WASHINGTON – Former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Carly Fiorina on Monday announced she is running for president, and took a shot at Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, who she said represents a political class that Americans are “disgusted” with.
Once one of the most powerful women in American business, Fiorina registers near the bottom of polls of the dozen or so Republican hopefuls and has never held public office.
She is positioning herself as an outsider with real-life experience earned through years in the corporate world.
Fiorina, 60, said the former first lady and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, belong to an out-of-touch political elite.
“She reminds people that there is a huge disconnect between that political class and the hopes and concerns of hard-working Americans everywhere,” she told reporters on a conference call.
“I see that disconnect everywhere I go. I see people just disgusted, honestly, with the way the playing field is tilted against them, the disconnect between what they’re thinking about and what they perceive people in Washington are thinking about,” Fiorina said.
A breast cancer survivor who lost a stepdaughter to drug addiction, Fiorina is a multimillionaire who has known adversity.
She was forced to resign from HP in 2005 as the tech company struggled to digest a $19 billion merger with then-rival computer maker Compaq.
Around the time of her ouster from HP she was derisively dubbed the “anti-Steve Jobs” by one respected tech news website, though the Compaq merger was eventually seen as a success.
Fiorina is at the bottom of a Reuters/Ipsos online poll of actual and possible Republican White House candidates, with less than 1 percent support.
She has gotten a warm reception at events in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire but she suffered an embarrassment on the first day of her campaign when a critic took over a website with her name in it to highlight job losses at HP.
Visitors to the carlyfiorina.org site saw the message, “Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I’m using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard.”
The site showed “sad-face” emoticons to symbolize what it said were 30,000 job losses at the company. Fiorina’s real campaign website, www.carlyforpresident.com, featured a video from her about the presidential bid and other messages.
In 2010, Fiorina lost the election for a U.S. Senate seat in California to Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, failing to benefit from a wave of pro-Republican sentiment nationally.
She said on Monday that her first phone call as president would be to the prime minister of Israel to assure the Jewish state of America’s support.
The second call, she said, would be to the supreme leader of Iran to warn him of U.S. sanctions unless he allowed unfettered access for inspectors to Tehran’s nuclear program.