Possible presidential contender Carly Fiorina wouldn’t say Monday how she thinks the GOP should choose which candidates will get to participate in the party’s 2016 presidential debates.
Fiorina – in Indianapolis to speak at a GOP women’s event – sidestepped the question, even though the debates could be her best shot at getting the attention she’d need to stand out among a growing Republican field.
“I am reasonably confident that if I decide to jump in the race that I will be on that debate stage,” Fiorina said. “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t think I would have a lot of encouragement and I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t prepared.”
The former CEO of Hewlett Packard is one of more than a dozen Republicans who are running or considering a bid for the party’s nomination in 2016.
But Fiorina trails some those other candidates significantly. National polls show her support among GOP primary voters is less than 1 percent. That’s important because those polls could determine who gets into debates that are controlled in part by the Republican National Committee.
Fiorina said after her speech to 900 people at the 25th Anniversary Lugar Series Annual Event that her business experience makes her “uniquely qualified” for the position.
“I think what people are looking for is both authentic, empathetic, and will solve problems with the good of everyone in mind,” she said.
But it’s her ability to criticize presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton without concern about gender that could make her especially valuable within the party.
Fiorina said during an event last week that “there are a whole set of things” that Clinton won’t be able to talk about if she’s facing a female opponent. CNN.com reported that Fiorina said that Clinton would instead be forced to talk about “her track record, her accomplishments, her candor and trustworthiness and her policies.”
“And I think that’s what elections should be run on — not identity politics, not what you look like, but who you are, and what you believe, and what you’ve done, and what you will do,” the CNN story quoted her saying.
Fiorina focused Monday in Indianapolis on foreign policy issues and her experience as a business leader, explaining how that translates to government.
“You have customers who really are very important. You have investors who are very important. You have communities who are very important. And you have employees,” she said. “So, in truth, a successful business leader is balancing constituencies all the time.”
Fiorina said she expects to make a decision and formal announcement about running for office in the coming weeks.