Carolina’s on their minds Fiorina slams VA during Citadel stop, courts S.C. Chamber leaders

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, File.

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina told a group of business owners in Columbia if she were to be the Republican nominee she could defeat Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, in the general election.

“Yes I can beat her but it’s also important to have somebody who knows how to do the job,” Fiorina, who has never held public office, said. “We cannot have on-the-job training in the Oval Office again.”

Hours later at The Citadel in Charleston, Fiorina told a group interested in veterans’ issue that the Department of Veterans Affairs has shown a pattern of ineptitude, highlighted by administrators getting bonuses when patients are on waiting lists or worse.

“It is a stain on our nation’s honor,” she told 125 people gathered for a Concerned Veterans for America forum.

Fiorina’s stops came during a three-day tour of the state as the 14-candidate Republican field gears up for the state’s Feb. 20 GOP presidential preference primary.

At both engagements, Fiorina targeted government performance, saying a great weakness of the federal system is there are no consequences for nonperformance.

Before a crowd of more than 60 members of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Fiorina said her six years as CEO of computer tech company Hewlett-Packard taught her to navigate bureaucracies, and the importance of an educated workforce and boosting the economy.

She blasted the completed Trans Pacific Partnership treaty with 12 Pacific Rim nations that, once signed by President Barack Obama, could also be used to enforce any climate-change treaty reached in Paris this week without additional congressional approval besides the TPP’s up or down vote.

“Climate change is not our most pressing national security threat—ISIS is, followed closely by Iran,” Fiorina said. “Who knows what they’re going to come up with in Paris, but I don’t want us bound to that agreement when we don’t know what it’s going to become.”

Fiorina’s ascent from an office secretary to graduating from MIT and Maryland business schools and running a Fortune 20 company resonated with business owners like Deepal Eliatamby, president of Alliance Consulting Engineers.

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Eliatamby moved from Sri Lanka 31 years ago to attend the University of South Carolina. He began work as an engineer following graduation and then started his own company 12 years ago. He took a more optimistic view toward Fiorina’s depiction of the country’s managed economic decline.

“Certainly there’s lots of room for improvement,” Eliatamby said. “I am more of an optimist so I want to say the glass is half full, but we have a ways to go to fill it.”

Fiorina also targeted the Obama-Hillary Clinton foreign policy, from when Clinton was secretary of state, saying they have erred on multiple fronts, ranging from claiming the terror group ISIS can be contained, to standing up and dealing with aggressions by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t pay attention to what Hillary Clinton says, but I pay attention to what she’s done and she’s gotten every foreign policy decision wrong,” Fiorina said in Charleston.

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