September 15th, 2008
05:35 PM ET
10 years ago

Fiorina calls SNL impersonation of Palin 'sexist'

 Tina Fey as Gov. Sarah Palin (left) and Amy Poehler as Sen. Hillary Clinton opened 'Saturday Night Live.'

Tina Fey as Gov. Sarah Palin (left) and Amy Poehler as Sen. Hillary Clinton opened 'Saturday Night Live.'

(CNN) - A top aide to John McCain said Monday she thought comedian Tina Fey's impersonation of Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin on NBC's Saturday Night Live over the weekend was sexist because it portrayed the Alaska governor as lacking in substance.

The NBC comedy show's season premiere began with a "nonpartisan message" during which Fey's Palin and Amy Poehler's depiction of Hillary Clinton called for an end to sexism in the presidential race.

"The portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, and so in that sense, they were defining Hillary Clinton as very substantive, and Sarah Palin as totally superficial," Fiorina told MSNBC earlier Monday. "I think that continues the line of argument that is disrespectful in the extreme, and yes, I would say, sexist in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean that she lacks substance."

Watch: 'Palin' makes SNL debut

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO is among McCain's most high profile surrogates and earlier this month was the first member of the Arizona senator's campaign to suggest Democrats were launching sexist attacks at the Republican VP candidate.

"I am appalled by the Obama campaign's attempts to belittle Governor Sarah Palin’s experience,” Fiorina said then. “The facts are that Sarah Palin has made more executive decisions as a Mayor and Governor than Barack Obama has made in his life."

Fiorina, along with other high-profile female backers of McCain, held a press conference at the Republican National Convention criticizing the Obama campaign and the media for what they said were sexist comments about Palin.

"I think one of the things Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency did is attune women's ears to sexist attacks…. Many people have demeaned or belittled [Palin's] experience — and as women, we all know how frequently that happens. This is a well qualified candidate for the vice presidency," she said.

Filed under: Carly Fiorina • Sarah Palin
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. KC

    It's called comedy! Wheres your since of humor? (as said by McCain)

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. Eliot

    ya'll are ridiculous

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Elliot Blinder

    How can Carly seriously argue that it was sexist if the satire did not also make Hillary look to be w/o substance ? One could call it biased, but not sexist . Oh , and call it funny too , because it was .

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Mr. Aiken

    I guess it was a perfect impression because Palin has no substance to her

    Bob Barr for President

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Pam

    Oh for God's sake! What an imbecile.

    September 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Linda

    Carla Fiorina is a joke. There is never anything substantive to anything she says. Its the same old thing over and over again. We're picking on her. Maybe someone running for the second highest poition in the country should be able to stand up for herself. I know its a difficult thing to do when there's nothing there. She is the same old republican token female. She's not smart enough to go toe to toe with Carla let alone Hillary Clinton. Maybe people will come to their senses after they lose all there retirement savings in the stockmarket crash.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. Angie

    Looks like a duck! Sounds like a duck! Must be lacking in substance.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Charles

    Looks like Fiorina may have completely missed the point. If Palin is truly qualified to be VP, what does that say about Carly and her failed experience as an executive...clearly not good enough to make the cut. It must be difficult to continue to support the Palin experience story

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. John McCain

    I am John McCain and I apporved... you know, that crap.

    "Seriously", Fiorina is full of crap too. Whoever says that Palin is high on experience, is rediculous. Why, then they changed the team to "change", which is by the way Sen. Obama's line.
    It is also interesting who says what. When Obama came with that, all the right said that that is not thrue, empty slogan. When Sen. mcCain repeated that, they said, "Well, it is something new, let's believe him". It does matter who says the same thing, and can be totally twisted. This is the master course of the right. Change the same words portraying different meaning.
    Some examples: Bible. Take what is comfortable, go ahead, sin all week long, on Sunday, you will be forgiven. not neccessary to conduct life sinless, because no matter what, you will be forgiven.
    Gov. Palin's daughter's pregnancy: It is all right, it happens all over America, in every GOOD family, it is a sign of being a good American. Well, I don't go to church, but it did not happened in mine.
    If it happened in Obama's family, they would say, see, another ghetto girl from urban Chicago got knocked up.
    Hypocrisy, that is motivating my campaign. I am John Mccain... you know the rest, America....

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. Cam

    Does anyone else think SNL is looking for someone who can impersonate Fiorina right now so that they can make her look as stupid as she is next week?

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. u510545

    Sigh... Carly, what's wrong with you? It's totally outlandish to accuse SNL of being sexist. I mean, please – it is a comedy show!!!! What she really does by calling the skit sexist is water down the argument that Palin is the victim of sexism – it seems like it is just a soundbyte word that the McCain camp will throw at any negative commentary about Palin. Really ridiculous! What IS sexist is not being able to joke about or critize someone just b/c she is a woman.

    And seriousl, talk about not having a sense of humor. Carly, it's SNL! Lighten up.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. Independent

    eermmm.....Sorry, but she does seem to lack a lot of substance

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. Matthew Jade

    Equal rights means equal disappointments. When someone makes fun of Obama or McCain it's good humor. When someone makes fun of Palin it's sexist. Obviously someone lives in a lovely world of roses and unicorns.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. zina

    Imagine if all the REAL instances of racism in this election season were called out...

    O would be accused of playing the race card. The hypocrisy is astounding.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. Jim Bernstein

    What are you talking about, "McCain's convention bounce evaporates"? According to CNN, McCain was down by 13 after the Democratic Convention. Today, McCain is at 45-45 with Obama according to your polls (every other national poll still has McCain up by 2-5). How does this translate into an "evaporation"? Please keep your editor's wishful thinking to yourselves and stick to reporting the news (not trying to make the news). This type of "reporting" is shameful filth.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  16. Louis

    My god, this is becoming surreal–Fiorina is criticizing a female comedian as sexist!!! Earth to Carly–it's called PARODY and is a theatrical form of humor. Please get a life.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. RH

    LOL Wow. Careful, everybody – if you mention Palin, you're a sexist.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  18. Gimmick FIRST

    I saw that comment from Fiorina "from my house". I guess I am learning the McCain negative campaigning play book!!!

    Not buying it Fiorina. That's a Karl Rove play book comment.

    Nice try!

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. ARundle

    Did Carly notice that both Hillary and Palin are women? How was it sexist?

    Carly, go ruin another corporation, you have zero credibility.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  20. Kathy from Phoenix

    Well, "duh" ... SNL has never portrayed itself to be a show of substantive impersonations. Why are you telling us something we already know about SNL (and Palin). Here's your card Fiorina. Nothing like stating the obvious.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  21. Neil in Iowa

    I think it's ridiculous how the Republicans try and turn every little thing around on Obama for being spiteful when they are the ones putting out the most hateful messages in a modern presidential campaign.

    And the way they try and ride sexism like it's a horse to try and gain the good will of Hillary's former supporters. I have a hard time believing that anyone who supported Hillary would even consider voting for McCain/Palin.

    September 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. Tim

    Man, the GOP is really trying to make a mockery of the word "sexist".

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  23. francee

    This from a woman who use to head Hewlett-Packard....the same Hewlett-Packard that laid off thousands today. Maybe she should give back some of the bonuses she received when she was CEO. She and the rest of the Palin crowd just don't get it....Palin is not ready to be second, third or 99th in line behind the President.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  24. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    There goes the Sexism Express again. Has it truly come down to whoever parodies a woman or someone who isn't white is just being sexist or racist? This is ridiculous. For God's sake, please just someone give these sensitive folks a Tucks pad and a tube of Preparation H.

    All of you who are playing the sexism card are giving us women a bad name! Shut it already!

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. Karen

    It just goes to show that McCain's campaign will do anything to keep in the media spotlight. Fiornia is going to become a joke herself if she doesn't watch it. By calling everything sexist, she's demeaning what the true meaning and implication of what that word means. She's shameful and so is the entire McCain campaign. I've never been on their side, but I used to think that he was an honorable person. No more, and that's a sad commentary.

    September 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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