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Political Mercury

Message to CNN: Let Fiorina speak


An overflow audience at the Santa Maria Winery in Carroll Friday gave Carly Fiorina her most sustained applause before the Republican presidential aspirant even entered the room.

Craig Williams, chairman of the Carroll County Republican Party, introduced Fiorina with an exhortation to the more than 150 in attendance: send a message to CNN; let Fiorina on the main Republican debate stage Sept. 16 at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.

The CNN process at this point relies in part on earlier summer polling, which could keep Fiorina, the surging former Hewlett-Packard CEO and the lone female GOP candidate for the White House, out of the main rhetorical slugfest and relegated to an undercard or junior-varsity panel.

Williams said Fiorina is in the top five or 10 in recent polling. A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows Fiorina in seventh place in the Hawkeye State with 5 percent support among likely GOP caucus-goers. That’s the same position she holds in the national Real Clear Politics polling average from Aug. 11 to 25.

“She made a great name for herself in the first debate,” Williams said of her appearance in the Aug. 6 FOX News debate in Cleveland. “I think CNN is doing a great disservice to the people of this country by not allowing Carly Fiorina on stage.”

Prep Iowa

For her part, Fiorina used her lunchtime campaign event in downtown Carroll to chew on the liberal establishment, salting a conservative pitch with populist appeals.

Texas native Fiorina, a former U.S. Senate candidate from California now living in Virginia, said she would reduce the 7,300-page tax code to three pages.

“When something is really complicated, who benefits?” she asked. “Lawyers, accountants, lobbyists.”

Fiorina said she’d close all tax loopholes and lower rates in the federal system.

“Simplify, simplify, simplify, that’s my answer,” Fiorina said.

She added, “Most of you think the federal government is corrupt — me, too.”

The Republican candidate — who gave a brief speech before jumping into a wide-ranging question-and-answer session — also said she’d send out regular text messages from the Oval Office on issues of the day to as many of the 320 million Americans who’d respond on a smart phone. (She joked that too many Iowans have flip phones and need to upgrade.) The real-time feedback would allow her to fortify the commander in chief bully pulpit with citizen input vital for moving Congress to act in the public interest, Fiorina said.

Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina talks with some of the 150 people who turned out to see her speak in Carroll last Friday.

Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina talks with some of the 150 people who turned out to see her speak in Carroll last Friday.

Fiorina said she would work to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and limit the power of the insurance industry, which she charged has been living large in a “cozy little game” with current government policies.

“The professional political class has let us down,” Fiorina said.

On an issue of primary importance to rural Iowa and much of American agriculture, Fiorina said she supports continuation of the Renewable Fuel Standard, an ethanol-boosting mandate, through 2022, when it is set to expire.

In principle, she said, it makes sense to pull the long arm of the government, and the mandates and subsidies it carries to favored interests, from the nation’s private market.

“Maybe we say they’re all going to go away in 2022,” Fiorina said.

On foreign affairs, Fiorina said she would stand firm with Israel and expressed grave doubts about the Iran nuclear deal ironed out by the Obama administration with other leading nations and scheduled for a congressional vote soon.

She also stressed a pro-life message on abortion.

“Every single life, every single child, is gifted by God,” Fiorina said.

Keeley Sinnard, 48, a Carroll Republican and independent contractor for an information technology company, said she is strongly considering Fiorina, who she thinks is down to earth.

“She’s one of us,” Sinnard said. “She took questions, spoke from her heart.  She’s real, and she’s honest. She makes a lot of sense. I’m very impressed, actually. It’s been a long time since I’ve been really impressed.” CV

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who resides in Carroll. He and his family own and publish newspapers in Carroll, Jefferson and other neighboring communities.

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