Former Hewlett Packard CEO and erstwhile Demon Shepherd Carly Fiorina has shot up in the polls since her ballyhooed debate performance, and so has the volume of her critics’ voices. Former Obama “car czar” Steve Rattner blasted Fiorina in an editorial earlier this week, and on Tuesday night’s All In, dogged Fiorina critic Jeffrey Sonnenfeld took it to eleven when he told host Chris Hayes that Fiorina engages in “almost psychopathic denial of reality,” and in a particularly diminishing flourish, repeatedly accused her of “stomping her feet” to get her way:
“…the thing that comes through clearest is this almost, if we weren’t on TV, I’d say almost psychopathic denial of reality. As you saw, even the creators of that hoax Planned Parenthood video, that even they say that this is not the footage that she says it is…when she was national finance chairman for McCain, she was jousting with him, what his positions are on contraceptives, trying to contradict him in real time. It was very bizarre. Or saying that he is not equipped to be the CEO of a corporation, but he could be the commander in chief while she’s helping to run his campaign, and then denying she said it when it was on tapes everywhere. This is like, she stomps her feet and demands that black is white, hot is cold, and rich is poor and wins are losses.”
“…Many great leaders failed. but their resilience came from exoneration or contrition. She just stomps her feet and demands redemption. You have to earn redemption.”
Part of Fiorina’s foot-stomping has consisted of devoting an entire page of her campaign’s website to discrediting Sonnenfeld because he jogged with Bill Clinton and was once wrongfully fired for scuffing a hallway with his shoes. Strong stuff, I know, but does Sonnenfeld’s description of Fiorina prove he’s out to get her, or is it just true?
Over the weekend, Chuck Todd interviewed Carly Fiorina, and caught her in several bald-faced lies that Sonnenfeld alluded to in his diatribe. The first involved Fiorina’s claims about a Planned Parenthood video that doesn’t exist. Todd followed up with Fiorina a few times, but Fiorina refused to admit her lie (and told a bunch more in the process), using the patented “Say ‘Chuck’ fives times and change the subject” strategy:
Todd: “The footage you describe, at best, is a reenactment. The videos — the people that made the videos admitted stock footage, yet you went right along and said it’s Planned Parenthood.
Fiorina: “Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, do you think this is not happening? Does Hillary Clinton think this is not happening?”
As Todd noted, the photo Fiorina described was of a premature birth, and had nothing to do with abortion or Planned Parenthood. This is a flat lie that Todd charitably calls an “exaggeration,” and even more generously agrees to move on from.
Then, when Todd caught Fiorina in another lie, she used the “Rule of Five” to talk over him again, and just powers through it:
Todd: “At the end of the day, the jobs you’re talking about that grew and expanded were jobs overseas…”
Fiorina: “That is false. That is false. That is false.”
Todd: “There were no net American jobs. No?”
Fiorina: “That is false, Chuck. That is false… There were many jobs that left California, and you know where they went? To the state of Texas.”
There may have been some jobs that went to Texas, but there has been extensive reporting on Fiorina’s offshoring of jobs, and Fiorina herself acknowledged it, and even praised China for fighting so hard for American jobs:
Wallace: “But, Ms. Fiorina, if the issue is jobs, Senator Boxer says your record is what you did as the head of Hewlett-Packard. And the record shows, according to her — and it’s not just her, the facts are that during that time you laid off more than 30,000 American workers, and many of those jobs went to India and China.”
Fiorina: “It is true, I managed Hewlett-Packard through the worst technology recession in 25 years. And in those tough times, we had to make some tough calls. It is also true that, net-net, we created jobs. We doubled the size of the company from $44 billion to $88 billion. We tripled the rate of innovation to 11 patents a day. We quintupled the cash flow. We improved the profitability in every product segment and …
Wallace: “What about the 30,000 American jobs that you laid off?”
Fiorina: “You know, every family and every business in California knows what it means to go through tough times. And every family is cutting back, and every business is laying off right now. I don’t say that with delight. I say that with sorrow. But yes, it is true that jobs are being taken out of California. By the way, China fights harder for our jobs than we do. Texas fights for our jobs. Nevada fights for our jobs. North Carolina fights for our jobs. We have to start fighting for our jobs in this nation and in our state.”
Fiorina claims a net job gain, but does nothing to dispute the fact that “many of those jobs went to India and China,” which is exactly the point.
Sonnenfeld also touched on Fiorina’s botched advocacy for John McCain in 2008, which included an unplanned detour into the politics of Viagra and birth control, and this attempt at damage control after she suggested that Sarah Palin could not run a major company:
“I don’t think John McCain could run a major corporation.”
As predicted, Fiorina was soon quietly shuffled off the McCain campaign, and a future Democratic campaign ad was born. The 2008 Obama campaign used it, but Fiorina’s remark that CEO experience isn’t relevant to the presidency will work just fine now. Hell, she might’ve even been able to use it in her own defense if she had anything else on her resumé.
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