September 16th, 2008
07:18 PM ET
1 year 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. Mike Kaplan

    With friends like these.......

    Actually, there was one other thing she said that was even more notable, I think. She said something about how you can't just waltz in off the street and run a major corporation- how you need to have a lifetime of experience and training to run a corporation. The interesting thing is, she doesn't seem to think that you need experience or training to be vice president. Anyone else see a little hypocrisy and inconsistency here?

    September 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. Renee

    It was a stupid comment by a woman who is supposed to be quite intelligent. However, you, CNN, and everyone else is leaving out of the headline the fact that she said neither Obama or Biden could lead a large corporation either, in her opinion. Very misleading, but it was extremely stupid on her part. She deserves to go away.

    McCain/Palin 08

    September 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  3. issac

    Let me get this straight – the man with 7 houses and a wife who wears a $310,000 outfit feels my pain?????

    September 16, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  4. PACIFICUS

    THE HEADLINE ON THIS ITEM IS INTENTIONALLY DECEITFUL AND CNN SHOULD BE ASHAMED FOR IT'S BEHAVIOR! MS. FIORINA CLEARLY SAID THAT IN HER OPINION NONE OF THE CANDIDATES, DEMS AND REPUBLICANS, WERE QUALIFIED.

    September 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  5. Avard Wilson

    Carly is looking for another package, I guess.

    Well, at least she's telling the truth in this job...

    September 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. Steve

    How would she know. She couldn't run a major corporation either.

    September 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  7. Phyllis Pope

    Fiorina knows what she's talking about. Sarah Palin is a flash-in-the-pan – a novelty. Why doesn't the campaign release her school grades, in particular, her college and university grades? We already have a "C" student in the White House, and a "C" student (McCain) running for the White House – we don't need another one sitting as VP, waiting to replace another "C" student president! If it wasn't so serious, it would be laughable!

    September 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Hey Obama could organize a community of Welfare Queens. He is so lady like that they would draw to him like a fly on spoiled meat.

    Obama is a risky candidate

    September 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  9. Southern Chappie

    Not the right place to comment per-se, but CNN, really? On your front page you have a good picture of Barack Obama looking like he is listening to someone's question, while next to him you have a slightly out-of-focus picture of McCain looking either angry or his worst. Surely you can find a good picture of both candidates, because as sad as it is, some people apparently vote based on appearance alone.

    September 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. dave

    Obviously Carly cannot either based on her short tenure at HP. Say what you want about the positives in her time with the company if the board and shareholder thought she could run the company successfully she would still be there.

    September 16, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  11. lindapuma

    too many egos going on over there. But I agree, if you can't Hewlett Packard into the ground as well as she did – you don't get to run the US into the ground either.

    September 16, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. francisco

    I think she is right Mccain admitted that he does not understand how Economy work , and yesterday he said he thinks fundamental of this Economy is still good, I totaly agree with her that Mc cain can not run a company, if he can not see how level of unemployment is now, foreclosures and how weak dollar is , then I do not think that man can even run a dollar store forget Hwlett -packard!
    Honest I do not understand why even people vote Republican , we have Republican Governor (Pawlenty) who veto our 2% raised for the care giver who make $10 an hour, and he did that consistently for last two years!
    When you think about Sarah Palin be our comander in chief in this crazy world with bunch of tough guys like Ahmedinejahd , Chavez , Kim jong ill and others is almost laughable, I do not have anything but respect for Palin and her entire family , but this one I do not know!

    September 16, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. J roll

    Its just like Mccain to sweep people under the rug. Like the economy and health care.

    September 16, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  14. Julian Gore

    I dont think any candidate running is capable of doing any good running a farm much less a country..

    September 16, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. Wal-mart Mom, Terre Haute

    You politicians, pollsters and media hacks just don't get it. We really don't care about issues-what we care about is having someone in the White House who is most like us. That's not Obama.
    See you all at the polls.

    McCain/Palin 08'

    September 16, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. Paul Leonhardt

    Play the whole clip. She says Obama and Biden also and then expands on the differences between president and a CEO. The CNN (DNC talking point central) story excludes that FACT.

    September 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. jojodancer1119

    My, My, My the truth hurts!!!!! Ouch.

    September 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  18. Bob NJ

    Her logic does not make sense, there are many former governors that go into business and become very succesful, former secratary of state , former generals, former mayors of big Cities, and ofcourse former senators that go into business and be successful, running a business like a fortune 500 company takes certain trates like leadership, responsibiblity, smarts, the ability to delegate and command some of the fundamental skills that are found by a president are certainly found in a good ceo, SHE IS STUPID

    SO IF YOU CAN RUN A COUNTRY LIKE AMERICA, AND AFTER YOU HAVE DONE THAT VERY WELL AND THEN YOU APPLY FOR A JOB AT HP, THEY GONNA SAY YOU NOT QUALIFIED?

    IS SHE SERIOUS?

    September 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  19. tedious898

    This is more evidence that the McCain Campaign appeals to "low intellect voters"......They realize there are plenty of these "less informed, reasoning impaired, group of Americans. That's why McCain is still polling well right now. These poor souls want to see someone who's no smarter than them in the White House – just like the current administration. Good Luck – We should vote for the smart guy this time.

    September 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  20. sandee in Portland

    ...and this comes from a woman who took a thriving company and ran it into the ground. Boy, do I trust what she says!

    September 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  21. Canta

    I will put my vote for McCain/Palin. Combined they will pull this country to its feet. They have both run companies before they became politcal.

    As far a Obama and Biden. They have absolutely no experience in business.....................Plus Obama has no record in Washington only to say he was present. This is a can't do.

    McCain/Palin

    September 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  22. bonnie brooks

    Interesting that this isn't exactly what she was really saying. She said the same thing of both McCain and Obama. You make it sound like she didn't. You need to show the whole conversation in the context in which it was given.

    September 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. Cindy

    What's going on? Is anybody going to be left in the Repub campaign, to talk to the press? Palin won't do it, now Fiorina too? Tucker will be the next to disappear... then all we'll have left is John McCain... cause you know he never gaffs...

    McCain's camp is imploding...

    September 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. I WRITE LIKE THIS

    THIS....CAMPAIGN....IS....EATING....ITSELF

    September 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  25. Jack

    How about "Bush Like" open your mouth and just let the words flow out free flowing style.

    It's no wonder she got fired at her last job!

    September 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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