September 16th, 2008
06:20 PM ET
6 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. J in NoVa

    If McCain seeks to "fix" the economy through "reform," he could start by getting rid of economic advisors who ran their companies into financial straights but yet walked away some tens of million dollars richer by virtue of the same golden parachutes McCain now deplores. The problem with Fiorina is not that she is off-message in her comments, but that she's a representative of what's wrong with the economy, yet she is someone upon whom McCain relies. Can we really trust a member of the circle most benefited by our economic mess to fix it?

    September 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. geene

    none of the 4 candidates are capable of running a major corporation, but hillary clinton could have.

    blame the ridiculous rules and regulations used in the democratic primaries. and blame the democratic party apparatchiks for disenfranchising florida and michigan voters from voting in the primaries.

    now your whole country ends up with these sad, sad options! more like oopshens!

    September 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. Lipstick on a Palin

    Fiorina is such a dunderhead, thats why she was fired from HP.

    September 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. YO' CARLY

    Did you pop a "lude instead of the blood pressure meds?

    Your WAY off the republican talking points.

    September 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Matt

    Who cares what she thinks and who she thinks could run a major corporation? She ran one into the ground, spied on her board and ran off with $23M and now 25,000 are going to be without a job BECAUSE OF HER. This is just more nonsense rather than addressing issues. It's also just republican backpedalling to make up for having thrown Palin under a bus today with her earlier comments. Don't be distracted by their games.

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

    Pretty humorous. After all, it was Carly Fiorina that tried to transmogrify a marketing resume into something that would qualify her to run IT. And, of course, she failed miserably.

    September 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. chucky

    I just watched Sara Palins news conference on an Alaskan news paper 'website.......and she goes on to say that she wasn't the one who pressured to have the trooper fired but it was her husband and members of her staff and she had no knowledge of them doing so....if she can't control her husband and members of her staff if just a govenor.....then how can she do it as VP or even president.

    September 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. Michigan Mom

    Wonder why she was ousted? I think she's doing a bang-up job for Obama-oops, I mean McCain!

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. Mike

    Only a true pinhead would question the way this headline is titled. There is NO NEWS in a McCain supporter parrotting the party line, but when same parrot stupidly admits what we all know – that McCain or Palin have no ability to run a major corporation – then THAT is news. So far the republicans are batting 1000 for people who shoot off their mouths without thinking...from McCain to Fiorina. Is this the leadership you want in the White House again? Wasn't 8 years of being an international laughingstock enough for you? It is appalling to see political hacks flood these forums. It's all about winning the football game – that's their mindset...with no concern about your country. Despicable.

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. Observer

    If John McCain continues to surround himself with advisors like Carly Fiorina and Phil Gramm, he could lose the election from the old "foot stuck in the mouth" routine.

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Marie in California

    Fiorina also said.....OBAMA OR BIDEN COULD NOT RUN A MAJOR CORPORATION EITHER!

    Well, the Obama campaign is playing dirty with remarks again....pulling them all out of context, snipping out only what they want to use. Dirty. Dirty. Dirty lies.

    And CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and MSNBC are almost as dirty in their blatantly biased reporting and their fawning adulation and support for Obama. They want to decide the election for us. Puh.....leeeeze!

    The way I see it.....the Obama campaign is as dirty as the air in South Chicago. The McCain camp is as refreshing as a clean Alaskan breeze.

    McCain-Palin – 2008

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. Ron

    Your title is misleading it should state that none of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates could run a corporation. CNN distortion again. Can CNN ever be objective?

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. MD in GA

    Wow, tell us how you really feel Carly... So none of these folks running for the highest offices in the nation could shine your shoes...

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  14. Pat, Indiana

    For all of you crying bias, Fiorina is a surrogate for McCain and she said neither member of HER ticket could run a company. That is the news. The fact that she would say the competition (Obama) couldn't is a given and should be discounted. I think you would find that an Obama surrogate would realize that Barack has exhibited the leadership throughout his career (especially in the last year running his campaign)and that would enable him to successfully run a large organization or company. I would expect that he could have done at least as well as Fiorina at HP.

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. Anyonmous

    "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."

    Wow CNN your bias is really bad today. READ it say NONE of the FOUR. Could your bias be any less apparent?

    This says ALL FOUR not just McCain. She was making a point about running the country isn't the same as running a company.

    This is getting so sad not just for your objectivity but a sad day for America when the news becomes so political.

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Ben

    If Guiliani is a noun, a verb, and 9/11...
    Fiorina is a noun, a verb, and "That's sexist!"

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. shadowgovt

    The latest "Troopergate" item is closed for comments, but I need to add my two cents. No way this can be swept under the carpet. Listen, please, media - there is NO WAY that this would be left alone had the scandal been on the other side. It is your responsibility as journalists to make a stink about this. This is called using executive privilege to delay/dismiss a legal inquiry, which reeks of scandal. Get on it, please, CNN

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. White/female/age 55/Texan

    How does she know what it takes? She was unsucessful at running HP. But seriously, the best training for pres or vp would be law school. Wow, especially constitutional law. GOBAMA

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Trish

    First time I saw Fiorina I commented that she wasn't very professional or a savy Journalist. She proved me right! But I will thank her as I am just LOVING HER COMMENT! It's not only true but she's given the belief of many even more credence! WAY TO GO Fiorina but dont' expect your cell or home phone to be ringing anytime soon with interview offers! HA

    September 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Mona in Colorado

    Apparently she can't run a company either, since she was ousted. Funny too that Obama only saw that she said McCain could not run a company - she put Obama in that same category. Again, a comment taken out of context to try to further the cause.

    September 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. Impartiality

    To CNN: Ms. Fiorina's view is that none of the candidates are qualified to run a Fortune 500 company. Why do you have a headline advertising that she said one or two of the candidates are not qualified? Also, to all the folks that bring up the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 against McCain, may I remind you that Democrat Bill Clinton signed that bill into law?

    September 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. Lynette

    McCain needs to fire this woman, she has a loose tongue. She keeps putting her foot in her mouth.

    September 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. William, from Cali!

    The Nation is "Running on empty", hasn't anybody noticed! We don't need another CEO...........we need a PRESIDENT!

    September 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. shadowgovt

    Fiorina can't run a company or, as she is now going "off-script", even a campaign.

    September 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. Olivia

    You should see what NBC Andrea Mitchell did with this one. She cut the audio as soon as Fiorina said Palin and Mcain couldn't run a big co-op. , leaving out the rest.

    The interview was then shown on Fox in its entirety.
    Just can't trust the networks.

    Also found out Obama took a lot of donation from Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac during his short time in the senate. that is money from lobbyists, isn't it? So much hypocrisy1.

    September 16, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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