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Carly Fiorina: 'I'm Running for President'

The former H-P chief is expected to be the only major female candidate for the GOP nomination.
/ Source: NBC News

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina says she's running for president.

Fiorina, who is expected to be the only major female candidate for the Republican nomination, made her announcement official on Monday.

In a video announcing her run, Fiorina took an explicit shot at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The former Secretary of State appeared in the first five seconds of her video.

"Our founders never intended us to have a professional political class," she said after a clip of Hillary Clinton's announcement video. "They believed that citizens and leaders needed to step forward."

When asked why she chose to highlight Clinton in her announcement, Fiorina said Clinton "is the personification of the professional political class."

Fiorina has never held elected office and left Hewlett-Packard amid controversy. She unsuccessfully ran for Senate in California in 2010.

She embraced her lack of political experience in her announcement and plans to turn it into an asset on the campaign trail.

"We are going to run a different kind of campaign," said Fiorina, an underdog to reach the nomination who is independently wealthy but does not have the financial support that top-tier candidates like Jeb Bush and Scott Walker have.

"We'll spend our money wisely," she added. "We'll have the money to do what we need to do."

While every candidate hopes for a seamless announcement day and post-announcement bump in the polls, hiccups do occur. For Fiorina, she failed to register the domain name in addition to her actual campaign site Instead, a critic bought it and used it to highlight that she laid off 30,000 people while she ran HP.

Instead of holding a big event, like challenger Dr. Ben Carson did for his announcement on the same day, Fiorina held a conference call with reporters where she answered questions about trade policy, foreign policy, social issues and health care.

She said her top priority as president would be to use technology to change how the government functions and implement "zero based budgeting," a form of budgeting that looks at items line by line. It's a method that Democratic President Jimmy Carter implemented.

She said her second priority would be to call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran. She'd reaffirm the U.S.'s support of Israel to Netanyahu and tell Khamenei that she'd impose strict economic sanctions on Iran. She called the negotiations with Iran "a bad deal."

On same sex marriage, she said we should "protect and respect people's rights" to believe that marriage is a religious institution between a man and a woman, but she said that the federal government should not discriminate against people in the disbursement of benefits.

She said the Democratic Party has become "very extreme" on the issue of abortion and she's work to find "common ground."

On immigration, the former executive said the borders must first be secure, then legal immigration must be addressed, and then come up with a plan for people in the country illegally, who she says, should never be given the opportunity for citizenship.

On tensions between police and residents of Baltimore, she called it "heartbreaking," adding that she was "relieved" to see six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. She condemned the violence that destroyed property as well. Said a solution is to "look at the facts around criminal justice reform."

Fiorina heads to Iowa and New Hampshire for campaign events later this week. Tomorrow, her book, "Rising to the Challenge" is released Tuesday.

— Leigh Ann Caldwell and Carrie Dann