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Carly Fiorina: I am going to win
[August 13, 2010]

Carly Fiorina: I am going to win

Aug 10, 2010 (Globes - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Carly Fiorina, the most powerful woman in the US high tech industry, enters the lobby of the Rosewood-Sandhill Hotel in San Francisco. Healthy and vibrant, Fiorina feels at home here, despite being out of the business for several years now. The headquarters of several of the biggest venture capital firms Benchmark, Sequoia and Blackstone are just down the road. They used to be part of her daily schedule, but now Fiorina, the former CEO of computer giant HP, is running for the US Senate as a Republican, to represent the largest state, California.

Only five days after breast reconstruction surgery, Fiorina, 55, does not show any sign of physical frailty. Following a rough year, during which she was diagnosed with cancer and went through rough chemotherapy and surgery, she is now energized for the new chapter of her life. The mid-term election will take place in November, and although some people call her Carly "Fail-iorina", alluding to her stormy years as HP's CEO, Fiorina is not shaken. "Battling cancer last year put everything in a different perspective. The scrutiny is intense but it is not life or death" she tells Globes in an exclusive interview.

So if you will lose, it is not a big deal? "I don't think I am going to lose. I am going to win," Fiorina quickly pulls out the answer of a seasoned politician. "But if I were to lose, that's not life or death." Fiorina is probably the most outstanding nominee of the Republican Party for this fall's elections. She is running against seasoned Democratic and Jewish Senator Barbara Boxer, a well known figure in the wealthy Jewish community of northern California. Fiorina wants a share of the Jewish vote as well. She has invested 5.5 million dollars of her own capital into the campaign so far, and she intends to visit Israel soon, for the first time, maybe even this month.

"I had previous visits scheduled for Israel and for a variety of reasons I had to postpone them," she says. But although she has never been to Israel, Fiorina talks fondly of Israel's high tech.

"We bought Indigo when I was at HP. It is not simply that we got a great technology but we got people who challenged our culture in a productive way, people who ask great questions, who were demanding about our performance, so our Israeli employees made a huge difference, world wide." Why are you visiting Israel in the middle of the campaign? "I think it is a very important time in the US-Israeli relationship. I want to renew my acquaintances with Israeli leaders, some of them I already know. I met PM Netanyahu and President Peres, and I know Ehud Barak. So if the schedule will permit I'll meet them and convey directly to the people of Israel that they will not have a stronger friend in the US Senate than me." Fiorina's strength in running for political office is her extensive experience in the corporate world. During the interview she claims that she will be able to create more jobs, deal better with health reform issues, and help families and small businesses in California. "I am not a professional politician. I am a businesswoman, and I bring to this job a real life practice" she says.

Though she is more versed in economic issues, Fiorina doesn't shy away from foreign affairs, especially Iran.

"The Sanctions Bill has been languishing for too long in the House and the Senate" she says of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions bill that passed last month. "Now the President has 90 days to begin enacting those sanctions, and because time is of the essence here and the sanctions we are unilaterally imposing are stronger than those the UN passed, I think we can make a difference by trying to restrict the capital flows to the Revolutionary Guard. I think we can make a difference in beginning to curtail the sale of refined petroleum products." What if Israel plans to attack Iran? "We have to use every source of leverage and pressure we possess to turn this regime away from its quest, and we must leave every option on the table to do so. But also, we should not be sending the signal that it is up to Israel, if all things fail, to take action. I always support Israel's right and ability to defend itself. And it is clear that Israel faces an unsustainable threat from the Iranian regime. It is not just Israel's job to take care of it." "Isn't it wonderful that the Iranians have iPhones?" Was HP selling computer products to Iran back in 2004, during your tenure as HP CEO? "HP, in full compliance with American export laws, was distributing printer ink. Dell sells PCs, Apple sells iPhones, and certain printer ink was permitted in export law." "But isn't it wonderful that Dell PCs and Apple iPhones are in Iran, because this is why we know that a woman has been condemned to be stoned to death because she is accused of adultery. This is how we know that this regime kills demonstrators and tortures political activists. The knowledge that we gain about was going on there is important. It gives us a human face on a brutal regime.

"So I think in addition to crippling sanctions on the regime, we should be encouraging elements of political reform inside Iran, and one of the ways to do that is by selling communication in and out." Do you think Israel should continue with the settlement freeze and try to work with the Palestinians in a more productive way? "The freeze on the settlements was unprecedented on the part of Israel and there has been no response. PM Netanyahu says that he is willing to sit and talk without pre-conditions. He called on Mahmoud Abbas to be willing to sit and talk without pre-conditions but there doesn't seem to be someone on the other side willing to talk" To see more of the Globes or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2010, Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit, e-mail [email protected], or call 866-280-5210 (outside the United States, call +1 312-222-4544).

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