September 15th, 2008
05:35 PM ET
5 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. UCLAdy04

    Tina Fey...SEXIST?! Give me a break! Somebody call the whambulance!

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. mike in central va

    after hearing that idiot woman on wolf b's show a few seconds ago trying to deny that j. mcliar did not say that the fundamentals of our financial system were strong and listening to mcliar say it when i listened to the town hall meeting myself, i am now confident that fiorina would lie to GOD!! what a sorry human being she is. the whole mccain campaign is a JOKE. no substance. no issues. just bald faced LIES!!! i listen to POTUS on xm all day. its very easy to catch them lying it happens every time thier lips move.

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    any negative on Palin will be sexist, that is what she needs to hide behind for her lack of substance. I am a woman and I will say, she is no where near qualify, and she looks nothing but like the witchy boss woman that everyone dislike

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. gimmeabreak

    Fiorina should stick to ruining tech companies and pilfering them on their way out, you are much better at that than you are at politics.

    As far as substance, does that mean Palin should be more unforgiving in the republican ransacking of America, kind of like Fiorina's approach to HP, how's she Fiorina a credible source on anything.

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. Lewis King

    Carly is a psycho. That's why she was fired from HP. Stop this tomfoolery.

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. Jim, IN

    So saying palin lacks substance and clinton doesnt is sexist, even though they are both women?

    Incoming McCain press release at VP debate:

    "We are appalled and outraged that the moderator felt it was appropriate to ask Sarah Palin questions during this debate. This shows a new low in society that she would be asked such outrageous questions without any respect to her achievements in the past and without deference to her years of executive experience."

    I think their B.S. is even starting to stink out fellow republicans.

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Donkey Party

    Wait a minute, what happened to all the "relax, have a sense of humor" quotes from the McCain camp. Anyone else getting tired of this so over-the-top phoney baloney outrage? The Republicans really, I mean really, think American voters are stupid, but to a degree, I have to agree. It's the stupidest of Americans that'll be voting for McCain and his hot mess of a VP pick.

    September 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  8. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    ha ha ha ha ha!!!

    Carly, Carly, Carly. I think you need to go out and buy yourself a sense of humor.

    By the way: have you any "issues" that you would like to discuss while you are in front of the microphone... you know things like McCain's plan for the economy, healthcare, foreign policy. No!! Then go home.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  9. California

    SNL makes a joke about Palin and it is Obama's fault?

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. Roger from CA

    Oh, for the love of all things holy or otherwise!!

    I can't take how the republicans just make stuff up when they want to spin something their way!!

    Precisely HOW can a skit that compares TWO WOMEN be viewed as "sexist"? I thought the SNL writers and the performers did an EXEMPLARY job of avoiding playing of female stereotypes and issues.

    There was NOTHING in what was said by either of the characters–or implied in the dialogue or acting–which was derogatory of Palin on the basis of her sex.

    Yes, Palin was portrayed as puddle-deep in her understanding of issues and in her experience compared to Hillary Clinton, but that was NOT SEXISM!!

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. Hannah Stevens

    Fiorna is a loser, nearly brought down HP when she was CEO. If this is the kind of people McCain surrounds himself with now, just wait until the bad chaps role in if he were selected pres.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Cynthia in Raleigh

    LMAO! So basically it boils down to, it took Tina Fey portraying Palin for you to finally see that Palin has no substance!! Good one.

    I'm a woman and this sexism card is really getting annoying. At this point, I hope they continue to pull it because I believe the majority of Americans will become just as annoyed and it will backfire in the end.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Ted

    HAHAHAHAHA!
    Really...that's just sad. Lack of substance is not gender. Her own party was doing that to Obama during the RNC. Is that racist or sexist? No. And neither is this.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Y

    Tina Fey had more substance than Sarah Palin herself.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. TheTruthHurts

    It was sexist. So what? SNL tells jokes to be funny and all of our biases are up for grabs. They played on the stereotypes of women and the two women in particular. They exaggerated their personalities and did a great job.

    This is HUMOR folks. They are not campaign surrogates.

    Get a life Carli. Palin would say you're whining.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. Minerva-Nashua

    The whole "I'm appalled....", "it's sexist.....", "not deferential enough " thing is getting a bit old. Find a fresh argument.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. glenn

    first sexism, then ageism, now sexism again. All they are trying to do is to get Obama to play the race card and alienate the segment of the country that is still undecided.It would be dumb to fall into that trap.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Arkansas Undertaker

    Fiorina is a JOKE!!!!!! She is trying to make everythng about sexism! Get a life lady and a new word. Its not goiung to work.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. Joe, Georgia

    Carly is a women of real substance and knowledge about the economy. To have a campaign reduce her to being a spin master for McCain and, especially Palin, commenting on a SNL skit is more demeaning and sexist to Fiorina than any skit done by SNL.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. offendedcuzitstrue

    The GOP is only offended because it's true. She DOES lack in substance.

    And the whole "executive experience" thing is crap. Are they trying to say Palin has more experience than John McCain? She has more "executive experience" than John McCain by that stupid definition!

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. gwt301

    How is what SNL does an Obama campaign problem? Is the Hewlett Packard buster suggesting that the skit is an offshoot of the Obama campaign? Did she see the one where they poked at the edia for being too soft on him?

    You'd think a businesswoman would be worrying more about banks failing then what a satirical comedy show says about her candidate. Then again it shows where her priorities lie.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  22. slock

    Booooo! Suck it up and quit crying sexism. Why is it that Obama can't talk about racism without "playing the race card" but the McCain campaign constantly evokes sexism?!

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. David

    "The portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin,.."

    And what substance would that be? Come on Carly. You have substance. Many women have substance. Sarah Palin does not have substance. Stop trying to defend the indefensible. McCain would have been smarter to pick you. Especially given the 500 point drop in the stock market today. Not a good day for McCain to be saying the fundamentals of the economy are strong. So Carly, do us all a favor and stop wasting time playing the "Palin is a victim" farce and go teach McCain a little economics. Or push him aside and run for President yourself, you would be a much better choice than either John or Sarah...by far.

    September 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  24. Capsaicin

    Hey Carly, SNL has also lampooned Obama as a ditzy celebrity reduced to calling Hilary Clinton for answers in a crisis. I'm an Obama supporter and while I thought the SNL depiction of him unfair, I wasn't crying 'racist' or 'sexist' about it–it's called 'humor'.

    It's a way of puncturing the overblown bubble of blind, fanatical worship of Palin that Republicans are currently engaging in.

    September 15, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  25. Nathan

    How could it be sexist if you are comparing and contrasting two women. This is the dumbest thing I have ever seen a person say.

    September 15, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
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