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. Mech0T1

    Interesting judgment on her part... Does this imply that *she* (Fiorina) is qualified to run a big company? During her tenure the market value of HP was cut in half, thousands were laid off, and she pushed this dubious Compaq merger. She got 'fired' – and walked away with a $20M+ severence.

    Could you imagine other similar judgments from people who were failures?

    "Bush says Obama not smart enough to be president"
    "John DeLorean criticizes modern cars as 'Gimmicky'"
    "Micheal Brown slams FEMA response to Ike/Gustav"
    etc etc.

    September 16, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Scott

    She said none of the people runnning have the experience to run a business, which includes the democrats. If you check the full interview that is what she says. Don't believe me check fox news.

    September 16, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. johnt

    The headline here is "Fiorina's comment called 'Biden-like'" but on the front page it is "Ticker: Palin, McCain can't be a CEO, says aide". One wonders...

    September 16, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. California Gold

    Throw that Fiorina big mouth with her FLDS hairdo under the bus.

    What a stupid thing to say. Is she the designated Village Idiot who gets to waste precious news sources with meaningless dribble? She's pathetic.

    September 16, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. Vic

    Just add Carly Fiorino, fired CEO of HP, to the list of those who "can't run a company," and you'll be one hundred percent correct. To give her her due, however, she is correct. Qualities required for being President of the United States are far from those involving a large corporation. So in a sense, she is right. However, here are some outstanding presidents who were not business CEOs: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George Bush. Only Jimmy Carter, who ran the family's peanut business, and George W. Bush come the closest - being an owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. Look at this list and lighten up on Fiorino.

    September 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. kingg711

    Carly Fiorin could even run Hewlett Packard

    September 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  7. Daryl from Seattle

    Poof! And like that.......she's gone!!!

    Typical Republican gaffe and response. Oh maybe the world will just forget about it if we put her in the closet for a while. Isn't that sexist??? C'mon....not even just a little??

    September 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  8. Peter

    So tell did Carly Failure-ina do as CEO of Hewlett Packard?

    September 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. FinancialConservative

    They're not, but neither is Obama or Biden qualified to run a company like Hewlett Packard. Fiorina should know, she actually ran Hewlett Packard. For that matter I don't know if there aren't but a few in all of D.C. that actually know financial matters enough to run a grocery store. I had hopes that the Republicans would go with Romney who does know what it takes to run large corporations and who actually did run large corporations. In fact he ran several of them, all at once. Wish I had more hope for that party. Not that the Democrats had a leg to stand on. Marxism doesn't know jack about the free market.

    September 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  10. Mark

    McCain's not having a very good day.

    September 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. JK

    And you ran HP into the ground you dummy.

    September 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. Patrick

    McCain & Palin will be running the country not a company. I trust McCain & Palin and will be able to sleep comfortably at night with leaders I can trust in charge, they are not the likes of Slick Barry the Lawyer (Just what Washington needs another lawyer!) and long time Democrat Fixture – Joey B. So much looking forward to the slick and flashy ways of Barry to be on his way.

    September 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  13. Arron

    McCain and Palin want to run the nation's economy, but McCain's own surrogate doesn't even think they could run Hewlett Packard? McCain's economic plan was written by Phil Gramm, the architect of the deregulation of the financial markets that led to this mess. McSame = another 4 years of Bush.

    “You are interviewing the greatest free trader you will ever interview, and the greatest deregulator you will ever interview,”

    John McCain
    May, 2007

    September 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |

    SO, your next position in the campaign will be handing out those "Hottest VP from the Coolest State",

    Now. THAT is poetic justice!

    September 16, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. Bill

    Obama is now using a teleprompter on the campaign trail. I am suprised that he can even read, much less complete a sentence without help!

    September 16, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. aki

    The republican ticket probably cannot run a company (immediately).
    The democratic ticket is "all lawyers," and they probably cannot even avoid ruining a company they may attempt to run!

    Sorry guys, this is it!!!!

    September 16, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. Arizonan for Obama/Biden

    Who is this woman and why does she matter? Thats the real question.

    September 16, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  18. Joe

    Fiorina has been busy. Earlier she was claiming that the SNL skit featuring Tina Fey as Governor Palin was "sexist". OK, who are these people kidding? I was at the GOP convention for work, and there were tons of buttons there that said "Coldest State/Hottest Governor"? I don't hear any of the GOP mouthpieces criticizing the GOP delegates who were wearing those buttons.

    This is just more attempts to set a rather low bar when it comes to the media coverage of the GOP ticket. As long as the GOP can imply that the media is biased, then the poor showing of Senator McCain and Governor Palin can be explained away to the GOP faithful.

    The SNL skit didn't denigrate Governor Palin's gender, it pointed out that she doesn't have the requisite experience to be Vice President (especially for a candiate that is 72 years old and has had multiple bouts with cancer). That's just a fact.

    September 16, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. pete

    Is this the same CEO that was sacked by the HP Board of Directors?

    Is this also the same CEO that said "...these are not AMERICAN jobs!"

    September 16, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  20. Tom

    Nice headline – totally misleading and a ridiculous example of "reporting". Of course, you do state the WHOLE truth later, toward the end of the statement which is that NONE of the candidates could run a company, although we have seen, time and time again, that Obama runs with U.S. hating company like the pastor.

    Look, Obama is totally inexperienced and the only way he should get into the White House is if he buys a tour ticket. You should have nominated Hillary. It's too late. So give up with the b.s. headlines and get a life.
    McCain 08/Hillary 2012

    September 16, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. Sour Grapes CEO

    Well...after being kicked out of HP after her lack-luster performance as "CEO," she's one to talk. Ha!

    Sounds like sour grapes to me.

    September 16, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. David


    What's more interesting is that Fiorina is the poster-child of excessive CEO pay – she received a $21 million dollar severance package – something John McCain today in his speech called the "golden parachute."

    The bottom line is this. The media, if they actually do their job, will realize how incredibly incompetent Sarah Palin is. She's a wonderful woman, and connects with people, but is devastatingly unprepared. I have to admit: the thought of her becoming President (which is likely) sends chilld in my bones.

    September 16, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. Toots

    Obama ran a successful campaign, with millions of dollars coming in every month. Fiorina got fired from HP. What does that tell you about being able to run a company???

    September 16, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  24. Big D

    Here's just one more of the many reasons why I could never vote for McCain for President. I'm afraid that he would surround himself with people like Fiorina. She's like a poster child for the CEOs that perform poorly but get huge compensation packages. If McCain wants to reform practices like that, why does he have Fiorina as his advisor?!? She's also an unreasonable attack dog. I have no confidence that McCain would work diligently to pick the best people for his Cabinet or his administration. Exhibit 1 is his horrible pick of Palin for VP. And then there's Fiorina, and then all of the lobbyists, and then economic advisors like Phil Gramm (who's responsible for a lot of the economic problems we see today) and the list goes on and on.

    September 16, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  25. maripil

    The comment of Fiorina only bolsters the argument that McCain has no economic sense and is out of touch to lead a nation of 300 million!! Time and again he has stated that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. McCain as head of the commerce committee in washington allowed deregulation among big corporations resulting in a big collapse at Wall Street!!!

    September 16, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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