Carly Fiorina Defends Female Hormones, Ridicules Rubio VA Bill

The Republican is expected to announce her own presidential campaign in the coming weeks.

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit April 18, 2015 in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Photographer: Darren McCollester/Getty Images

NASHUA, New Hampshire—Entering and exiting the stage to Alicia Keys' hit song, "Girl on Fire," former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina criticized Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as undeserving and derided a signature legislative proposal of fellow Republican Marco Rubio as inadequate. 

Fiorina's broadside against Clinton is a staple of her public speeches as she weighs a Republican presidential bid but at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit here, she expanded the target zone to include the Democratic front runner's husband, former President Bill Clinton.

“I was asked this morning on Fox News whether a woman’s hormones prevented her from serving in the Oval Office," Fiorina said, adding sarcastically: "Not that we have seen examples ever of a man’s judgment being clouded by hormones, including in the Oval Office."

Bill Clinton was impeached by the House, but avoided conviction by the Senate, after lying about sexual encounters with one-time White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“Hillary Clinton cannot be president of the United States, but not because she is a woman," Fiorina said. "Hillary Clinton must not be president of the United States because she does not have a track record of accomplishment, because she lacks the candor and transparency that are so necessary to leadership, and because she will pursue a set of policies that crush possibilities and the potential of this great nation.”

Fiorina, 60, has assumed the role as one of her party's most aggressive critics of Clinton, who made her presidential bid official this week. After a career in business, Fiorina waded into electoral politics in 2010, winning her party's U.S. Senate nomination in California before losing to incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer by 10 percentage points.

The Californian reminded New Hampshire voters that she's her party's only potential candidate who has not spent a lifetime in politics, saying that she has the leadership skills to "change the order of things for the better."

As an example of the poor problem-solving in Washington, Fiorina pointed to the Veterans Affairs Department, which she sarcastically described as "undergoing a major systems upgrade since 1989."

Fiorina targeted a provision in a VA reform package Congress passed last year that makes it easier to fire senior managers. The provision was co-sponsored by Rubio, a newly-minted Republican presidential candidate. A day earlier on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, he touted it as one of his proudest accomplishments. 

Rubio's proposal, and the legislation that included it, was signed into law after an inspector general’s report showed widespread mismanagement at the VA, such as keeping phony lists to hide the long waits veterans face for medical appointments. At least 35 veterans died while awaiting care in Phoenix, officials said.

Fiorina dismissed it as a half-measure.

"It's not that that's a bad idea," Fiorina said about firing VA managers. "Maybe we should do it all throughout  government. It's just, really? That's the best we can do?"

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