September 15th, 2008
05:35 PM ET
4 years ago

Fiorina calls SNL impersonation of Palin 'sexist'

 Tina Fey as Gov. Sarah Palin (left) and Amy Poehler as Sen. Hillary Clinton opened 'Saturday Night Live.'
Tina Fey as Gov. Sarah Palin (left) and Amy Poehler as Sen. Hillary Clinton opened 'Saturday Night Live.'

(CNN) - A top aide to John McCain said Monday she thought comedian Tina Fey's impersonation of Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin on NBC's Saturday Night Live over the weekend was sexist because it portrayed the Alaska governor as lacking in substance.

The NBC comedy show's season premiere began with a "nonpartisan message" during which Fey's Palin and Amy Poehler's depiction of Hillary Clinton called for an end to sexism in the presidential race.

"The portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, and so in that sense, they were defining Hillary Clinton as very substantive, and Sarah Palin as totally superficial," Fiorina told MSNBC earlier Monday. "I think that continues the line of argument that is disrespectful in the extreme, and yes, I would say, sexist in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean that she lacks substance."

Watch: 'Palin' makes SNL debut

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO is among McCain's most high profile surrogates and earlier this month was the first member of the Arizona senator's campaign to suggest Democrats were launching sexist attacks at the Republican VP candidate.

"I am appalled by the Obama campaign's attempts to belittle Governor Sarah Palin’s experience,” Fiorina said then. “The facts are that Sarah Palin has made more executive decisions as a Mayor and Governor than Barack Obama has made in his life."

Fiorina, along with other high-profile female backers of McCain, held a press conference at the Republican National Convention criticizing the Obama campaign and the media for what they said were sexist comments about Palin.

"I think one of the things Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency did is attune women's ears to sexist attacks…. Many people have demeaned or belittled [Palin's] experience — and as women, we all know how frequently that happens. This is a well qualified candidate for the vice presidency," she said.


Filed under: Carly Fiorina • Sarah Palin
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. jwm123

    So, have we also lost our sense of humor?? It is SNL!!! I guess that Carly does not need a sense of humor with a $21 million severance package that she received. That is the type of person that I would want to defend me?!

    September 15, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. jAY

    Wow, I don't know many men that have as much substance as Hillary Clinton. I don't know why it is sexist to point out that someone doesn't have substance. That is the job of the media. Honestly, Amy Poehler said somethings that I would like the real Hillary Clinton to say to Sarah Palin.

    September 15, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Old white lady for Obama

    Ms Fiorina needs to lighten up and learn to laugh.

    September 15, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. AD

    I can't stop laughing. Tina Fey was spot on. The Lipstick Queen has no substance. That's not being sexist, that's just tellin' it like it is. Straight Talk Express, right guys?

    September 15, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. S. Boatman

    There Is A Lot Of Humor In The Truth! I Was Laughing The Whole Time Because It Was So Close To The Truth! Tina Could In On The Campaign Trail And No One Would Know The Difference!

    September 15, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  6. Dem in San Diego

    What does "lacking substance" have to do with sexism? If they were being sexist, then they would have done the same thing to Hillary's character, because she is a woman too. But they didn't. Their impersonations had nothing to do with sexism.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  7. Patrick of Albany NY

    Maybe she shouldn't watch SNL until she learns what a joke is.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Houston/Ike

    McCain playing sexist card!!! distraction again!!!!

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Marie C.

    The spoof was right on. If Ms. Fiorina has a problem with that then she should consider pushing another VP.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Nick - Arlington, VA

    That's right everything said about Palin is sexist...including whats with troopergate? what is with you being for the bridge to nowhere? How does seeing Russia from Alaska translate into experince?

    ENOUGH

    OBAMA-BIDEN 2008

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. Ben

    So its sexist if they impersonate Palin...but not Clinton? What?

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  12. O'Biden

    Carly "the McCain supporter who cried out Sexist" Fiorina is such a cry baby AND a hypocrite!!

    Calling everything sexist that doesn't praise Palin. Palin is a grown woman! She can take criticism like everyone else. She deserves no special treatment on this if she wants to run for President.

    Carly, you're just afraid that when Obama/Biden turn the debate to issues important to America instead of this name-calling, hypocritical garbage that McCain/Palin will look hollow in substance and commitment compared to Obama/Biden.

    It's okay though...wait 'til the debates. America will come to its senses then for November.

    Obama 2008/2012

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    ROFLMAO

    I think I found the punch line!

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. andrea

    I wish people would stop tossing this word around, because lets get real hear, there are woman that are experiencing it every day in and out of the work place. The sad part about it is they are acting like the boy that cried wolf. And what's going to happen is when and if it happens no one will come running.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. tennisguypitt

    Oh, shut up.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. Faye Green

    When Palin does her one line zinger "The only person in this campaign who has fought for you is John McCain" that is not sexist as it is a direct slam agaisnt Hillary Clinton's slogan "I will fight for you?" Is Palin implying that no one can fight for the American public but a man???? And don't tell me she was taking this literally as John McCain is the only one of the candidates who fought in the war. Everyting is innuendo, and Palin began this game of innuendo the night she accepted the nomination during her speech!!!

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. Debra

    Perhaps SNL is just calling 'em like they're seeing 'em. Calling someone as lacking in substance has absolutely nothing to do with their gender. Get a sense of humor already.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  18. Jamil - Dearborn

    So SNL basically complimented Hillary but rediculed Palin. How is that sexist? They're both females – you could call it bias but not sexist! Regardless, Hillary and Barack were criticized last season – she was called out for being a sore loser and he was ridiculed for getting favorable press coverage and easy questions. Now that I think of it – John McCain hasn't been made fun of on SNL.

    Second, SNL did the skit not Obama. So why is she appalled by the Obama campaign's attempts to belittle Palin – I don't think there was anything appalling but even if there was, he anger is misdirected. What has Obama done – it not sexist to criticize her. Their whole convention consisted of belittling Obama for community organizing (basically, helping poor people) 20 years ago after college. Now that's what was disrespectful.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. Donavan

    are you kidding me?! It's suppose to offensive. It's comedy! Cry wolf too many times and no one will answer your call! Stop playing the sex card!

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Will

    A candidate who has been entirely rehearsed from her first public appearance lacking substance? Duh.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. John

    Um, Carly, Sarah Palin DOES lack substance. She hired a city manager to handle the day-to-day work of running the city of Wasilla. She showed in her interview with Charlie Gibson that she lacks any real intellectual curiosity or significant knowledge of the issues. It's not sexist to point out the shortcomings of a person when they are so obvious.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  22. Don

    Carly Fiorina didn't make it at HP...and will not make it with McCain....

    you have to be able to laugh at yourself.....it's SNL....

    Fiorina needs to get a life....

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. steve

    funny, there was a line from amy poehler (ie Hillary) in the skit where she says, "It's great youre NOW recoognizing all the sexism.:"

    yeah, great carly–you didnt cry sexism before if/when it was heaped on hillary earlier in the campaign.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Frank

    What else ? Everything is unfair and sexist ... except when Palin was criticizing Clinton for 'whining' during the primaries.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  25. lame

    you're kidding right? i guess people can't take a joke anymore. All they do is cry foul and say "that was sexist!" and CNN picks up on it and runs with it.

    And Palin does lack substance. maybe thats why SNL was making fun of her.

    But HP is slashing almost 25,000 jobs in the next couple of years......doesn't the former CEO want to talk about that instead?

    I didn't think so......

    And another thing....why didn't CNN cover the Protesters in Alaska?

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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