California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, who has billed herself as a "tough choices" decision maker, has consistently voiced support for extending Bush tax cuts for high earners. The cuts, which would reportedly add an estimated $4 trillion dollars* to the national debt, became a heated topic of debate on Fox News's Chris Wallace on Sunday. Wallace asks this question, "As a bottom line businesswoman, where are you going to find $4 trillion to cut?" Fiorina struggles to give a specific response.

At first, she tries to skirt the question, stating that government has grown steadily over the past sixty years, that that in the "last two it's gotten really out of control," and that she was in favor of banning earmarks. Wallace presses to name one specific program. Instead, Fiorina chooses to discuss spending, taking a dig at "career politicians" like her opponent Barbara Boxer. Again, Wallace seeks an answer from Fiorina, who names some statistic-filled talking points, but still doesn't list any entitlement programs to cut.


A few liberal pundits, naturally, had a field day with Fiorina's revealing non-response.

  • Steve Benen at Washington Monthly observed that "like far too many of her GOP brethren, Fiorina loves the idea of cutting taxes for millionaires, and is equally fond of touting the idea of deficit reduction, but seems to fall apart fairly quickly when pressed for any kind of substance that would make this agenda coherent."
  • Tanya Somander at ThinkProgress counted seven times in total where the candidate dodged the question, noting "for all of Fiorina’s bluster about government spending, her solutions don’t add up to any serious impact. An earmark ban would only account for less than one percent of the federal budget and eliminating ineffective or duplicative programs would not come close to addressing the deficit."
*Clarification: The $4 trillion figure refers to all Bush tax cuts, not only the ones on high-income taxpayers.