September 16th, 2008
07:18 PM ET
6 years ago

Fiorina's comment called 'Biden-like'

Fiorina said neither McCain or Palin are qualified to run a company.

Fiorina said neither McCain or Palin are qualified to run a company.

(CNN) - Top McCain-Palin official Carly Fiorina is facing criticism from some within the campaign for a day of what they call "very Biden-like" comments, after the former Hewlett-Packard CEO told two separate interviewers that neither member of the Republican ticket would be capable of running a company.

Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden is noted for his off-the-cuff gaffes.

Asked by a St. Louis radio station whether she thought Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin could run a company like Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina responded: "No, I don't.

“But that's not what she's running for. Running a corporation is a different set of things."

Asked about that remark on MSNBC, she made the same unprompted assessment of the GOP presidential nominee. "I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation."

She also said she did not believe Democrats Barack Obama or Joe Biden had the right business background either.

But with the economy center stage in the campaign, the words that gave Democrats easy fodder to attack the Republican ticket.

A top McCain official contacted by CNN said, on condition on anonymity, "No big deal, but not how you get on the surrogate all-star team. Very Biden-like."

“This campaign source said Fiorina would be discouraged from additional media interviews.

Another top campaign adviser was far less diplomatic.

"Carly will now disappear," this source said. "Senator McCain was furious." Asked to define "disappear," this source said, adding that she would be off TV for a while – but remain at the Republican National Committee and keep her role as head of the party’s joint fundraising committee with the McCain campaign.

Fiorina was booked for several TV interviews over the next few days, including one on CNN. Those interviews have been canceled.

A third source said "it was another bad day for her, and important people are mad because the timing is horrible… But I would not necessarily buy the Siberia storyline."

Fiorina has forced the campaign off message before. In July, she told reporters women often express frustration over the fact many health insurance plans cover Viagra but not birth control medication.

"Let me give you a real, live example, which I've been hearing a lot about from women. There are many health insurance plans that will cover Viagra but won't cover birth control medication. Those women would like a choice," she said.

It was a topic McCain wasn’t as keen to talk about. "I certainly do not want to discuss that issue," he said, when reporters asked if he shared that view.” That comment, and the pause that preceded it, captured headlines for days.

Filed under: Carly Fiorina • John McCain
soundoff (711 Responses)
  1. John


    *President of the Harvard Law Review,
    *12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, *8 years as a State Senator for a district of over 750,000 people,
    *Chairman of Senate's Health and Human Services committee,
    *4 years in the Senate representing a state of *13 million* (as opposed to a state of approx. 670,000),
    *Sponsored 136 bills, Served on Foreign Affairs, Environment & Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees,
    *10 years as an attorney,
    *3 years as a community organizer

    Yep, he's a real dope...But, I think he could handle it.

    September 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. Evan Columbus, OH

    I thought she made a gaffe when she called Tina Fey a sexist, I guess she wasn't done there.


    September 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. mom for "real' change

    I saw this interview and CNN distorted Ms. Fiorina's main point. She went on to say that " I think the Obama campaign would do very well to stop hurling the experience argument, because their candidate for president has less than any one else for office right now on these two tickets,”
    Funny how CNN's version misses that portion of the interview

    September 16, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. Doug

    If I remember my H-P history....she was not able to run a corporation either.

    September 16, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. El Mugroso

    What Fiorina really meant is that Hewlett Packard is not visible from Sarah Palins home in Alaska. Otherwise, THAT would qualify Sarah.

    September 16, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. Alice in Florida

    Every day in every way, Barack's arrogance reminds me more and more of Bush...........!

    NEITHER ONE can ever admit they're wrong

    BOTH believe they are on a God-driven mission – both think they were "chosen" for a special mission to prove they are better than their fathers

    BOTH are full of enough hot air to fill not ONLY a football stadium, but the ENTIRE planet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    BOTH make me want to vomit!

    September 16, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Finally she spoke the truth !!

    September 16, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  8. Josie WA

    Palin has less than non-experience. She has limited knowledge of foreign affairs as well as economics. She has not even been "interested" in Iraq . She has not worked to reduce nuclear weapons. She has never written a book about constituional history, political theory or foriegn policy (Obama Has) She has no degee in law or education beyond a BA in Journalism. Alaska is not a representitive population or demographic of the US. She and her husband were involved in a group wanting to seperate her state from the Union. She is not adhering to her vow of "transparentcy". This VP choice is an insult to the voters!

    September 16, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. joe

    Let me get this straight. Fiorina, a McCain official, makes an ill-conceived (but correct) comment about McCain and Palin being unqualified to run a corporation. Then her own people use that comment to slam Joe Biden? What does Joe Biden have to do with this? The GOP criticizes the GOP, and to retaliate (against itself), the GOP attacks Joe Biden?

    Is every negative thing that happens the fault of Democrats, even when Democrats seemingly have nothing to do with it? How out of touch are the people running McCain's campaign?

    I'm not trying to be sardonic by any means here. I'm legitimately concerned about the future of our country if no one will ever take responsibility for anything.

    September 16, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. Ron

    why is it taking so long to decide if it is worth while posting. is it because i rip into McCain?

    September 16, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. caywen

    Ugh, please CNN, stop taking these cheap shots at Biden and just come out and say you're in the Republican pocket, for godssake. This is ridiculous. Biden is a good man and you're deliberately tarnishing him even though the Republicans aren't. You're doing their bidding, and it's really off putting.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 16, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. T

    Mrs. Palin's current family crisis (pregnant daughter, newborn) is sure to have a psycholgical impact on the Governor and the family.
    I am happy she is a devout fundamentalist right wing Christian who has accepted Jesus as her saviour.

    I think she needs more time as Governor before being second in command. It will depend if America wants to move on from the Cheney / Rove days.

    Hopefully, McCain,72, will retire now.

    September 16, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. Big D

    More on Palin – we've got to get past this insane rationalization that Palin is qualified to be VP. I've heard a lot of people say that she did just fine in the Gibson interview because she didn't get enough time to prepare and most people couldn't answer better anyway. But the only valid comparison is to how the other top VP contenders would do. Think of how Pawlenty or Jindal or Ridge would likely do in that inerview, even without any prep time at all. Or any other random governor. If you honstly evaluate that and agree that her performance was subpar compared to someone eligible for VP, then what does that tell you about McCain? It tells me that he did not put 'country first' when he made that choice.

    September 16, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |




    September 16, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  15. Jennifer G - Pennsylvania

    Well Carly Fiorina is correct about Palin not being able to run a large corporation. Look at her resume she probably would not get an interview. Lets get real the ...... joke's over. Why isn't Palin having any press interviews or Q&A. Hmmmm

    September 16, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. Sara

    Neither McCain nor Palin can run a company. Tis True.

    September 16, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Willy

    She's right. McCain, Biden & Obama could not run a company. I think Pailn could though

    September 16, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. Tim

    Dear CNN,

    Your reporting is beyond biased; clearly you are no better than the folks over at the National Enquirer. Based on the headline you provided on your homepage, you have taken Fiorina's comments completely out of context...but this is not surprising given that you and MSNBC might as well be listed as official surrogates of the Obama campaign. Fiorina stated that NONE of the candidates are fit to run a corporation, not just McCain-Palin. Stating in your headline that "McCain, Palin can't be a CEO" is clearly an attempt to misrepresent the truth in order to advance your own political interests. I figured after the backlash from your personal attacks on Palin's family you all would get some sense. But I stand corrected.

    September 16, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. that's just great

    wow...i mean, just wow. What a maroon!
    Thanks Carly, you're making it easier for the Dems...

    btw Carly, how did you do as head of HP? Oh got canned for incompetence. History repeats itself yet again.

    September 16, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. Peter Chiste

    Why is Carla Fiorina's opinion so valued? Arguably, she couldn't even run her company, Hewlett Packard, very well, and was shown the door by her Board. Nevertheless, I agree with her that Palin nor McCain would make very good CEOs.

    September 16, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. Scott

    How Carly Fiorina became a political pundit is beyond me. I guess when you prove you can not succeed in business the only thing left is politics. Of course that proves her point: none of these candidates could run a corporation.

    September 16, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  22. Don, SF

    The media bias is so ridiculous. She said all four of them didn't have the experience but you bury the comment about Biden and Obama. CNN, try, try, to be a NEWS organization and not a PR company for Obama/Biden. Disgusting!

    September 16, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Michigan Chick

    Keep talking.....your just what the dems need.

    September 16, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  24. Keith

    I am not sure why this is so horrible. It's not sexist to think that she may not be qualified for a particular job (ie. the President of the Untied States). It has nothing to do with her being a woman or not, but rather her qualifications. Obama has faced criticism on his qualifications, and rightly so.

    Obama would do well to ignore all of the petty arguments the McCain campaign are throwing. If he really is the candidate of change, then he needs to act like it now, not after he gets elected. People will respond,if he shows us he is above politics. We don't need another politician, we need a civil servant in the oval office.

    September 16, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  25. Bill Charlotte,NC

    Joe is "off-the-cuff" at times, but he is not this stupid.

    September 16, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
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