Friday, October 22, 2010

Carly Fiorina Profiled at Los Angeles Times

See, "Fiorina Presents a Sharp Contrast in Images":

The Senate bid is Fiorina's first run for office, but she has a voting record that is spotty at best and, by all accounts, she had little interest in politics well into adulthood.

"She had," her first husband, Todd Bartlem, said in a recent interview, "no opinions."

She set sail against Boxer with the ideological winds of the moment, tapping into the anti-incumbent anger that has swept some portions of the nation. While decrying the partisan divide in Washington, Fiorina has derided Boxer as "an embarrassment" and has claimed that Boxer is backed by environmental "extremists," although she seemed flummoxed recently when asked to name them.

In a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans, Fiorina has surprised the political establishment by declining to make many nods toward the center.

She has remained a steadfast defender of Arizona's controversial immigration law and has not wavered in support of Proposition 23, the November ballot measure that would suspend efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Fiorina has called Proposition 23 a job-saver and was recently feted at a fundraiser hosted in part by the billionaire Koch brothers, who control oil pipelines and have pumped money into the fight.

Fiorina has said she would support overturning Roe vs. Wade, saying her views on abortion were formed largely because Frank Fiorina's mother was told to abort him due to health risks.

She is something of a sensation among hard-line conservatives, particularly tea party organizations.

"She takes on impossible things, and she accomplishes them," said Glenda Gilliland, a Fresno Tea Party activist who retired from HP in 2005 and attended a recent Fiorina speech. "I think she will fight — I know she will — for the people of California."

But Fiorina's support from hard-line conservatives can make for an awkward dynamic; she appears to be more measured and moderate than they think she is. At recent campaign appearances, for example, several of her supporters volunteered to a reporter — as fact — that President Obama is an African-born Muslim.

Asked whether she's comfortable with support from that arm of the political spectrum, Fiorina said: "I certainly don't agree with it. I don't think the president is a Muslim. He clearly is a Christian. He clearly was born in America."

Meanwhile, two organizations that have said the Obama administration promotes the "homosexual infiltration of schools" have spent $60,000 on advertising for Fiorina and pledged more. Fiorina's aides made clear that she does not agree with the groups' position — and contended that she has no control over who promotes her candidacy.

"One of the things that has happened in politics that doesn't happen in the rest of life is that people say: 'Well, if I don't agree with someone 100% of the time, I can't work with them,'" Fiorina said in an interview. "And I think it's why there is so much partisan bickering on both sides of the aisle."

"In the rest of life … you rarely agree with someone like that.… But if you can find enough common ground, you can get something done," she said. "You can solve a problem. You can accomplish a goal."