Dueling Carly Fiorina websites do battle
The California Democratic Party launched a website parodying former Hewlett-Packard Co chief Carly Fiorina’s credentials to run as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from California.
Fiorina was the driving force behind HP’s controversial 2002 acquisition of Compaq Computer, turning the Silicon Valley pioneer into a behemoth with billions in annual revenue in line with that of IBM, although she was ousted three years later owing to the firm’s poor performance. She wants to run to unseat liberal Democrat Barbara Boxer later this year.
If she secures her party’s nomination, Fiorina, 55, would likely be the underdog against Boxer, who has served four terms in the Senate and has an edge in Democratic leaning California.
The CDP said the website is the first in a series they planned to launch this year profiling Republican candidates. They said it parodies Fiorina’s own online campaign drive that aims “to paint her as a competent CEO and business leader, despite her numerous failures.”
The site highlights what it says are Fiorina’s “failures” during her spell at the helm of HP, including off-shoring profits and laying off workers during restructuring. It invites visitors to submit their own “Carly Fail” stories.
“Carly Fiorina would be an unmitigated disaster for California,” CDP Chairman John Burton said in a news release. “But just don’t take our word for it. Talk to any of the 28,000 people she fired while she was busy sending jobs overseas and running Hewlett-Packard right into the ground.”
Fiorina’s campaign shrugged off the attack on her as back-handed acknowledgement that the former CEO is the GOP frontrunner, and pointed out errors on the website which said she is running for California governor not the Senate.
“We take it as a compliment that Barbara Boxer continues to spend money to attack Carly. She’s clearly the candidate Boxer would least like to face in the general election because she can, and will, beat her,” said Julie Soderlund, a spokeswoman for Fiorina.
HP’s poor performance resulted in Fiorina’s ouster in 2005 with a $21 million severance package. She served last year as a senior adviser to Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain, who lost to Barack Obama.
When she launched her bid for the GOP Senate nomination last year, Fiorina became the latest Silicon Valley executive hoping to get on the California ballot next autumn. Former eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, an entrepreneur now serving as California’s insurance commissioner, are seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
Reuters photos by Rick Wilking and Mike Blake.