September 16th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Fiorina: Palin not qualified to run a company

Carly Fiorina spoke at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

Carly Fiorina spoke at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

WARREN, Ohio (CNN) - Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO turned John McCain Victory chair, said Tuesday that Sarah Palin isn’t qualified to run her old company.

Appearing on a KTRS Radio show in St. Louis, Fiorina was asked by the host, “Do you think she has the experience to run a major 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."

"I would just remind you that it is Barack Obama who is running for president," she continued. "John McCain who is running for president.”

Fiorina contended that while Palin may not be up the task of running a multi-billion dollar IT company, she does have more relevant governing experience than Obama.

“I find it quite stunning actually that the Barack Obama campaign is questioning Sarah Palin's experience,” Fiorina said. “She’s got more executive experience than he does and she is the vice presidential nominee, Barack Obama is the presidential nominee.”

UPDATE: Asked about the comment during an MSNBC interview, Fiorina replied: “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.

"But, on the other hand, a major corporation is not the same as being the president or the vice president of the United States. 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."

The response was immediately circulated by Obama's campaign:

Listen: Obama spokesman Bill Burton on Fiorina's comment

“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."

Filed under: Carly Fiorina • Sarah Palin
soundoff (295 Responses)
  1. elle


    September 16, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |

    Wow! whaah! whaaaah!!!!!!

    she can't manage HP, but she can "MANAGE" the United states as a veepee!

    Wow! whaah! whaaaah!!!!!! – FIORINA just stuck her BIG FOOT in her MOUTH!!!!!

    The McSAME Campaign is free-falling on a self-destruct – spiralling out of control on Lying Express On A Bridge to No Where!!!!

    First, it was McSame inventing the Blackberry; Now Palin Dont have the executive experience to manage HP!

    At the end of the day; these two surrogate lobbyists will be OUT of Job for NOT sticking to their scripted talking points!!!!!

    Wow! whaah! whaaaah!!!!!!

    If McSAME invented Blackberry – very well then, he should go to CANADA and run for president there!!!!!!



    September 16, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Shari, NY

    Might I add that this Florina type seems to fit the Republican's flip flopping modus operandi.

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Ted

    Carly is honest about Palin's ability to run HP. She fails to be honest about her ability to run the country. Unless she of course thinks running the country is a lesser job than running HP. I don't think so.

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. lori

    Peter, your lead for this article is pretty sad and once again shows your bias. Palin not qualfied to run company..! You make it sound like Fiorina is bad mouthing Palin. Obama wouldn't be able to step in and run Microsoft any more than Palin could step in and run Hewlett-Packard. That's like a head line "Obama Kills Babies" topping an article about post-delivery abortion. But, you didn't lead with that, you lead with 'Obama's aboriton record under fire in latest independent ad', making Obama the victim once again.

    The media can only fool people for so long...or at least I'd hope..It wouldn't matter if the politicians focused on the issues because you know very well that 'the issues' really isn't tabloid enough. It's the media that creates these news-bytes. I'm trying to pay attention and I still don't really know what each candidate stands for because all the media is concerned about getting out there is sensationalism.

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. Rhan

    She didn't even know what the Bush Doctrine was. I am your average Joe with family members who serve in the armed forces, who are currently stationed in Iraq & Afghanistan, and I knew what it was and can tell you I OPPOSE IT!! What about the whole I can see Russia from my porch..THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE IN FOREIGN POLOCY!!! I live next door to someone with AIDS, should I be appointed chief of the FDA? Give me a BREAK!!!
    SHE IS NOT QUALIFIED.. When McCain first announced his pick, he said the only duties of the VP will to monitor his health and attend funerals for out of country diplomats. So why is she preaching about all she & McCain are going to accomplish?

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Carly Fiorina took a healthy company like HP and totally decimated it. During her tenure, HP lost half of its value and incurred heavy job losses. She also said, “There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore.” If Mrs. Fiorina thinks Sarah Palin is an awesome pick, then you should run far, far away given her wonderful track record. Yikes!

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. U.S. Common Sense

    She is correct. There are two different skill sets required to run a major corporation and that of running a Government or being Vice President. I don't understand why this is a big deal, let alone newsworthy.

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. LET IT GO

    So she can't run a big Company, but she can run the world. Lol can't stop laughing and people really want to vote for this ticket lol

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Republican Woman for Obama

    Please no more Fiorina. NO WAY NO MORE FIORINA.

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Lost in CNN Moderation AGAIN

    Apparently she's not qualified to run a town of 5500 either given that she left it with over 20 million dollars of debt.

    Palin is Pathetic! So is Carly who obviously didn't do such of good job running HP either.

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. BJ

    Not qualified to run HP........hmmmmmm......but qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Go figure!!!!!

    McCain/Palin......unstable and unable

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. Foreign observer

    As I am sure Obama would be able to run HP. Of course as President he would be better. Don´t think it´s easier to run the US than to run HP.

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. It Won't Work

    Once again, you can throw this shiny metal object up in the air. But we're not going to allow you to change the subject.

    John McCain does not know anything about the economy, as evidenced by his statement that the "fundamentals were strong". He said that yesterday, one of the worse days of the stock market.

    This man is out of touch and out of his mind if he thinks Sarah is going to change the subject.

    It's the economy, stupid.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Sara, Wisconsin

    The Republicans seem to have a monopoly on bright women – NOT!

    Makes me cringe – and all the more determined to put some substance into my name – thank goodness without the "h".

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Dee Okla.

    Maybe because the mccaiin camp was screaming experience to high heavens forever and a day, then all of a sudden experience doesn’t matter anymore, maybe it’s the double standard that the mccain’s camp has set. McCain and Clinton had Obama justifying his experience all the way through the primaries now that the same is being do to palin “ it unfair and how dare he question her experience” I say how dare We not question it we the people have a right.

    September 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Chris

    I agree with Bill from Fl

    Carly is the poster child of executive greed and mismanagement.

    September 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Sam

    Let's think about what the title of a company's head is: Chief Executive Officer. If Palin has so much "executive" experience, more than Obama, then why isn't she qualified to be a CEO? Surely her executive experience as mayor of a town of 6,000 and governor of a state of 600,000 gives her the necessary skills to run a company as an executive?

    Oh wait, that's right, I shouldn't ask that question because circular logic works so well for the Republican Party. And it's sexist.

    September 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. luke

    Ms. Palin was picked for a VP. Sen Hillary was the first woman to run for president of USA. Anybody can be picked.

    September 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Michael

    CNN and the Obama campaign, in desperation, are trying to question whether Palin has experience to be VP when, to this day, nobody knows for sure who Obama is and question his own experience. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

    And CNN, highlighting the sagging economy may not be an opening for the Dem, it just might make alot of people, including Obama supporters, question whether they should turn all the country's woos over to a novice by any standard.

    September 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Sarah L., Fayetteville, AR

    Why on Earth is she qualified to be a heartbeat away from running the entire country, then?

    Yes, we all need to remember that it is John McCain vs. Obama in this election. But, Obama's V.P. choice actually brings something to the ticket beyond just helping to get a few votes. Palin was chosen merely to get votes with absolutely no regard for the well being of the country.

    Maybe Obama lacks some experience, but he makes up for it in judgment, careful decision making, and reason. We have no record of Palin's judgment beyond some one-liners that aren't true in the first place.

    September 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. BenInOhio

    Fiorina's argument against Obama also implies that even McCain is unfit to run the nation since he doesn't have any "executive" experience either.

    It appears this woman talks first and thinks later. I'm surprised she's got the gut to talk about other people's qualifications running things when she did such a poor job running Hewlett-Packard that she was fired for poor performance.

    September 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Independents For McCain

    OBAMA no record and empty suit.

    Obama can talk a great game and then follows up with no action....

    This guy is a joke around the world.. The world is laughing at this wanna be rock star.....

    Go McCain

    September 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. The Voice of Common Sense (Independent Voter - Charlotte, NC)

    CNN, come on! This is useless info. here! Your headline for this article is such a red herring!

    September 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Laura

    The way this country is running and going to be running if McCain/Palin win, I'm withdrawing all my money from my bank, cashing out my 401k and putting it under my mattress.

    September 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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