Carly Fiorina acknowledged that she would have an uphill battle to the White House after her official campaign launch Monday morning in response to questions about her low polling and fundraising numbers.
“I think we have time. I think our path going forward is to continue to meet with as many people as possible, to continue to talk with people about the necessity now to re-imagine government, to continue to talk about why someone from outside the professional political class makes the most sense for our nation,” the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard told reporters in a conference call. “We won’t raise the most money of anyone in our field for sure, but we will raise sufficient money.”
Fiorina said the top two things she would use her power as president to do would be to go to zero-based budgeting, a process that would force every line item in the federal budget to be justified, and to better implement technology in the federal government to get direct feedback from citizens. Her first three calls in office would be, in this order: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei, and the head of the Democratic Party. Fiorina also reiterated her pro-life stance on abortion, and said she supports civil unions for same-sex couples but believes they should receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples.
“I think government cannot provide benefits in a discriminatory fashion,” she said. “But marriage is a religious institution. Only a man and a woman can create life which is a gift that comes from God, and I think it is important for us to respect and protect those who hold that view.”
She also said she does not support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants now living in the United States. “At some point they may be able to earn legal status, but I do not think they should have a right to earn the privilege of citizenship,” she said. “Perhaps their children will get to be citizens someday, but I think the privilege of citizenship should be left to those who have worked hard and have done it the right way.”
Asked if there are any big primary states she thinks she can win, Fiorina declined to offer an answer.
“It’s my first day,” she said. “We’ve got a long way to go.”
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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com