September 16th, 2008
06:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Fiorina: McCain can't run a company either

Fiorina is a top aide to McCain.

Fiorina is a top aide to McCain.

(CNN) - Hours after top McCain aide Carly Fiorina said Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin isn't qualified to run a major corporation, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO said she doesn't think John McCain is either.

In comments that are strikingly off message as the Arizona senator attempts to position himself as the candidate best positioned to fix the country's economic woes, Fiorina said in an interview on MSNBC Tuesday running a Fortune 500 corporation is not the same as running the country.

“Well, I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation, I don't think Barack Obama could run a major corporation, I don't think Joe Biden could run a major corporation," Fiorina, a top McCain advisor, said.

"But, on the other hand, a major corporation is not the same as being the president or the vice president of the United States," she continued. "It is a fallacy to suggest that the country is like a company. So, of course, to run a business, you have to have a lifetime of experience in business, but that's not what Sarah Palin, John McCain, Joe Biden, or Barack Obama are doing."

Fiorina was president of Hewlett-Packard until her high-profile ousting in 2006 after the company's uneven performance. Her comments Tuesday were immediately circulated by the Obama campaign as part of its continued effort to paint McCain as a candidate who lacks understanding of economic issues.

“If John McCain’s top economic advisor doesn’t think he can run a corporation, how on Earth can he run the largest economy in the world in the midst of a financial crisis?" said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "Apparently even the people who run his campaign agree that the economy is an issue John McCain doesn’t understand as well as he should."

Fiorina made similar comments earlier Thursday to a St. Louis radio station when she was asked if Palin was qualified to run a company like Hewlett-Packard.

“No, I don’t,” Fiorina answered. “But that’s not what she’s running for. Running a corporation is a different set of things."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. McSmear loves Doug

    Doug: Stop Whining or Phil Graham will think you are an American worker.

    September 16, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. MB

    Don't worry America, tu dud du duhhhhh the Chosen One will use that vast expance of community organizing experience to lead us to the promised land. Who exactly in this election has experience running a business...... Oh I almost forgot, Sarah Palin does.

    Libs have no common sense.

    September 16, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. lil

    So somebody finally told the truth in the mccain campaign.

    September 16, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Phooey

    Well Carly, neither could you. The great thing you managed to do was take a 21 million+ parachute off the HP cliff Just the kind of person McCain says he despises.

    "Executive" experience does not equal LEADERSHIP. It's a functional title and nothing more. We need LEADERS, not executives.


    September 16, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. Mario fl

    Wow she is out of the picture, because soon Obama will prove that he is the best one to lead. Watch the debate hihihihihihihihihihihihihihi

    September 16, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. Lie-a-day Palin Ain't Ready for Primetime

    This is why she's a failed executive from HP without an ounce of credibility. Another reason to keep her in the McCain ranks and out of the corporate world, our government and our lives. And to think, she's was in the running as a potential VP pick for Grampy.

    September 16, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Gee, so maybe it should be the Fiorina / Palin ticket? Is John McCain good for anything?

    Who are these people and why do we let them out in public?

    By the way, did you hear the great presentation Obama made today on the economy. You can watch the video at At least somebody gets it.

    Obama / Biden 08

    September 16, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Dee

    Carly Fiorina is not qualified to run a major company either. Just ask HP, why do you think they fired her?

    September 16, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. alan in baltimore

    That's right vote for the guy who warned that Iraq would distract from Afghanistan. Just who did he warn? When he announced his candidacy for Senate, we were already in Kuwait preparing for Iraq. Maybe he warned his wife? Many of us did just that, but that doesn't make all of us qualified to be president. Nor does Obama's misrepresentations and his lack of real experience – can you say "present", don't qualify either.

    September 16, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. Jewel79

    I wouldn't let McCain or Palin run my kids Kool-Aid stand let alone this country.


    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. Davdi

    This is the same person who got what McCain calls a "golden parachute" – a $21 million dollar severance package, despite the fact that she was FIRED and despite the fact that her company lost jobs.

    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. Dave

    Hey Carly... you can't run a company either!

    Folks, if you want four more years of the status-quo... vote McCain.

    If you don't, vote for Obama.

    It's that simple...

    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. Debbie

    Word was that Carly was being considered for VEEP. If McCain was REALLY interested in getting intelligent women to vote for his ticket, he'd have picked her. He picked Palin for two reasons: she was a total unknown, guaranteeing a media frenzy that would [temporarily] withdraw attention from Obama, and second, because Palin appeals to the right-wing religious extremists who dislike and mistrust him. Intelligent women are not fooled. And intelligent Americans should be INSULTED at this man who traded on his "integrity" for so long would take the low road simply to win. Of course that is a Republican thing, but I am not sure we want or deserve "Bush in a skirt".

    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. Jim

    It is ridiculous to think that the President of the United States has any influence on the economic policies that drive this country's financial situation. Who makes the laws and regulations? Ummm ... let me think ... the Democratic-controlled Congress!!! The President can say I want this and I want that but Congress is going to do what their greedy little minds want to do.

    Get real ...

    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  15. agnes

    To Betty: I am so glad your son's voting patterns are based on hormones alone. You did such a good job (sarcasm) of teaching him to be an independent thinker.

    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. Rick S

    My friends, for 5 and a half years I couldn't use a telephone so I invented the blackberry. My friends, for 5 and a half years I couldn't fly a plane so I cannot possibly run a company.

    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Jimi

    This stuff gets more ludicrous by the day. McCain's handlers apparently lack faith in his ability.

    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Diane

    How does she know Obama couldn't run a corporation? He's done fantasically well running his campaign. Do you really think a person who runs their corporation into the ground is someone who can judge if another person is qualified to run a corp?

    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. Mary

    Leave it to CNN to headline it that "McCain can't run a company", when she said NONE of the candidates far in the Obama tank can you GET !?!?! THAT is why his numbers are falling: we are SICK of the media

    September 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  20. shahid

    Does Obama or any of his supporters have the courage to be righteous to change the title of the article to reflect what she said?

    Every time I read Obama's supporters' comments, I remember reading a line from some blogger:

    "Obama supporters are like zombies in a low-grade horror movie where they walk aimlessly chanting their master's message 'CHANGE'"

    September 16, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. Oh give me a break

    Anyone with a bit of sense understands the meaning of her comment. You Obama supporters are so desparate that you jumb on every word that a person utters. John McCain can put rings around Obama every which way. I guess we are going to have to hear about this for several days now. Obama is no leader – he is teleprompter rock star with slogans.

    September 16, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. Aaron Pittsburgh

    Finally, some truth and honesty coming from a Mcsame supporter. What is even more shocking is that Mcsame is still competitive in the polls, unreal! Whats gives?!? Oh, thats right, Obama is black.

    September 16, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. John McCain

    I am John McCain, and I support this... you know, crap again...

    Folks out there, who say that CNN is distorting, forget that Fiorina is supposed to support ME, Johnny boy and could say anything but nice of my opponent. She said something that would have not been surprising if she said that about my opponents (hahaha, not true either, I know... smirk smirk) but she included me in that too!!
    She is fireeeeeeed!
    And I am JohnMcCain and I support this.... leave me alone!!!! Where is my medicine???

    September 16, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |

    Maybe you can explain why the moron was talking about it at all?

    What is her point other than the 4 and her cannot run a corp. that adds what value???

    September 16, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  25. Alvaro The Patriot

    Everyone should vote by their conscious and NOT by their party affiliation/ID. I am a Republican, but I'm not voting for John McCain. I'm voting for the individual who has the capacity to resolve the problems facing this country such as the rise of gas prices, mortgage/housing crisis, Wall Street, etc.

    September 16, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
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