WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Former Hewlett-Packard Co Chief Executive Carly Fiorina announced on Monday she is running for president, becoming the only woman in the pack of Republican candidates for the White House in 2016.
Once one of the most powerful females in the American corporate world, Fiorina registers near the bottom of polls of the dozen or so Republican hopefuls and has never held public office.
"I think I'm the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works. I understand the world, who's in it, how the world works," she said when announcing her bid on ABC News' "Good Morning America" show.
Fiorina, 60, was forced to resign from HP in 2005 as the tech company struggled to digest a US$19 billion merger with Compaq. She has attracted warm receptions at events in the early voting state of Iowa where she is positioning herself as a conservative, pro-business Republican highly critical of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Fiorina argues that her gender would be an advantage in any general election contest with Clinton, as it would dilute the Democratic front-runner's claim that she has the best hope of becoming America's first woman president. "I have a lot of admiration for Hillary Clinton but she clearly is not trustworthy. She has not been transparent about a whole set of things that matter," Fiorina said on Monday.
A breast cancer survivor who lost a stepdaughter to drug addiction, Fiorina is a multimillionaire who has known adversity.
Around the time of her ouster from HP she was derisively dubbed the "anti-Steve Jobs" by one respected tech news website, though the Compaq merger was eventually seen as a success.
Fiorina's attempts to kick start a political career have been rocky. She worked as an aide in John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and caused a stir with comments about then vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's inexperience.
Fiorina lost the election for a United States Senate seat in California to Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer in 2010, failing to benefit from a wave of pro-Republican sentiment nationally.
In the 2016 race, she will promote the fact that she is not a "professional politician" as a virtue that would help her shake up the U.S. political system. "I think it's totally reasonable to look outside the political class that's been in Washington for a really long time," she said.
On policy, she has called for the 2010 "Dodd-Frank" Wall Street oversight law to be scrapped. She wants the United States to take a tougher line against Russia over its behavior in Ukraine and keep sanctions on Iran until it allows full and unfettered inspections to its nuclear program.
"I've never negotiated an Iranian nuclear deal but I've negotiated plenty of deals and there are certain cardinal rules," she recently told voters in New Hampshire. One of them is, "be prepared to walk away from the table," she said.