Carly Fiorina Nails Katie Couric on Double Standards, Hillary Defense

Newly minted Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina went toe-to-toe with liberal journalist Katie Couric on Monday, sparring for 45 minutes on abortion, Hillary Clinton and qualifications for President. Yahoo correspondent Couric complained about Fiorina's criticism of Clinton: "You've had some unkind words for Hillary Clinton. You said that she was not trustworthy and she hasn't accomplished very much. I think people might think, 'Well, she was the senator from New York and she was the Secretary of State.'" 

Couric chided, "How can you really make those claims?" This came after Couric had her own "unkind words" for Fiorina, reminding, "During your tenure at HP, the stock fell by more than 50 percent, which is a bigger drop than companies like IBM and Dell. And you were fired after five and a half years as CEO." 

Fiorina put the two questions together and zinged: 

FIORINA: Well, you see, Katie, in the world I come from, a title is just a title. I mean, you went through a whole bunch of things about me as CEO. You weren't impressed with my title. Why are we so impressed with political titles? Senator is a title. Secretary of State is a title. It's a completely legitimate question to say, "What has anyone accomplished with their title?" And the truth is, there are many in the political class who haven't accomplished a whole lot, despite their titles.

Couric quoted comedienne Cecily Strong as saying, "Carly Fiorina is considering running for President." Seems like a lot of work just to be a Fox News pundit." The Republican retorted, "Oh, Katie. Would you ask a male candidate that question?" 

The veteran journalist also hectored Fiorina on the Republican Party's alleged problems with women: "Let me ask you about the GOP and the trouble it's had among female voters. As you well know, in the last midterms, women were ten points less likely than men to support Republicans. It's the largest gender gap in decades. How do you shore that up for the GOP?"

In March, Couric lectured Mitt Romney, rejecting his criticism of Clinton and her deleting of 30,000 e-mails as Secretary of State. Couric insisted that "plenty of politicians" "use personal e-mail."  

A partial transcript is below: 

Yahoo News With Katie Couric
5/4/15

KATIE COURIC: You have an incredibly strong business and tech background. Clearly, that's increasingly important in any campaign, your digital presence. And a lot of people were surprised that your team did not register Carli Fiorina, but someone else did. And this is what they did with it. They said, "Carli Fiorina failed to register this domain. So, I'm using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewitt Packard. It was this many. That's 30,000 people she laid off. People with families." They use frowny faces. "People with families. And what does she say she would have done differently? Quote, 'I would have done them faster.'" What's your reaction and what would you say to the person who did – set that website up?    

...


COURIC: During your tenure at HP, the stock fell by more than 50 percent, which is a bigger drop than companies like IBM and Dell. And you were fired after five and a half years as CEO. So, what, since your asking Americans to elect you as President, how would you explain that to them? 

...
    

COURIC: Speaking of women, you've had some unkind words for Hillary Clinton. You said that she was not trustworthy and she hasn't accomplished very much. I think people might think, "Well, she was the senator from New York and she was the Secretary of State." How can you really make those claims? 

FIORINA: Well, you see, Katie, in the world I come from, a title is just a title. I mean, you went through a whole bunch of things about me as CEO. You weren't impressed with my title. Why are we so impressed with political titles? Senator is a title. Secretary of State is a title. It's a completely legitimate question to say, "What has anyone accomplished with their title?" And the truth is, there are many in the political class who haven't accomplished a whole lot, despite their titles.

COURIC: What about the trustworthy claim? 

FIORINA: Well, you know, I think when you know that Benghazi is a purposeful terrorist attack and you peddle a fiction for four weeks after that attack, that indicates you are not trustworthy. When you talk about a private e-mail server, that's not trustworthy. When it turns out that you were supposed to be disclosing all these foreign government donations to the Clinton Global Initiative while you were Secretary of State and you didn't and now the Clinton Global Initiative is having to restate their 990s, that doesn't sound very trustworthy to me. 

...

COURIC: Let me ask you about the GOP and the trouble it's had among female voters. As you well know, in the last midterms, women were ten points less likely than men to support Republicans. It's the largest gender gap in decades. How do you shore that up for the GOP? 

...

FIORINA: A lot of times, women will come up to me and say, "You know, I'm very uncomfortable with the extreme position the Republican Party takes on abortion." And so, I'll say, "Do you know what the Democratic position is?" Most people don't, by the way. The Democratic policy is any abortion, any time, for any reason at any point in a woman's pregnancy, right up until the last minute, to be paid by taxpayers. Barbara Boxer described this policy as, "It's not a life until it leave the hospital." How do you feel about that? Most women are horrified. 

...

COURIC: But you say after five months and you oppose abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest or if the mother's life is in danger. 

FIORINA I'm pro-life. 

COURIC: So – But what you're saying is that most Americans support it – 

FIORINA: Right. So, let's find common ground. 

COURIC: So, what is the common ground? 

FIORINA: Well, the common ground, clearly, now, if you look at the polls, the common ground is that people believe abortion after five months for any reason at all is wrong. So, good. Let's take the common ground: 

COURIC: But what about – What about – So – So – Where is the common ground? 

FIORINA: Let's take that common ground. 

COURIC: So, you oppose it, except in the case of rape, incest or if the mother's life is in danger. So, what about those who feel it should be legal for the first five months? 

FIORINA: You see, Katie, I think you're just jumping over what I just said. So, what the political class on both sides has done for way too long is argue at the extremes. And in the meantime, there is real common ground. So, we can argue at the extremes here or we can say, you know what – 

COURIC: No, I'm curious what is the common ground? 

FIORINA: The common ground is if you look at every poll, the majority of Americans, the majority of women and the majority of young people now believe that abortion for any reason is now wrong. So, let's pass – there was a bill in front of the House. Let's pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. That's common ground. 

COURIC: So, what is your position on abortion though? Your – as a candidate? 

FIORINA: I'm a pro-life candidate because I believe that science is proving us right every day. 

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COURIC: Cecily Strong, at the White House Correspondents Dinner said, "Carly Fiorina is considering running for President." Seems like a lot of work just to be a Fox News pundit." By the way, she took shots at many, many people. But implicit in those comments, or that comment, Carly is that, you, many people think you don't have a great chance at securing the GOP nomination. You're polling around one percent. So, is this, are you hoping that you'll be tapped as the vice presidential candidate? 

FIORINA: Oh, Katie. Would you ask a male candidate that? 

COURIC: Yes, I would ask a male candidate that! I think a male candidate that is polling at one percent, I would ask that question!

FIORINA: Well, look, I started out as a secretary in a nine person real estate firm. I've been underestimated my whole life and it doesn't trouble me that a bunch of polls or a bunch of pundits are underestimating me now.  

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.