the patriarchy when she changed her name to Clooney. But that was her choice.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
Ford Vox says the CDC's Thomas Frieden is a good man with a stellar resume who has shown he lacks the unique talents and vision needed to confront the Ebola crisis
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
How can such a numerically small force as ISIS take control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq?
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
How big a threat do foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq pose to the West? It's a question that has been much on the mind of policymakers and commentators.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)
More than a quarter-million American women served honorably in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Now they are home, we have an obligation to help them transition back to civilian life.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Paul Begala says Rick Scott's deeply weird refusal to begin a debate because rival Charlie Crist had a fan under his podium spells disaster for the Florida governor--delighting Crist
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0407 GMT (1207 HKT)
The longer we wait to engage on Ebola, the more limited our options will become, says Marco Rubio.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Democratic candidates who run from President Obama in red states where he is unpopular are making a big mistake, says Donna Brazile
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
At some 7 billion people, the world can sometimes seem like a crowded place. But if the latest estimates are to be believed, then in less than a century it is going to feel even more so -- about 50% more crowded, says Evan Fraser
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
Paul Callan says the Ebola situation is pointing up the need for better leadership
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Nurses are the unsung heroes of the Ebola outbreak. Yet, there are troubling signs we're failing them, says John Sutter
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 1700 GMT (0100 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah says it's a mistake to give up a business name you've invested energy in, just because of a new terrorist group
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2301 GMT (0701 HKT)
Fear of Ebola is contagious, writes Mel Robbins; but it's time to put the disease in perspective
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
Oliver Kershaw says that if Big Tobacco is given monopoly of e-cigarette products, public health will suffer.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1335 GMT (2135 HKT)
Stop thinking your job will make you happy.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0208 GMT (1008 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says it's time to deal with another scandal involving the Secret Service — one that leads directly into the White House.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Americans who choose to fight for militant groups or support them are young and likely to be active in jihadist social media, says Peter Bergen
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Stephanie Coontz says 11 years ago only one state allowed same sex marriage. Soon, some 60% of Americans will live where gays can marry. How did attitudes change so quickly?
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 2004 GMT (0404 HKT)
Legalizing assisted suicide seems acceptable when focusing on individuals. But such laws would put many at risk of immense harm, writes Marilyn Golden.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says the issues are huge, but both parties are wrestling with problems that alienate voters
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2250 GMT (0650 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the town's school chief was right to cancel the season, but that's just the beginning of what needs to be done
October 11, 2014 -- Updated 1543 GMT (2343 HKT)
He didn't discover that the world was round, David Perry writes. So what did he do?
ADVERTISEMENT