Robert Bidinotto has previously taken on critics of Carly Fiorina’s tenure at HP — but now is taking on a few other anti-Fiorina memes.
Here are two:
Here, however, I want to take on a few other criticisms—then end by comparing Fiorina to the rest of the Republican field, on the basis of the criteria that I think matter most.
“Fiorina praised and supported Hillary in 2008”
That’s a claim of somebody posting on Facebook this morning, who said there was even a videotape to prove it. I watched that tape. (You can too: http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/heres-audio-and-video-of-carly-fiorinas-forceful-praise-of-h#.gxr3zBMPv) It was a campaign video for John McCain—not Hillary. He had enlisted Carly to try to appeal to Democratic women voters who were disappointed that Hillary—whom they dreamed of being the first female president—had just lost the nomination to Obama. So, she made a “soft pitch” to them in the video, talking in general terms about how Hillary was a strong leader and an inspiration and role model for many women—but that now, they should “take a look at John McCain,” rather than support Obama. In other words, she was just trying to win over Democratic women with a bit of salesmanship. She certainly was not “supporting Hillary in ’08.”
“Carly gave a speech praising Islamic culture”
I read the transcript of her 2001 speech (http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/execteam/speeches/fiorina/minnesota01.html). It was a talk to a business audience about corporate culture and the role of leadership. At its end, she used the history of Islam’s “golden age” era to illustrate the point. About that history, she was saying nothing more than what has been acknowledged by most historians.
On the negative side, there’s this from Olivia Nuzzi:
Like Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, the private equity firm at which he oversaw the dismantling of numerous companies purchased by Bain, Fiorina’s record at Hewlett-Packard was notable for the number of workers fired on her watch. Romney’s Republican primary opponents, as well as the Obama campaign, attacked Romney’s record at Bain so aggressively that by the end of the 2012 campaign some people were using Bain as a verb: to destroy a wealthy candidate’s public image by attacking their business record.
Fiorina is about to get Bained. And if history is any guide, it’s an assault she may not be able to withstand.
Even worse (although perhaps not politically as damaging) was Fiorina’s strong-arm decision to pay top dollar to buy out Compaq — just as the bottom was falling out of Windows PC profits. That decision left HP with not one but two struggling PC divisions.
What Nuzzi fails to remember however is that Romney was the worst counterpuncher in American politics since Mike Dukakis — is Fiorina made of sterner stuff?
I think so, but selling a jobs cutter in this economy won’t be easy.