January 3rd, 2016
11:11 AM ET

Fiorina defends her Rose Bowl Tweet: "Can't a girl ever have a little bit of fun?"

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Cary Fiorina, Republican presidential nominee, joined CNN’s chief political correspondent, Dana Bash to discuss 2016 politics.

 

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

 

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Fiorina on the president’s proposed gun control measure: “The thing that this president - the thing this president should be doing on gun control, Dana, is enforcing the laws we have. We have long lists of criminals who own guns, who routinely purchase guns.  We know who these people are, and we are not prosecuting any of them.  Actually, we're prosecuting less than 1 percent of them.  And that's why you get a situation like, say, Chicago, where you have very tight gun control laws and incredible levels of gun violence. It's how you get a situation like South Carolina, where someone who never should have been permitted to purchase a gun got to purchase a gun, because, somehow, they dropped in the cracks... And we have loads of criminals running around with guns and perpetrating violence with those guns, and we're not prosecuting them. Meantime, Barack Obama has not presented the American people with a clear plan to keep this nation safe.”

 

Fiorina on Ted Cruz: “We will see if Ted Cruz has the nomination locked up.  But I would say that Ted Cruz is just like any other politician.  He says one thing in Manhattan.  He says another thing in Iowa.  He says whatever he needs to say to get elected, and then he's going to do as he pleases. I think the American people are tired of the political class that promises much and delivers much of the same.”

 

Fiorina defends her Rose Bowl tweet: “Oh, for heaven's sakes, Dana - for heaven's sakes, can't a girl ever have a little bit of fun? That was a tongue-in-cheek tweet, which the people of Iowa understand, because I was asked over and over again in Iowa, having attended a Hawkeye tailgate, I was asked.  They knew that my heart was torn. You would think, based on this reaction, that I had some - said something really controversial, like, you know, ISIS is a J.V. team, or this demonstration was a result of a video. Let's just say, if the biggest mistake I make is a tongue-in-cheek tweet about a Rose Bowl, the America people will sleep safely when I'm president of the United States…I guess it was a slow news day for the media.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: With just 29 days until the first votes are cast, the race is speeding towards a conclusion, and the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, has his sights set squarely on Hillary Clinton.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  They created ISIS.  Hillary Clinton created ISIS with Obama.

 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

 

TRUMP:  Created with Obama.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

BASH:  This comes after the debut of a new terrorist recruiting video by al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab that features Trump.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yesterday, America was a land of slavery, segregation, lynching, and Ku Klux Klan.  And, tomorrow, it will be a land of religious discrimination and concentration camps.

 

TRUMP:  So, remember this.  So, listen.  Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States...

 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

 

TRUMP:  ... until our country's representatives can figure out what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is going on.

 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

BASH:  Joining me now is Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

 

Good morning, and happy new year to you.

 

Let's start with that video.  What...

 

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Good morning, Dana.

 

BASH:  Good morning.

 

What message do you take from Trump's appearance in it?

 

FIORINA:  Well, first, no one is responsible for ISIS ideology.

 

I find it pretty rich that this ISIS propaganda tape talks about the cruelty of the West.  These are, after all, people who crucify, behead, subjugate, rape anyone who doesn't share their radical Islamist ideology.  So, let's get real here.

 

On the other hand, it's also true that Barack Obama called ISIS a J.V. team, that Hillary Clinton, along with Barack Obama, declared victory in Iraq and withdrew all of our troops precipitously, against all of the military advice at the time, because of political expediency, thereby giving ISIS the opportunity to conquer territory and declare a caliphate, which meant that ISIS has become stronger.  They are indeed not contained.

 

So, I think what we need to focus on is how to defeat ISIS.  Frankly, near Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, nor Donald Trump have a plan to defeat ISIS, because they don't understand the nature of the threat.  I do, and I have a plan.

 

BASH:  Well, speaking of the Middle East, I want to ask about an escalating situation going on right now.

 

The Sunni-run Saudi regime executed a Sunni cleric.  And the Saudis say he was a terrorist.  But the ayatollah in Iran quickly condemned it.  That has led to violent protests, as you're seeing there on the screen.

 

Are you concerned that this whole exchange could inflame sectarian violence and, of course, tensions in the Middle East?

 

FIORINA:  Well, of course, it's not at all helpful.

 

Again, I take the Iranian condemnation with a huge grain of salt.  This is a regime that tortures its own citizens routinely, that thinks nothing of executions, that still holds four Americans in jail.  And the Obama administration has done nothing about that.

 

On the other hand, we need to be clear that our role here is to try and tamp down this conflict.  Saudi Arabia is our ally, despite the fact that they don't always behave in a way that we condone.  Iran is a real and present threat, not only to Saudi Arabia, but to our other Arab allies, and, indeed, to the United States' interests.

 

And so our role here is not to inflame tensions.  Our role is to try and help calm the situation.

 

BASH:  So, if you were president right now, how would you do that?

 

FIORINA:  Well, I think we need to understand that Saudi Arabia and the rest of our Arab allies are looking to us for leadership and strength and resolve.

 

This administration has not provided it.  We need to provide it.  I will provide it as commander in chief, because we need the Saudis' help, the Jordanians' help, the Egyptians' help, the Kurds, the Emirates, the Kuwaitis, the Bahrainis, to defeat ISIS.

 

We also need to be clear with our allies that Iran is not our ally, nor is Russia.  And so when Russia and Iran combine together in an unholy alliance, we cannot, as, for example, Donald Trump suggests, outsource leadership, our leadership in the Middle East, to Russia or to Iran.  They're not our allies.  They are our adversaries.

 

BASH:  Let's - let's turn to what is happening here at home.

 

President Obama is preparing to issue an executive order that will expand background checks on high-volume gun dealers.  Is that something you could support?

 

FIORINA:  No.

 

President Obama has been lawless in his use of executive orders, whether those executive orders are around immigration or whether those executive orders are around gun control.  And it is delusional, dangerous, not to mention unconstitutional, for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to continue to talk about climate change and gun control in the wake of a Paris terrorist attack, a San Bernardino terrorist attack...

 

BASH:  But...

 

FIORINA:  ... instead of talking about how they plan to defeat ISIS.

 

BASH:  Let me just...

 

FIORINA:  The thing that this president - the thing this president should be doing on gun control, Dana, is enforcing the laws we have.

 

We have long lists of criminals who own guns, who routinely purchase guns.  We know who these people are, and we are not prosecuting any of them.  Actually, we're prosecuting less than 1 percent of them.  And that's why you get a situation like, say, Chicago, where you have very tight gun control laws and incredible levels of gun violence.

 

It's how you get a situation like South Carolina, where someone who never should have been permitted to purchase a gun got to purchase a gun, because, somehow, they dropped in the cracks.

 

BASH:  So - so...

 

FIORINA:  Let's enforce the laws we have.

 

BASH:  OK.  So, just to clarify quickly, you're saying that you oppose the executive order, the way that he's doing this, and the policy itself.  You don't think background checks should be expanded?

 

FIORINA:  I think we need to enforce the laws we have.

 

And we are not doing so.  And what that means, because we're not enforcing the laws we have, we have people like Dylann Roof in South Carolina who never should have been sold a gun.  And we have loads of criminals running around with guns and perpetrating violence with those guns, and we're not prosecuting them.

 

Meantime, Barack Obama has not presented the American people with a clear plan to keep this nation safe.

 

BASH:  OK.  So..

 

FIORINA:  We learned two days ago that our own Homeland Security doesn't even know the people who are in this nation who have overstayed a visa.  That's a big problem, given what we now know about San Bernardino.

 

BASH:  OK.  We're finally in 2016.  Let's get to some - some politics.

 

FIORINA:  Yes, we are.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

BASH:  Donald Trump this week promised to go after President - President Clinton's sexual history.

 

In response, you said, "Of course Bill Clinton is fair game."

 

Which parts of Bill Clinton's past do you think Hillary Clinton needs to answer for?

 

FIORINA:  Well, listen, I said Bill Clinton is fair game.  I also then very promptly said going after Bill Clinton is not going to defeat Hillary Clinton.

 

The way to defeat Hillary Clinton, which Donald Trump cannot, but I can - the way to defeat Hillary Clinton is to go after her track record, her lack of accomplishment, the reality that she has gotten...

 

BASH:  Right.  And we - and we have heard you...

 

FIORINA:  ... every single foreign policy challenge wrong, and also to deny her what she wants to run on.  She wants to run on the historic nature of her candidacy.

 

BASH:  And we have heard you say that on many occasions.  We have heard you say that on many occasions.

 

FIORINA:  That's right.

 

BASH:  But you also said that Bill Clinton is fair game.

 

So, what did you mean by that?

 

FIORINA:  Well, so - so is George - what I meant is that any former president is fair game.

 

Donald Trump threw George W. Bush under the bus several months ago.  Any former president is fair game.  The question is, how do you beat Hillary Clinton?  And, in my opinion, that's not the way to beat Hillary Clinton.

 

Donald Trump will run his race, and I'm going to run mine.  And we will see who wins.

 

BASH:  Let's talk another - about another one of your opponents, Senator Ted Cruz.

 

He said this week he thinks he will have the Republican nomination wrapped up by the end of March.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

BASH:  You were quite critical of him during the fight of Obamacare, which led to a government shutdown.

 

Let's take a listen.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

FIORINA:  There's no honor in charging a hill that you know you can't take, only casualties, although Ted Cruz maybe got name recognition and money along the way.

 

But President Obama wanted this shutdown.  And Ted Cruz played right into his hands.  And...

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

BASH:  So, do you think Ted Cruz would doom the Republicans' chances in November?

 

FIORINA:  Well, first, let me explain why I said that, because, at the time, we didn't control the Senate.  And we didn't have historic majorities in the House.

 

And so, without controlling the Senate, there was no way that Obamacare was going to be repealed.  Thank goodness the Senate has just finally used the same reconciliation technique to repeal Obamacare that the Democrats used to pass Obama.

 

We will see if Ted Cruz has the nomination locked up.  But I would say that Ted Cruz is just like any other politician.  He says one thing in Manhattan.  He says another thing in Iowa.  He says whatever he needs to say to get elected, and then he's going to do as he pleases.

 

I think the American people are tired of the political class that promises much and delivers much of the same.

 

BASH:  You just gave me an unfortunate segue to my next question, talking about the political class, and saying one thing and meaning another when you want to get elected.

 

Stanford University, that is where you went to college.  They played Iowa Friday.

 

FIORINA:  Yes.  It is my alma mater.

 

BASH:  It is.

 

They played Iowa Friday in the Rose Bowl.  Before the game got under way, you tweeted this.  You tweeted: "I love my alma mater, but rooting for the - for a Hawkeyes win today.  #RoseBowl."

 

Now, I'm sure you have seen this.  When Iowa got creamed, people started tweeting about the #CarlyCurse.

 

Is this exactly the kind of pandering that you were just talking about one second ago, why people hate politicians?

 

FIORINA:  Oh, for heaven's sakes, Dana - for heaven's sakes, can't a girl ever have a little bit of fun?

 

That was a tongue-in-cheek tweet, which the people of Iowa understand, because I was asked over and over again in Iowa, having attended a Hawkeye tailgate, I was asked.  They knew that my heart was torn.

 

You would think, based on this reaction, that I had some - said something really controversial, like, you know, ISIS is a J.V. team, or this demonstration was a result of a video.

 

Let's just say, if the biggest mistake I make is a tongue-in-cheek tweet about a Rose Bowl, the American people will sleep safely when I'm president of the United States.

 

BASH:  OK.  So, it was a joke, not real?

 

FIORINA:  Yes, it was tongue-in-cheek.  For heaven's sake, a girl needs to have a little fun sometimes.  I guess it was a slow news day for the media.

 

BASH:  Well, it was New Year's.

 

Carly Fiorina, thank you so much.  Appreciate that.

 

FIORINA:  Thank you.

 

###END INTERVIEW###

 

 

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