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)

    Nothing says "mock indignation" like this issue.

    September 24, 2010 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  2. Americans are funny

    I think she deserved to be call what she is. Fact is fact right? Try calling your General "Mr" instead of "General Sir". Will be funny to see being court martial for being disrespectful.

    September 24, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  3. normajean

    I wouldn't even bother to comment except that , in the first place women HATE to be called " ma'am". It's degrading and subservient.. As to her title , she has worked hard for years to be called Senator just as he expects to be called General as opposed to ""Mr."" Not earth shaking but one of those little things that makes a difference sometimes..

    September 24, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  4. joe

    Vote For Fiorina – She and Meg Whitman will continue the Reagan revolution and ship what remaining middle class jobs there are overseas! I'm tired of the middle class making a decent wage!

    September 24, 2010 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  5. normajean

    One more little thing. If you think people in California are tired enough of Boxer to elect Fiorina in her place., Be sure to check the outcome of the voting in November. !!! Surprise.Boxer's back!!!!!

    September 24, 2010 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  6. George of the jungle

    Fiorina is saying that now but I bet she would be the first one to want to be addressed correctly. Boxer's request was done in a classy maner and she did work hard to get the title, She has been a champion of the enviorment. Fiorina couldnt run HP so how can she run Calif?

    September 25, 2010 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  7. Agedsage

    There is NO SHORTAGE of small minds and BIG EGOS in the Political arena. For SENATOR Boxer to say this to a General is a sign she has been there too long It is also sad that would be's like Fiorina search for things like this to use in their campaigns. Politics and Politicians "stink"

    September 25, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    They CLAIM the Democrats were 'rowdy' first but I believe a RepubliCAN'T threw the first punch – and HE hit a LADY!!!

    Beck predicts that VIOLENCE is going to come from the LEFT. Then at a forum meant for Reid and Angle – it got rowdy by the LEFT!!!! Hmm, coincidence???

    Think about it!!

    September 25, 2010 12:56 am at 12:56 am |

    There is nothing worse than being ignorant. For the ones who think Obama knows what he is doing then you are one brick short of a load. And the sad thing is not all are Colored African Americans. Some are the basic red neck ignorant white people. Boxer fits this creed and that is why she will be voted out come November. Squeal and hollow as much as you like coloreds for you only have a little over two years left to think great changes are coming to America. Not so. Unless the Republicans can turn it around. After all it has taken six years under a Democratic Congtress to bring this calamity upon us. Onama does not have a clue how to fix it so he keeps spending making the cost unreacheable. When is China going to call in their markers?

    September 25, 2010 12:57 am at 12:57 am |

    Boxer mkust go. She is an incumbent and has been no source of helping to enforce the Constitution of the United States. There is a movement going on in the US that is out to clean up both side of the aisles on useless incumbents who have just been along for the ride and a fat retirement check. This must stop and I'm saying right now in November 2010. Get out Americans and vote you consience but vote these useless incumbents out. Then when you re-elect make sure the man or woman stand for the Constitution and God. There is no room for other in the US> And we only have one Flag here. it has 50 stars and is colored Red, White and Blue. Many men have died for that flag. So lets not think you will run another up on our flag poles.

    September 25, 2010 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  11. TBrown

    Is this the best she has? Senator Boxer seemed to ask nicely, explained why, and moved on. Title, rank, and respect are important in the military, so why not call a Senator by their official title when testifying in front of the U.S. Senate? It wasn't like he was holding the door open for her at the local diner. The fact that Fiorina is claiming her HP leadership is a strength when the HP Board FIRED her is what's really outrageous.

    September 25, 2010 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  12. Tom Howard

    That officer knew very well that Senator Boxer should be addressed as such. He would have acted similarly if an officer junior to him did not address him properly. Ms. Fiorina should be explaining all of the jobs she outsourced at HP and how her running the company into the ground qualifies her to be a U.S. Senator. Idiot!!

    September 25, 2010 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  13. Francisco Cardenas

    Fiorina sending thousands of jobs overseas and then asking California voters to make her a senator is outrageous!

    September 25, 2010 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  14. Tom

    Many woman take offence to being called ma'am. Especially older women. I dont see any problem with her wanting to be called by her tittle. Becoming a Senator is a bit of a big deal just like becoming a General. If Barbara had called the general Mr. Id bet he would have requested to be addressed as General.

    September 25, 2010 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  15. MoeL NY

    LOL Fiorina... "dressing down" ...or was it dressing up?...brought to mind the old Mash TV program....anyone remember Klinger? But, on the other hand, I agree with Boxer....she earned the title, worked hard for it, had to face the goold old boys to get her title, and she sure as hell has earned the title. Would you, Fiorina, say the same thing to a male...military or not... who requested that HE be addressed as "Senator" ???....somehow I doubt it....I do not think you have the guts for such a confrontation.

    September 25, 2010 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Another Repubican candidate that has notginh to run on but nit-piking.
    The members of the military insist on being called by rank at all time. It should then be second nature to him to address Senator Boxer as a Senator- a title she will hold for the rest of her life.
    Conservative men often diminish professional women by dropping thier titles. The Senator was defending herself and all omen with the comment.

    September 25, 2010 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  17. Peter s

    What's going on ? we just need someone who supports the people of California and the entire Nation!! this cheap shots are too much. I careless about the tittles of nobleness!!

    September 25, 2010 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  18. Larry

    What people are actually really tired of ... is the BS handed out by people like Fiorina

    We are sick of political wannabees with no ideas ...

    We are sick of political wannabees that only criticize

    How about some real ideas to help the voter see what your made of, instead

    Fiorina cares only about Fiorina ... not the people of this country

    September 25, 2010 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  19. Mike

    Call the General "Mister" and see what response you get. Fiorina doesn't have a clue.

    September 25, 2010 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  20. jost

    That was not a "dressing down", and there was nothing outrageous about it.
    Good to know that Fiorana, with all her money, hasn't come up with anything REAL to hit
    Boxer with. If she had, she would'nt be dramatizing such stuff as outrageous.

    September 25, 2010 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  21. Jack in Florida

    Poor Carly...she has nothing else to criticize so she goes after salutation issues!! She needs to tell how a dethroned CEO, is going to help solve California's issues!!!!

    September 25, 2010 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  22. works for me

    Senator should be addressed as such, so should a General. They've both earned it and it is due. I can't understand what this has to do with anything. The GOPuppets always dig from a used hole. Find a new place to dig!

    September 25, 2010 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  23. rdepontb

    Ms Fiorina, what is most outrageous in the space surrounding anything to do with you is your history at HP, and nothing can distract attention from that. No one needs a rat like you, who simultaneously stabbed both labor (firing 30,000 HP employees) and management (what was it, a 42% loss in stock value, practically sinking a proud American institution and losing it?).

    The military, of all communities, knows the importance of using the correct "rank" in addressing others. If a colonel wants to be addressed as "Colonel Jones" instead of "Sir," he says so, and that's the end of it.

    You evil twit, you should be ashamed to offer yourself up for public viewing at all with your behaviors.

    September 25, 2010 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  24. Allen in Hartwell GA

    If the general was addressing the male senators as "sir", then "ma'am" would be appropriate. But if he was addressing the males as "Senator", then Sen. Boxer was firmly within her right to expect the same respect, and Ms. Fiorina is making a mountain out of a molehill.

    September 25, 2010 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  25. southern cousin

    The incident was so symptmatic of several of Boxers mental problems. Absolute disdain for the military, hatred for the citizens she is supposed to represent, a sense of entitlement coupled with a lack of recognition that she is an employee of the government and the people. California has also produced Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi, with the same attitude.

    September 25, 2010 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
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