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. Audrey

    Independent for McCain-Palin: You obviously didn't watch the RNC.

    If you're supporting who your screenname suggests, you don't want to see no parts of these upcoming debates. Oh yeah...the upcoming Presidential and Vice Presidential debates (those little ones you obviously overlooked). Yeah I can't wait either...mainly for the Vice Presidential one because we all know McCain can't hold his own under pressure.

    BTW, go read a book to gain a working knowledge of what socialism really is.

    September 16, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  2. WW

    It was hubris. They really touched a nerve when they asked if others could run a corporation. The combativeness in Carly - a trademark - simply could not fathom that someone could do what she could not. She did not succeed at HP. Would it be possible that she would admit that someone else could run it?

    I think that she is quite an effective communicator. She stays on message, and she does not back down. I do take issue with her "spin" which while it is consistent with the republican campaign's message teeters on untruthfulness. I think she would be great to sit down with over a great dinner... but her political aspirations bring upon her a sheen that it is infra dig.

    I support Obama/Biden because I believe they are the best qualified to render the executive branch back to competence - and yes excellence - with respect to both domestic and global affairs.

    September 16, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Kay

    From Karen:

    "Hmmmm, so they're discouraging her from additional media interviews. I wonder if she'll call that sexist."

    You know, she probably will.

    September 16, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. Rob

    More political partisanship, not only from the parties but from bloggers. Somebody says something that applies equally to all four candidates (at least from Carly's perspective) and people use it for their own purposes, ignoring anything that reflects poorly on THEIR people.

    Running a corporation IS different from being a government leader but both require leadership, getting good people on the team, listening to them, making decisions, negotiations, etc. Now, actually being able to SEE Obama, McCain, Biden or Palin in a CEO role is something different. If she said "it's hard for me to imagine them in a CEO role" I'd completely agree.

    I don't know about you people, but the election can't come soon enough for me. I'm so sick of all of us yelling at each other, insulting each other, picking out stupid little things to hurl at the candidates (NoBama, all the inane "McSame, etc." references, etc.). I personally think that after all the dust settles from the election, we're all going to be looking at each other for a bit, then realize "hey, we're in this together" and hopefully we can get back to being what we SHOULD be...fellow citizens.

    September 16, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  5. Walt, Belton,TX

    Who the hell is Fiorina? Some washed up and once fired CEO herself! Considering Obama's only financial/corporate background is getting a sweetheart deal on a mortgage that he owes somebody bigtime for, I'd say it is a wash. Fiorina needs more firing!

    September 16, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  6. Sarah

    The fact that Fiorina will be discouraged from further interviews for such a comment is sad and devastating to the McCain campaign. I happened to see her in an interview and she is very sharp. She trumped Obama's economic adviser, who wavered on key issues and never gave a definite answer to any of the questions asked (hmmmm . . . seems to be a reoccurring theme for the Democratic party). The media's desire and ability to manipulate everything uttered by the Republican party into something hurtful to the McCain/Palin campaign is frustrating. What happened to unbiased reporting????

    September 16, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. John L

    Typical CNN with its liberal bias and all the lefty bloggers here that follow with herd mentality. Fiona stated that ALL FOUR CANDIDATES couldn't run a company. Quit be Obama cheer leaders and start telling the truth. CNN the most trusted name in news. Yeah right.

    September 16, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  8. Republican for Obama

    Why get mad when she was only telling the truth. That is why I am voting for Obama.


    September 16, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |

    obama is a risky failure!

    September 16, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    Dear independant for McCain

    Bush McCain represent Socialism . Goverment running financial instituions, taking over Freddy and Fanny with our tax dollars. Redistrabution of wealth we will all be poor if we vote for 4 more years of ignorance and arrogance

    September 16, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  11. Ron

    after all is said and done, bottom line, democrats have controlled the senate and congress for the last two years. why is this happening? why didn't they stop it? what were they doing for two years, watching the country fall apart? why should we believe they will do any more if they are elected?

    September 16, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. Rose

    John King, how can you sleep at night when you are evidently resorting to being deceitful? How can you get away with calling the name of this article "Ticker: Palin, McCain can't be a CEO, says aide" and not mention Obama & Biden in the name as well. You know very well what Fiorina REALLY said in her MSNBC interview:

    From Fox News, fair & balanced: “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,” Fiorina said.

    “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,” she said.

    We know who your man is, but do you really have to make it so obvious? I know you aren't going to post this, but oh well, it felt good to post it anyway.

    September 16, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. David

    And, of course, CNN only reports Obama's view of the comment.

    September 16, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. Basic Science

    Republicans are Neanderthals.

    September 16, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. Joe

    Who care? What bearing does being a CEO have on being president?. I'm sure that neither Obama nor McCain are qualified to be dentists either, but what does that have to do with their fitness as POTUS?

    September 16, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  16. MR E

    The truth have set you freeeeeeeeeeeee ......

    September 16, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. MW

    Actually, the only reasonable reaction to the idiot Fiorina's comments is to recognize that yes, neither McBush nor Dan Quayle – oops I mean Palin is qualified to hold any elective office and I will never EVER buy any HP product again!

    September 16, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  18. Bethany

    the republican party has really sunk into the mud. sad.

    September 16, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  19. Canta

    Carly is accusing the Democrates of clipping her words.............and said it was deceitful

    Read Fox for the full story


    September 16, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. Obama/Biden

    Vote smart this November. Vote good judgment. If you say that our economy is good now, you are an elitist and you do not know our struggle to put food on our bellies and gas in our cars. John McCain that elitist think the economy is good and has no plan to help us. He wants more wars, more tax cut for big corporate that ship our jobs oversees. Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania I know that your economies are hurting and you must vote smart and vote someone who understands your economics’ struggles. It is not time to support someone who does not understand the economy, it is time to take our country back and get our respect back around the world. Vote Democratic this November if you are a true American who put America first. We need change in Washington and the Democratic Party has that change for us this November.

    September 16, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  21. Foreign observer

    America going to do like a third world countries election/politics. Issues are not important for candidates and can not communicate with modern technology, not enough education(but Ex soldier). Few mounths ago candidate says he doesn't understand about economy(but america is largest economy in the world). suddenly today he knows about economy and said wall street are corrupt, washington are corrupt but he has 7lobbyist at home. He lies american people and he is going to the president of USA. This is the very sad news for USA.

    September 16, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  22. John Smith

    This is hilarious. Nothing but lies. But McCain and palin know how to lie very well.

    1. Telepromter not working? Lie!
    2. Cooperate with an investigation? Lie!
    3. Don't know about the economy ( said my mccain in march ) But now
    4. O'bama an elitist? ( McCain owns 9 homes, worth millions.gofigure)
    5. Made a motion to investigate possible wrong doing in Alaska, then
    filed another motion against that motion. DUH DUH
    6. Has Lobbyists on his staff that works with AIG and Bank of America
    and we bail them out?
    7. Ex -chairman that still works for McCain dealt with non regulating
    banks and mortgage lenders resulting IN THE ECONOMY WE

    Don't believe me? MSNBC JUST REPORTED THIS 30 MIN AGO>


    But the average voter is not learned– so do not waste your breath!

    September 16, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  23. aware

    Again, pundits and the Obama campaign don't tell the whole story in headlines or obfuscating video spots! 😦

    Give me a break – she said none of the candidates would be capable of running a company...! Quit the gotcha stuff!

    This just shows media bias and the lack of authenticity, integrity, moral center or ethical core in Obama! 😦

    The "yes we can" guy has turned into the fear mongering attack dog who only listens to what is in his own conflicted head!

    September 16, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. a voter

    How ironic, if you look at the performance of Hewlett Packard during Ms. Fiorina's rule, you could reasonably conclude she doesn;t know how to run a company either!

    September 16, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  25. Karen - Canada

    To Independent for McCain/Palin and your comments:

    Obama would do a great job, as long as he has his teleprompter in front of him telling him everything to do. I cant wait for the debates. We all know Hillary killed him in the debates and thats why he wont have more with McCain

    You might not have noticed or conveniently overlooked the fact that Sen. McCain always has scraps of papers before him while he speaks. I guess that might have to do with the fact that he has problems reading the tele promter. Isn't that calling the kettle black?

    September 16, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
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