Bringing The World Home To You

© 2024 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fiorina Carries Debate Momentum To South Carolina

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at a presidential forum sponsored by Heritage Action in Greenville, S.C.
Richard Shiro
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at a presidential forum sponsored by Heritage Action in Greenville, S.C.

Carly Fiorina had a big moment in the spotlight earlier this week during the second Republican debate — and she seized it. But to gain ground in the crowded primary race, the former Hewlett Packard CEO will need to build her campaign and connect with the party's base.

In Greenville, S.C., she addressed the Heritage Action for America forum Friday, doubling down on her calls to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

"With record majorities in the House of Representatives, and with a majority in the U.S. Senate, if we do not have the courage to say, 'President Obama, if you're prepared to shut down the government to defend this kind of barbarity, have at it and explain it to the American people,' " she said, eliciting applause and at one point, a standing ovation by many in the crowd.

Fact checkers have pointed out that a sting video Fiorina refers to, produced by an anti-abortion-rights group, includes stock footage edited to suggest it was taken at Planned Parenthood.

Though she's embraced this issue that excites the GOP base, on the campaign trail she more often talks about the decades she spent in business. With increased attention comes increased scrutiny of that record. On Friday night, she addressed her tenure at Hewlett Packard, which included massive layoffs.

"It's very difficult, painful, to tell people that they don't have a job anymore," she said. "And yet sometimes that has to be done because, for heaven's sakes, sometimes a bureaucracy gets so bloated — we have one in Washington, D.C. — that really and truly, there are too many people working there and not adding enough value."

The fact that Fiorina comes from outside politics is attractive to Brian Bassett, of Greenville, but he understands that her business record could cause her problems.

"Carly's background is a little bit more troublesome," Bassett says. "I know that she had trouble at HP. A lot of people don't like her; a lot of people do. I think there's going be a lot of mud to sling, and I don't want to see it."

Bassett says he prefers another political outsider, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. His wife, Maria, also likes Carson, and she says she appreciates Fiorina's tough talk about defunding Planned Parenthood.

"She's very clear in her opinion of it, and I think that's excellent. She's not afraid of it," she says.

Maria Bassett also likes the way Fiorina talks about being the only woman in the Republican field.

"She's not playing the woman card. She is a woman, and she addresses that as necessary, but she's not using that to try to get voters. I think that's really important," she says. "It's one of the reasons I like her."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.
More Stories