September 24th, 2010
07:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Fiorina: Boxer 'dressing down' military officer was 'outrageous'

(CNN) - California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina expounded on the message of her new television ad on Friday, saying her Democratic opponent's insistence that she be addressed as "senator" by a high-ranking military officer during a hearing last year was "outrageous."

"Nothing symbolizes stale, entrenched incumbency more than a senator dressing down a general for using the wrong title," Fiorina said on John King USA. "People are tired of politicians who think that the point is their job, when the point is everyone else's job."

Watch the interview here.

The incident at hand took place during a June 2009 Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing. While responding to a question, Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh addressed Sen. Barbara Boxer as "ma'am," which prompted her to interrupt.

"Do me a favor? Could you say 'senator' instead of 'ma'am'? It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it," Boxer said.

Fiorina told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that Boxer's assertion is "symptomatic of what people are tired of in Washington and symptomatic of what people are tired of in Barbara Boxer."

A Field Poll released Friday has Boxer six points ahead of Fiorina among registered voters, 47-41 percent. A CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released two weeks ago showed Boxer with a 48-44 point lead over the former Hewlett-Packard CEO.

Filed under: 2010 • California • Carly Fiorina • JKUSA • John King USA
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Brendan

    I'll bet dollars to donuts that if Senator Boxer addressed General Walsh as 'Mister Walsh', he would have reacted the same way.

    Looks like Miss Fiorina is getting desperate.

    September 24, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. vivaespana

    Go Carly! The arrogance and elitism of Senator Boxer towards a distinguished service member who has been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Whether or not she disagrees with the individual, she ows him a "Thank you for your service" not a pompous "it's all about me" dressing down. How out of touch can you get in D.C.? The hearing was not about her, but about service to her constituents. Shame on Senator Boxer, whi showed her true elitist colors.

    September 24, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. GaryB

    In terms of military etiquette, Boxer was right; Senator is the appropriate title. In the house it would be Mr., Mrs. or Miss. Members of the military are not supposed to use sir or ma'am to address members of congress – I suppose to designate the fact that congress is not in their chain of command. Having seen the video, I wouldn't say she dressed him down; rather, she made a request. Of course, it would have been politically better for her if she'd done it privately.

    September 24, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  4. fralene

    Titles should be used when they are earned. I'm sure the Brigidier General would not have appreciated being called mister. Fiorina is really reaching for a sound bite here. Too bad she doesn't have anything of substance to talk about.

    September 24, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  5. the real ib

    There is no excuse for the way Boxer acted. She is a snob and showed it to the fullest extent with the way she acted toward the general.

    September 24, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. straightalk

    When Boxer pulled her "High-and-Mighty" on the General, it made me saddened unto sickness...What in the name of God has happened to our country? Boxer wouldn,t make a descent pimple on the good Generals posterior!

    September 24, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. Clwyd

    Fiorina, should be addressed as Maud look a like and sounds like a right wing Nazi!

    September 24, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  8. dave

    Well Senator Boxer is right! He should address her as such. If she makes it to senator which I doubt! I am sure she would not take it too kind if someone addressed her as MAM. In moderns terms MAM= B***TCH. So he was trying to be sexist.

    September 24, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  9. Gene

    Of course Republicans are angry. The tea party has them convinced that their President is a Socialist, Nazi, Communist Muslim who wants to mortgage our children's future and govern the country through sharia law. More of the same fear-mongering from the right. "The first man to raise his fist is the first man to show that he's run out of ideas." Pretty much describes the conservative movement these days, doesn't it?

    September 24, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. Kirsten

    sooo basically what Boxer meant was that she lied her way to the top. Yeah, she worked REALLY hard on that one....not really something to be proud of.

    September 24, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  11. Old_Perfessor

    Since when was "Ma'am" a bad term to address a lady? It's used in the military and in society. Sounds to me that Barbara Boxer has a chip on her shoulder. Being ex-military, I can't see her working harder than this Brigadier General to get where she's at. As a Democrat, I am ashamed of Ms. Boxer for this outrageous snip at one of our military. Time to suck it up Barbara, admit your error and apologize to this man.

    Again...I'm a DEMOCRAT...but it's ashamed you should be. Don't forget who you are, where you came from and perhaps where you will return!

    September 24, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. Valwayne

    Sen Boxer is one of the most arrogant of the arrogant left wing Elites currently ruling our nation. She has total contempt for anyone who actually has to work for a living. The incident with the General just showed how out of touch she is with anyone who does work for a living. In the military Sir or Ma'am is how you address a superior. She was being treated with the utmost in respect by the General! If California reelects Sen Boxer it will show you that it is too late to save that state. If Sen Boxer wins anybody who owns a business or works for a living should just get out of the state as fast as they can before they start building walls to keep you from leaving!!!!

    September 24, 2010 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  13. PAUL

    Why doesn't this damn Confederate Texas born carpetbagger, get the hell out of our state and run for office in a state that respects her Confederate elitist obnoxious views.

    September 24, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  14. Debbie

    At least Boxer has voted in US elections more than 40% of the time. The woman did earn her title and deserves to be addressed as she sees fit. Fiorina calls herself a great CEO but the HP board didn't think so and yet she demands to hold that title true or not.

    September 24, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  15. tess

    with that kind of arrogance, it is going to be sooo much fun to see her, pelosi and the rest of the "elites" pack up and move – either home or at least to less prestigious offices ( since they will be in the MINORITY!!!!!!) i'm counting the days and can hardly wait to vote

    September 24, 2010 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  16. Chris

    Crazy thing is, if the liberal Boxer knew anything about military customs and courtesies, she would know that the General was following regulation by addressing a civilian - ALL civilians, by ma'am.

    Funny how being PC gets in the way the real world.

    September 24, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  17. The reality is...

    Really, anyone who shows such disrespect to military personnel is not deserving of the title "Senator" regardless of how hard they worked to get the position; yes, and let's not forget she is in the position to serve not dress down a General who not only worked hard but sacrificed much to earn his position.

    September 24, 2010 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  18. Aaron

    Does Fiorina ever address any real issues? A few months ago, it was Boxer's hair. Now, it's Boxer's preference to be called senator. I doubt that Fiorina has a coherent game plan to tackle this nation's problem, which are alot more consequential than her petty complaints.

    September 24, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  19. tom l

    If this doesn't say everything there is to say about the way that Senators like Boxer feel, I don't know what will. She "earned" the title. No, ma'am, you were ELECTED. You should feel honored to have the opportunity to question a man who protects our freedom. Boxer feels entitled to respect rather than earning it. She is disgusting.

    September 24, 2010 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  20. barry

    Yet another liberal free loader with a entitlement attitude. Boxer feels she is owed something. Rangel, Wattees, Murkowski, they're all the same. What a bunch of self serving losers.

    September 24, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  21. Darth Vadik, CA

    Actually, as a "former" Marine (I WILL always be a Marine), I can tell you that you are required to address high officials as "Honorable" then the title, in Senators case it should have been "Honorable Senator Boxer", and the General who is used to get his own butt kissed forgot that 😉

    September 24, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  22. rgray222

    Boxer is an arrogant politician that needs to go. Did she earn her title like CEO, General or even street cleaner, No she was voted into office and has done a horrible job! Voted in, not worked in, voted in with money and promises, earmarks and corruption and she wants respect. Give us all a break and get out of the way........corruption in politics is now over!

    September 24, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  23. ChumBucket

    Thank God her term as senator is just about up.

    Thank God that the democrats are about to lose the House of Representitives, and with Gods grace, they will lose the Senate also.

    September 24, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  24. LouAz

    What did Boxer call the General ? General, Sir, Boy, Mr. ? Did Carly make any point of that ? Some Generals like to "put women in their place". Some Senators, like Sessions, like to "put women in their place", like Sotomeyer and Kagan. It is a subtle power game played by all in power including Carly. Sillty made up last years news election blather.

    September 24, 2010 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  25. AkashaN

    You know that's just the kind of sniping from Carly that the public is tired of. Senator Boxer is correct that she did and does continue to work hard for that title and it's hers to have. As for the Military side anyone in the military knows that the General was trying to show proper respect, however they also know that when addressing a civilian official if they prefer to be called by their title then we should do so. It's a military thing. I'm sure General Walsh didn't mind one bit as is the military way. I'm sure Carly would appreciate the title and want it used as well if she had it which thankfully she hasn't yet been able to purchase the title of senator and hopefully never will.

    September 24, 2010 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
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