After 40 days of avoiding the press, John McCain finally held a press conference today to address the bailout proposal. After basically reiterating what Barack Obama said a few hours earlier, McCain took a few questions from the press and showed why he avoided them for so long.
"I'm proud of her record, and so I want everybody to know that Carly Fiorina is a person that I admire and respect."
I'm sure Carly Fiorina is a nice lady, but the context in which the question was asked had to do with CEOs raking in millions of dollars, even as they leave their companies (and thus the economy) worse off than when they started. In other words, McCain employs and puts out there as the public face of his economic policy someone who embodies the very corrupt Wall St. practices McCain suddenly opposes. Change we can believe in? Hardly.
Check below the fold for a thorough accounting of Fiorina's tenure at HP. Read through some of the points and ask yourself: Is that a record worthy of admiration and respect?
Carly Fiorina's Record at Hewlett-Packard:
Fiorina Laid Off 20,000 Workers And H-P's Stock Fell By Half While She Was CEO." "Her poise and freshness have been offset at times by her inexperience and her contentious tenure at HP, during which she cut more than 20,000 jobs and the venerable technology company's stock fell by nearly half." [Los Angeles Times, 8/6/08, latimes.com]
Fiorina Received $42 Million Severance Package >From HP. After being "spectacularly" fired from Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina was awarded a severance package originally valued at $21 million, which "disgusted" corporate governance advocates at the time, but then The New York Times reported that the company also granted stock options and holdings valued at another $21.1 million, making her total a severance package of $42 million. Federal filings at the time indicated that HP helped Ms. Fiorina financially with her mortgage, relocation expenses, and taxes to the tune of 1.6 million between 1999 and 2003. [The New York Times, 6/6/08, nytimes.com; Associated Press, 2/9/05; Hewlett-Packard Proxy Statements (1999-2005); Securities and Exchange Commission, accessed 3/25/08; The New York Times, 2/12/05]
WP: Fiorina Fired After "Rocky" Tenure Marked By Scandal. "Fiorina's claim to fame was 5 1/2 rocky years at Hewlett-Packard, where she battled the company's founding families to push forward with a $19 billion purchase of Compaq Computer in 2002, then failed to create the profitable computer giant she had promised. In February 2005, she was publicly ousted by HP's board, but not before she ordered the first of a series of leak investigations that would spin into a highly publicized scandal." [Washington Post, 4/2/08]
H-P's Stock Rose 11 Percent After Word Of Fiorina's Ouster Spread. "H-P's stock, which has gone nowhere for two years and is down two-thirds from its peak in 2000, rose almost 7 percent after earlier soaring almost 11 percent on the news of her ouster." [Associated Press, 2/9/05]
Board: Fiorina Failed To Achieve Objectives. "Board members said they fired Fiorina, one of corporate America's highest ranking female executives, because she failed to execute a planned strategy of slashing costs and boosting revenue as quickly as directors had hoped. 'She made a lot of changes, including the merger with Compaq, layoffs, and reorganizations. A lot of employees resented her leadership,' said CBSNews.com Technology Analyst Larry Magid." [CBS.com; Associated Press 2/9/05]
Fiorina Called the Outsourcing of American Jobs 'Right Shoring.' As HP CEO, Fiorina made comments in Washington alongside Intel's CEO that "drew an unusually strong reaction from workers, who suggested the pair forfeit their own highly paid jobs to Chinese or Russian executives working for a quarter of their pay." Fiorina said that "there is no job that is America's God-given right anymore" and had also said called what is generally referred to as "offshoring," the outsourcing of jobs to cheaper labor centers overseas, as "right- shoring." [San Francisco Chronicle, 1/9/04; Investors Business Daily, 1/8/04]
Promoting Outsourcing, Fiorina Said U.S. Cant Be Distracted by 'Short Term Employment Concerns.' "[Fiorina] said the country cannot afford to be distracted by short-term financial and employment concerns. 'The biggest barrier [to solutions] is our nation's attention span,' she said." [Technews.com, 1/8/04; Washington Post, 1/8/04]
Fiorina Defended Outsourcing of Technology Jobs, Said No Job Is "America's God-Given Right." "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore," said Carly Fiorina in 2004, chief executive for Hewlett-Packard Co, according to the AP. [Associated Press, 1/7/04]
Fiorina Expressed Support for NAFTA But "Data May Not Be All That Comforting." Fiorina said in an interview, "If you're in Ohio, and you've lost your job, and your community is suffering, the data from NAFTA may not be all that comforting, and we have to acknowledge that people are really having a difficult time," which is why McCain wants to focus on worker retraining, Fiorina said.