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. Myrna

    Much ado about nothing. This was SNL, for crying out loud. Ever heard of the word 'parody' or 'comedy'?? Lighten up, already! There must be better issues to spend your time complaining about.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Abigail

    Uh-oh, someone forgot to reset Fiorina's vocabulary again and it's stuck on "sexist"...

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. Jacob

    Are you serious??? It is Saturday Night Live!!!!! THEY MAKE FUN OF EVERYONE!!!! Did she miss the part where they gave Hillary Testies, or was that the substance she was talking about.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. S. Boatman

    This Was A Perfect Portrayal Of Palin!

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. Jeff, OR

    “The facts are that Sarah Palin has made more executive decisions as a Mayor and Governor than Barack Obama has made in his life."

    Someone may want to inform Fiorina that McCain hasn't made any executive decisions either. They are make themselves look silly with the fake outrage.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. carol

    Uh, it's Saturday Night Live, it's a comedy show, it's supposed to be satirical. Republicans have no sense of humor or irony, I guess.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. Mike

    Did the McCain surrogates have to draw straws to see who would come out and claim the skit was sexist to the media and further the ridiculous narrative of sexism? Or does she really believe this?

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. Jonathan

    If belittling Palin's achievements is sexist, THEN SARAH PALIN IS THE WORST SEXIST IN HISTORY FOR BELITTLING OBAMA'S PAST ACHIEVEMENTS AS COMMUNITY ORGANISER!

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. D7

    Either Fiorina isn't clear on what sexism is, or she doesn't realize that Hillary is female. She had about the same amount of success running Hewlett-Packard.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. mama

    Does Palin lack substance? If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn't, show me. And tell me just when and how substance, or the lack there of, became sexist.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Rebublican for Obama

    Joke or not, it was accurate. Palin is all lies, and mostly fluff! If she had any substance to her, why would McSame be shielding her from media interviews???

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. J Feller

    This article speaks worse for John McCain and the people who support him as his top aides than any SNL skit, considering that Fiorina has absolutely no idea how to define the word "sexist." You are not a "sexist" just because you criticize a female or take a negative view of a woman and her actions. In order to be "sexist" you have to be judging or limiting that woman simply for being a woman. Claiming that anyone who has a less than positive opinion of Sarah Palin is automatically a sexist is actually going against civil liberties for woman – Fiorina is in essence saying that Palin should be sheltered from all criticism simply because she's a woman. As a woman, I find that more shameful than anything SNL may have done.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. Lewis

    Oh for the love of god people......it is Saturday Night Live! Let it go. They have been making fun of politicians since 1975. Chevy Chase as a bumbling Gerald Ford. John Goodman as Linda Trippe (brillant), Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton....the list goes on.

    Tina Fey played Palin to a T and believe it or not there is truly a LOT to make fun of. Can't wait till next week!

    I mean come on people......really.....

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. Mary

    There is no need for anyone else to "make" Palin appear to lack substance, she's doing a fine job of it herself. If Palin had handled herself well in her interview, the bit would not have worked.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Johnny

    That lady has no sense of humor...just another Republican robot, big surprise.

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. observer

    No one can criticize Palin without being called a sexist. :/

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. hitobito

    Sexist? No way Carly, it may be an overstatement of Palin's expertise, experience and foreign affairs knowledge....I mean she can actually see Russia, doesn't that count as foreign affairs expertise? The Bush Doctrine? She was completely and totally clueless when Charlie Gibson asked her if she supported the Bush Doctrine? McCain said today in midst of a stock market meltdown that the "economy is fundamentally sound"! He is stupid or just suffering from some POW alzheimers? McCain was right when he said he didn't understand economics! McCain and Palin can lie all they want about Obama, but the people want real answers to real problems.

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  18. David

    The fact that Palin can't speak to press openly shows how really lame she is

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Lissa in Montreal

    This woman makes it sound as though CNN parodied Palin. No sense of humor, I guess, when one is Republican...

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. cyp

    No, just Sarah Palin lacks substance, not the rest of us ladies.

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  21. Iowan that can think for himself

    Cry, Cry, Cry me a river! If it goes one way it's ok, but once the storm hits your house it's now unfair. Also, the republicans need to stop using the words "Sexist". I guess if you make fun of or even just disagree with a woman, you're sexist. If women want to be treated equally, then they need not to complain when treated equally.

    Just like the school bully, can dish it but can't take it.

    Typical Republicans

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  22. Hillary Supporter for Obama

    Wait, so it's sexist because Palin is being shown as lacking in substance and Hillary is not? How is that sexist, they're both women!! That's the stupidest thing I ever heard!

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  23. Lynn P, Santa Barbara CA

    If the shoe fits....

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. Linda

    To coin an old phrase, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Let's talk about substance, shall we?

    Carly Fiorina was forced out of HP because, contrary to the historic culture of HP, she authorized spying on employees who opposed her – presumably even using wiretaps! Further, she built such a healthy infrastructure with HP that....hmmm....today they just announced they were having to slash 24,000 jobs by 2011.

    Finally, she carelessly uses the term "sexist" when, in fact, she was simply offended that her candidate was not portrayed in the best light – thus shamelessly playing the gender card.

    Carly Fiorina has been shown that she is a leader without integrity or skill at managing a business. Further, she is willing to claim discrimination simply because she doesn't get her own way.

    Talk about a lack of substance!

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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