The ads that tore Fiorina down in 2010 — and might do it again

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Carly Fiorina’s Puffed Up Putin Showdown.

In late 2010, polls showed Carly Fiorina within a point or two of beating California’s Democratic incumbent Sen. Fiorina has made her encounter with the Russian president a centerpiece of her foreign policy pitch, but the actual meeting was quite different from her account. But in the corporate world, another debate remains: Fiorina’s business record. “The head of the Yale business school, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, wrote a paper recently (calling it), ‘one of the worst tenures for CEOs that he has ever seen,'” Trump says. The Republican candidate was impressing on the trail and gaining traction with voters, much like she is now as a Republican presidential contender. “Thirty thousand Californians lost their jobs,” the narrator of an ad released in mid-September said of Fiorina’s legacy as CEO of the Silicon Valley tech giant Hewlett Packard. “Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million dollar yacht, and five corporate jets.” As Fiorina rises through the polls and emerges from the crowded GOP field, those looking to defeat her in will look to 2010 for a playbook of how her liabilities and strengths play in a race.

Fiorina, the daughter of a law professor-turned-judge, rose quickly at AT&T, becoming its first female senior vice president, then later president of its spinoff, Lucent. After Carly Fiorina’s unsuccessful 2010 run for Senate in California, it took her more than four years to fully pay staff and vendors for their work on her campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. In the early days of the Russian leader’s presidency, Fiorina hailed him as an agent of positive change after meeting with him briefly at a conference of global business leaders—a far departure from the tough-on-Putin image she has presented on the campaign trail.

But the stakes and the race are very different: Fiorina lost in a deep-blue state in 2010, and she’s running in a far-right primary field five years later. The businesswoman is soaring in the polls, in no small part because she spoke firmly on complex foreign policy issues during last week’s presidential debate. And the layoffs that hit close to home in California are thousands of miles away from states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and the other early voting states that will help determine the 2016 GOP nominee. But a review of Federal Election Commission records by The Daily Beast shows that Fiorina first paid herself back for more than $1.25 million in personal loans she made to the campaign, including a $1 million check on the day before Election Day. In a memo last week, deputy campaign manager Sarah Isgur Flores offered a 10-point defense of Fiorina’s business record at length before going on to try to discredit one of her most visible critics for a disputed — and largely debunked — vandalism charge. “Carly saved 80,000 jobs and grew to 150,000 jobs by 2005,” Flores wrote in part. “During her tenure, Carly doubled revenues to more than $80 billion, tripled innovation, quadrupled cash flow and more than quadrupled the growth rate.

He says the highly controversial, strategically misguided deal she muscled through dragged the company and its stock down. “Leaders go through adversity and we benefit from their failures because they come back from it and tell us how to get through it. Marty Wilson, Fiorina’s then-campaign manager, said Fiorina knew at the time that there would be debts at the end of the campaign, but that it was difficult to know how deep the debt would be. “The problem with campaigns is you project debt based on what you think revenues are going to be,” Wilson said. “People say they are going to send money, but Election Day comes and goes, and you’ve lost, and those receivables don’t materialize.” With more than $1 million out the door at the last minute and a shortfall in fundraising commitments, the campaign ended nearly $500,000 in debt, unable to pay vendors and staff, including Wilson, who was owed more than $60,000. “We certainly talked to her after the campaign quite a bit about the nature of the debt, who the money was owed to, did some things to get some of the bills paid off after the election,” Wilson said. “Was I frustrated?

Fiorina met Putin for 45 minutes in a green room-type setting, during the 2001 APEC CEO Summit in Beijing, where they were both scheduled to deliver speeches. HP went from a Fortune 28 to a Fortune 11 company.” While Hewlett-Packard profits did grow substantially, in 2010 the Los Angeles Times struggled to back up Fiorina’s claim that she’d added U.S. jobs, instead finding indication that she’d more likely created jobs overseas. But there were other people who were more frustrated than I was.” Under federal law, self-funding candidates can spend unlimited money on their campaigns. But President Putin was elected president in the first democratic transition in Russia in 1,000 years.” The Fiorina campaign pushed back against this interpretation of her 2001 speech. Flores fired back. “Barbara Boxer is part of the political class that has failed Americans on every festering problem in this country,” she told MSNBC via email. “These are the games the political class plays.

Americans are sick of it and they are ready for a leader who will challenge the status quo.” “We’re at the same point of her trajectory in the Senate campaign. The 2002 McCain-Feingold Act limits the window during which a candidate can be reimbursed for those candidate-sponsored loans, which could explain Fiorina’s haste to get at least some of her money back.

But in a full-page ad in the New York Times paid for by a PAC supporting Fiorina, he defended her record and leadership. “When Carly made those reductions it was probably — I wasn’t here, but I suspect she was trying to do in some ways what I have tried to do, which is to make this company more competitive,” Whitman told CNN Money in June. At an event this week in the key early voting state of South Carolina, she was asked to explain the wide criticism of her business. “Yes, some tough decisions were called for in very tough times, and honestly I think the American people want some tough decisions made in Washington as well,” Fiorina said with a steely tone. “But I will run on that track record all day long,” Fiorina, a first-time candidate who had made her name, and much of her estimated $120 million personal fortune at that time, as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 until 2005, was no exception.

Very charming… a disarming sense of humor.” And when she speaks about foreign policy, it is virtually certain that her meeting with Putin—and her plans to counter him—is bound to come up. Sonnenfeld argues her contemporaries — now IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy — have better records. “I do think that there are some added challenges that women CEOs have had, but it doesn’t seem to be relevant in the particular case of Carly Fiorina,” Sonnenfeld says. Fiorina has said that she would expand the number of American naval assets, rebuild the missile defense program in Poland, increase the number of U.S. troops in Germany, and conduct military exercises in the Baltic states. “Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to, because the only way he will stop is to sense strength and resolve on the other side, and we have all of that within our control,” Fiorina said at the most recent Republican presidential debate. Only as Fiorina began to publicly consider launching a presidential campaign in 2015 did she pay off her 2010 debts, quietly writing a personal check for $487,410 to finally pay the outstanding bills and close the Carly for California campaign. That may be partially explained by Marty Wilson’s observation of Fiorina’s 2010 experience. “I don’t think anybody likes parting with a substantial percentage of their net worth for a speculative venture.”

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