September 21, 2008

Last week, after the Wall Street crisis took center stage in the presidential campaign, John McCain began assailing the greed of corporate fat cats, blasting CEOs who "seem to escape the consequences." Reminded today by Meredith Viera that Carly Fiorina, as CEO of HP, walked away with over $40 million even after her tenure at the company was marked by tens of thousands of job losses and a 40% decline of shareholders stock value, John McCain insists that Fiorina did a heckuva job and played dumb on the details of her huge payout.

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Viera: You have said, bottom line, it's those fat cats. It's the greed of Wall Street. You promised to crack down on CEOs who walked away with huge severance packages. And yet the person who up until recently was your public face on your economic policy was Carly Fiorina. She's the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, she was fired in 2005, but she left with a $45 million dollar golden parachute while 20,000 of her employees were laid off. She is an example of exactly the kind of person you say is at the root of the problem. How can you say that?

McCain: I don’t think so. … Because I think she did a good job as CEO in many respects. I don’t know the details of her compensation package. But she’s one of many advisers that I have.

Viera: But she did get a $45 million dollar golden parachute after being fired while 20,000 of her employees were laid off.

McCain: I have many of the people, but I do not know the details of what happened.

Are we really supposed to believe that McCain had no idea Fiorina was an epic failure at HP and still took home a huge $40 million dollar payout? Of course not. He just knows he can't say with a straight face that he chose her, knowing she symbolizes the very corporate greed and corruption he now rails against.

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