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. Mike

    What the Obama campaign must have missed is the fact that she said NONE of the four running for Pres/VP in the two major parties is qualified to run a Fortune 500 company. Obama's bobbleheads are so quick to point out McCain's shortcomings, but fail to see that Obama's are even MORE obvious, even to the ill-informed, than McCain's.

    September 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. Chris

    CNN would title the article that way. Her statement are pretty clear that none of them are qualified to run a corp. But it looks better for their liberal friends to make it a stab at McCain. Irresponsible news reporting.

    September 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. MAndo

    I love all the government worshippers that actually think running a public institution is harder than a major private corporation. Private corporation's don't have the leeway to fail miserably and continue on. If as a CEO you make a mistake you go out of business. If as a buereucrat you screw up, they increase your budget becuase you "obviously didn't have enough resources." The fact is the best and brightest are our CEO's, and their poor cousins in government represent the lower rung of the elite. Among the wealthy families of this nationIf you're smart enough... you get to run the family business, if you're the dumber brother you end up a lifelong Senator.

    September 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. She'

    Okay, her vacation should start tomorrow. I've got a ticket to Alaska. She can take her buddy with her, and maybe Sarah can answer some questions for Trooper-gate.

    September 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. Daryl from Seattle

    Uh, how does your foot taste Ma'am? The government can be viewed as the largest corporation in the country. It is indeed just that under current Bush policy; a giant, aggressive, hostile corporation. If McCain and Palin can't run a billion dollar corporation, how can they run a trillion dollar nation. Oh that's right, they would run it...into the ground.

    September 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Darrel from Denver

    It was only a matter of time before this circus had to start cleaning up after the elephants. It has now begun to unravel at an alarming pace, I must say.

    McCain's desperation started showing during the summer, reached a climax with his selection of Palin, and is now going through withdrawals trying to grasp for another opportunity to try to fool more Americans into voting for him.

    September 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Peter

    Well – on the other hand - maybe the three of them together could run a dog-sled rental company in Alaska.

    September 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. mark

    She also said that Obama can't also, so if Obama campaign that disqualifies McCain it also disqualifies Obama.

    They really need to think about what they say, before they say it, if they want to win this thing.

    September 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. John McPain

    Maybe if she stopped talking she would stop getting her foot in her mouth.

    September 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. Obama backed by a Republican

    It is clearer everyday why I am no longer a Republican. They just never know when to shut up or tell the truth.

    September 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. nad

    Why the emphasis on McCain when she said Obama,Biden and Palin could never run a company either. In fact she said Sarah Palin had more executive experience than Barack Obama who has none.

    September 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. TrueTrue

    McCain is only using Sara Palin to get the female/woman vote to get in the White House. Once in the White House he will let this investigating pan out and give her the boot by her own doing. He will then be able to select the vice president he really wants. Sorry ladies your getting duped.

    September 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |

    McCain: ”We will stop multi-million dollar payouts to CEOs who have broken the public trust”.

    Does this mean that Carly Fiorina your new BFF, who took $21 million in cash as her departing gift after running HP into the ground, will be tendering her resignation?

    Oops, hope that wasn‘t “sexist“.

    September 16, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Cory Linton

    How does Carly Fiorina have any authority to comment on who can run a company –a former CEO who drove into the ground one of the great American companies until she was forced to resign before she completely killed it.

    September 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. politicians don't run companies

    Obama, Biden certainly could not run a corporation as Fiorni said. But of course the liberal cnn media can't seem to bother to make that a headline – they only make headlines that look like support for Obama even if the article is negative, and only make headlines that look negative for McCain even if the report is positive on McCain.

    Obama is not qualified.

    CNN is not a trusted source for truth or news of any kind.

    September 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. please

    demobrat – this is a republican, how is it obama's fault? Just like SNL I guess.

    September 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. john

    so why do think those two could run the country.......THEY CANNOT!! WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Doug

    Breaking News, CNN endorses Barack Obama for President.

    This is exactly what your covereage of the McCain / Palin ticket is saying.

    It's all things positive reported for Obama and all things negative for McCain.

    Wow, keep it up. People will notice how biased CNN really is.

    September 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. Claudia

    Republicans for OBAMA NOW!

    September 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. We love Sarah

    Clowns to the left of me, jokers to me right
    here I am. Stuck in the middle again.

    Why are Americans forced to lisen to this idiot???!!

    September 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. Sarah....and my last name isn't Palin

    Hmm...but we knew that already!

    September 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. Jaybird

    Bought an HP printer a couple years back......thing never did work right.....

    September 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. Colo Sprgs, CO

    Do you like inflation, job outsourcing, poor economy, war, home mortgage crisis, high gas prices? You're in for more of the same if you elect McCain. Lies and corruption are what his campaign stands for, not country first, McCain first. Not this time, McCain!

    September 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  24. inga

    Oh, to be duped by the likes of John McCain – How pathetic!!!!!!!!!!


    September 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  25. Amy

    Is this an example of the people McCain would appoint to leadership positions in his administration? If so, it's another great reason (among many) NOT to vote for him!

    September 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
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