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Fiorina touts foreign policy credentials in final 24 hours before caucus

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Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks to rally goers Sunday morning.
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Iowa sees surge in “caucus tourism” in final days leading up to candidate selection

WAUKEE, Iowa – It was standing room only at the HyVee grocery store restaurant here in this suburb west of Des Moines, as Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina gave her boilerplate stump speech before the crowd, which turned out to be a mix of Democrats, Republicans, native Iowans, out-of-staters and the just plain curious.

“We are very grateful to the people of Iowa,” said Fiorina, dressed in black. “We have built a campaign to go the long haul. And if you send me out of here with the wind at my back, we will go all the way,”

The former Hewlett-Packard executive from California proceeded to remind the voters in the room that she would not be a “status quo” candidate or commander-in-chief, if elected.

But Fiorina did blow on that dog whistle a wee bit as she noted the importance of “God and guns” and also noted the “horrors of the abortion industry.”

Perhaps aimed at some of her wealthier competitors in the race, Fiorina said that a society where the “rich get richer, the wealthy get wealthier and the well-connected get more well-connected” is not a healthy one, particularly as the federal government grows into an evermore “vast, inept, corrupt bureaucracy.”

Fiorina, literally standing on a box so she could be better seen in the grocery store’s restaurant, emphasized how “angry, frustrated and fed up” she was about the face that corruption was so rife in the federal government and how it was high time to return it to a “citizens government.”

And with that, Fiorina said with her corporate experience, along with her “foreign policy credentials” gave her the political bona fides to lead America.

“We need a president who knows how the economy works and someone who knows how the world works,” she said to the rapt audience here in Waukee, just one day before Monday evening’s caucuses are underway across the Hawkeye State.

Fiorina, who has touted her foreign policy expertise throughout her campaign, said that the U.S. must stand with our foreign allies while putting our adversaries on notice. Along with that – noting her past in the tech world – said that “technology is a weapon” and that currently, the US. is losing the war in cyberspace.

Fiorina also echoed Republican talking points about cracking down on illegal immigrants, repealing Obamacare, and going after Planned Parenthood.

Noting the abortion issue, it was during the question-and-answer portion of Fiorina’s speech that a young man – who did not offer his name but claimed to be an Iowan – frantically tried to get Fiorina’s attention. The young man proceeded to share some convoluted, tear jerking story about his dying girlfriend having an abortion before she died and how sad this was. He then asked for a hug from Fiorina, as people nearby began to tear up.

The only issue is that this same guy – along with his “Undecided” film crew (Comedy Central? HBO?) was aboard Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign bus the night before and caused a stir with staffers, filming himself trying to give away RunBenRun SuperPAC T-shirts – which caused a red flag with a Carson staffer and he and the two camera operators were kicked off the bus.

Red Dirt Report tried to track down this political plant, but he and his crew quickly disappeared into the crowd. Interestingly, as we looked for this mysterious man, we ran into noted actor Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Silver City, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) who attended the Fiorina rally and had been at an earlier Carson rally, according to one person we spoke with.

Caucus tourism

An interesting phenomenon we learned about from local Iowans is caucus tourism – political junkies who travel far and wide to come to Iowa and watch this process take place.

At the Fiorina event were three such caucus tourists: Steve Carlson, Jenny Stadler and Colleen Carlson, all from Houston, Texas. 

Before watching Fiorina, the Texas trio had heard both Carson and Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary was really good,” said Stadler. “She’s so experienced.”

Nevertheless, the crowd wasn’t as fired up for Hillary as they were when these three were here in 2008 when Barack Obama was campaigning in Iowa.

As for the Carson event – the one Red Dirt Report was not allowed into, due to the rude behavior of the Secret Service and bogus “capacity”claims from a non-existent fire marshal – Steve Carlson said Carson “avoided policy discussions” and instructed those who were inclined to do so, go to his campaign website and learn more about his various positions. They said they were not impressed by this at all.

Additionally, on Saturday night, as Red Dirt Report stood out in the dark and cold outside Noah’s Event Center in West Des Moines, hoping to get a quick word with Carson, we ran into political scientist Bruce Stinebrinker of Indiana. He told this reporter that Carson spoke very softly and was hard to hear.

Stinebrinker, a caucus tourist and observer who had heard Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio earlier in the day, also noted to the Secret Service presence, noting that they were “really uptight.”

Back at the Fiorina event, Virginia native Nate Morris – now a schoolteacher living in Tulsa, Okla. – was interested in hearing as many candidates as he could during his travels in Iowa. But it was fairly clear that he was in the Hillary Clinton camp.

We also met caucus tourist Marc Daniels of Springfield, Illinois, an observant Jew, complete with yarmulke, Daniels told Red Dirt Report how he was giving each candidate a yarmulke with their name in English and Hebrew on it.

He also said he is in Iowa, following various campaigns and trying to encourage the candidates to work towards “weeding out the hate and sowing the seeds of peace.”

This included ditching the bigoted and racist rhetoric, as has been commonplace this election cycle.

“America cannot evolve without the Hispanic and Muslim influence,” noted Daniels.

When Fiorina was taking questions from the audience, Daniels was the first to speak and proceeded to hand Fiorina a yarmulke. She laughed when she noticed it didn’t have her name on it, but the name of one of her Republican competitors – Marco Rubio. This caused her great laughter and Daniels promised to send her a personalized yarmulke soon.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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