The Fine Print
Carly Fiorina is hitting the campaign trail in all the key presidential battleground states.
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO and unsuccessful 2010 Senate candidate makes no secret of the fact that she has not closed the door to a bid for the White House in 2016, but says her recent trips to places like Iowa and New Hampshire are for the express purpose of helping to elect Republicans this fall.
“We're trying to unlock the potential of conservative women to persuade other women to get out and vote,” Fiorina told “The Fine Print” during a recent interview at “The Iron Gate” restaurant in Washington, D.C.
It’s all part of her “Unlocking Potential Project” aimed at building a network of engaged Republican women voters to close the “gender gap” that Fiorina says gives Democrats an “undeniable” advantage among women.
“As a conservative woman, I'm tired of the Democrats’ war on women,” she said. “I'm tired of [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi saying outrageous things like a Republican majority will end civilization as we know it, and the GOP is the Ray Rice of politics. I'm just tired of it.”
Many of the women Fiorina is signing up as advisors for her initiative come from key early voting states that could be helpful if she did decide to explore the Republican presidential nomination. And though she declined to discuss her political plans, Fiorina said she has not ruled out a potential White House run.
“I never shut doors, it's not wise to shut doors,” Fiorina said.
When the door to 2016 does open, however, Fiorina expects Republicans to face a “unique challenge” in countering former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she runs as expected.
“It’s a unique challenge because she's a woman,” Fiorina said. “It’s a unique challenge because she inherits a fantastic ground game from President Obama … It's unique because she will come into the race with a ton of money behind her and virtually unchallenged.”
Fiorina believes that Clinton is “beatable,” but it will require Republicans to branch out and speak out to “everyone in the country, regardless of where they live, or who they are or what they look like.” And in reaching those voters, Fiorina says, Republicans need to work on their messaging.
“We tend to talk, as Republicans, about less taxation and less regulation,” Fiorina said. “It's kind of a different thing to say, imagine you're a single mom with your two kids and you work hard and you go out and get a cosmetology license and you want to open a hairdresser … It's going to take you over a year to get through all the regulations, all the permits – everything you need to do to open that salon. You may not make it a year.”
“And so as a single mom, you might decide the window of opportunity is closed to me, and if someone is marketing food stamps to you, you might think the window of entitlement is a lot easier,” she said. “So, I think we need to speak in personal empathetic terms about why our policies work better.”
For more of the interview with Fiorina, including how she will measure the success of her “Unlocking Potential Project,” check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”
ABC News’ Mike Conte, Ali Dukakis, Gary Westphalen, Melissa Young, and Gary Rosenberg contributed to this episode.