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. Don B

    Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard (removed by the direction of the board of directors), and Bob Nardelli (Home Depot), with Hank McKinnell (Pfizer), equally dumped by the board, were alll CEO's that failed the company and the stockholders alike. Neither of them are in a position to express an opinion of corporation leadership, of anyone. Their track record speaks for itself! Fiorina should consider herself lucky for even having a job with any corporation, in any capacity.

    September 16, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Stephen

    “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 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.”

    September 16, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. kravitz

    An off the cuff gaffe is not repeated over two hours later, after the party mucks have yelled at you, and you screw up worse by adding to it.

    Like the way McCain went off on the sister of the guy who's working for his campaign during Morning Joe.

    We can expect more from Carly "The Apple iPod by Hewlett-Packard" Fiorina.

    Lest we forget she got fired too, and got a $42 million Golden Parachute.

    Heck, she can even afford Cindy McCain's wardrobe!

    September 16, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Robbi

    Ask HP how well she ran a business. LOL. She's NOT the one to talk.

    September 16, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. Scott

    Umm.... didn't Bush run on the idea that he would bring his business experience to government? As all of his businesses failed (and the Rangers suck), I guess he did. Looks like Carly is bringing her CEO experience to running his campaign....into the ground.

    September 16, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  6. Bulldog

    Why aren't they calling her sexist like they have called everyone else?

    September 16, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. Mike

    Why didn't this headline read the other way around??

    Amazing what can be put in a headline...and then a subnote saying the same thing about the Obama ticket.

    Typical CNN

    September 16, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. Hispanics4BO

    Economic Issues

    -Unemployment increased
    -We went from a surplus to a deficit
    -Federal debt nearly doubled

    Q. Who are we to blame for the above?
    A.George Bush and his Republican Administrative Party.

    Here is a Solution: If George Bush = John McCain and John McCain = George Bush then Bush +McCain = self destruction of our Beautiful Country thus the ONLY right solution would be to elect Barack Obama.

    I know it's sad to know that Obama and McCain are dead even in the race. I'm pulling the racist card and throwing it on the table! We all know Obama can solve the Economic issues opposed to McCain who doesn't even know how our Economy works.

    At the end of the day McCain wears the (R) on the side of his name. At the end of it all McCain is an advocate of and from the Bush Administration.

    GO OBAMA "2008"!!! GO OBAMA "2008"!!! GO OBAMA "2008"!!!

    NO BUSH, NO MCCAIN, NO PALIN! NONE OF THE SAME
    SCREW the McSame Campaign

    September 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  9. Jenny

    I love it ! very sincere. Keep talking please....very helpful

    September 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  10. doublestandard

    So sick of this media bias! Fiorina very CLEARLY was making the point that NONE of the candidates.....Obama, Biden, McCain, Palin...are experienced to run a corporation, but as usual, the Obama campaign parses words...ie...LIES...to mislead the public into thinking she was just talking about mcCain and Palin! On top of that, the media does the same thing, and includes just Mccain and Palin in the headlines. Is there any more evidence that you need to show that the media is biased???

    Get this straight, Fiorina said:
    "OBAMA CAN NOT RUN A CORPORATION". That is accurate, why don't you lead with that headline? What's wrong with you, really?

    This is ridiculous, it is almost like an underground movement to fight this Obama-trash, the media is so in the tank for him. What happenned to journalistic integrity?

    September 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. Was a republican till Palin

    She must be sexist. Everyone else who speaks the truth about Palin in this campaign is labeled sexist, so hy not her too?

    September 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  12. Hoku

    Why should surrogates or supporters of the candidates get airtime for making such comments? They are so much of the distraction in this campaign that many people are fed up with it. Lets move on!

    September 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  13. mark from england

    people who keep saying that they will vote for john mccain eventhough the economy is bad are delusional. those are the same people who don't like another race. they call themselves conservatists.

    September 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  14. pat in MN

    Carly is hardly an expert, she left Lucent right before it went into the tank and oversaw the disasterous take over of Compaq by HP while completely missing out on the opportunity presented by the Comdisco banctruptcy. She was not capable of running a major company and couldn't let her ego say someone else could.

    Sen McCain, for heavens sake, surround yourself with better people.

    She's got a great resume until you look under under the covers.

    September 16, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  15. aliou

    Mamaaaamaa!!!!! I am scared!!!!!!!!!!! Obama is coming!!!!!!! he's going to raise my taxes!!!!

    Well, you don't know how many houses you own anyway. So, have you been paying taxes on them? At least that could tell you how many of htem you had!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 16, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  16. Bud

    Gee, maybe she can do for McCain what she did for HP! This woman is not a very funny joke anyway.

    September 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. Clark in Austin

    Unfortunately she isn't capable either!

    September 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. Was a republican till Palin

    Before this lady took over HP, they were a powerhouse. Now look t them. She ran them into the ground, and was rightly fired. Why does Macaon eve have a FAILED CEO representing his campaign on national tv? Let's see Palin out there taking a few questions. Carly had a job and lost it due to incompetence.

    September 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  19. Purse out of a Moose's ear

    FAILED CEO of HP says what?

    HP booted this dumb broad for being dumb. McCain likes dumb broads so now she has a NEW JOB where her DUMBNESS is flowing once again.

    September 16, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  20. Julie

    She said what many of us are thinking. Can Palin run with real complexity? Apparently not.

    Does that make us dishonest or dumb for asking? No.

    Palin's ability to lead this country is a joke. But the last laugh could be on us.

    American voters best act to ensure Palin never gets to the situation of actual on-the-presidential-job training!

    September 16, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  21. Muldoon

    She hit the nail on the head...the old geezer couldn't run a hot dog stand much less our goverment and the little Eskimo lady didn't do all that well at cheerleading either. But on the other hand, Bush couldn't run our goverment and the starry eyed Republicans voted him back in for another round of destruction because he focused them on pro life and gun control...has..ha..ha...and it worked. Obama is for real change...Obama is for a new direction...Obama is our next prseident.

    September 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  22. mike

    Why I agree with CNN to pick out this part of the discussion is that Carly is one of the advisers of the GOP and not the Dems so whatever suggestions she is giving should be a recommendation for the GOP i hope they listen.

    September 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  23. Kaye- Jacksonville FL

    Oh, thank God....she's not going to be made available for more interviews?? I'm tired of hearing her – she's a whiner!! (Is that sexist?)

    September 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  24. SFjoe

    Nice to know that the requirements to run a Company are higher than the requirements needed to run a Country. "Beam me up Scotty!"

    September 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  25. Ronda

    The headline refers to Carly's first statement today. So please only comment if you actually read and know what is going on.

    She added the rest (the back paddling) later when she was confronted by other reporters. Typical...A lot of back paddling and explaining going on in the McCain camp today. I think we should take it as what they are really thinking as opposed to their more practiced what we want to hear.

    September 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
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