Carly Fiorina: The Marketing Genius

In contrast to Clinton, Fiorina simply refused to adopt a defensive posture. She ignored the challenges and just hit Planned Parenthood harder. The factual issue sort of got lost in her torrent. She was stylistically indomitable even if she didn’t address the substance of the critique.

.. And yet for all her feisty outsider bravado, if you actually look at her views on substance and her behavior in the past, she is a completely conventional Republican.

.. On issues where her views once contradicted the current fashion, like No Child Left Behind, and a path to citizenship for immigrants, she has moved to be where Republican voters now are. She is where the consumers want her to be.

.. When she ran Hewlett-Packard the core critique against her was that she was really good at marketing but not good at tech or operations.


Carly: From Secretary to CEO: “Sortof”

“It’s only in this country that you can go from being a secretary to the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world,” she told Jimmy Fallon, on “The Tonight Show,” last week. “Wow,” Fallon said. “It’s unbelievable.” It’s also, as with much that Fiorina says, a little more complicated than that. In 1976, Cara Carleton Sneed graduated from Stanford, where her father had been a law professor. (He later served in the Nixon Administration and on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.) She enrolled in law school at U.C.L.A. but dropped out. She worked briefly in a real-estate firm as a receptionist, then got married, moved to Italy for a while, and returned to attend business school in Maryland, after which, Stanford degree and M.B.A. in hand, she was hired as a management trainee at A. T. & T.

.. Some of the deals she closed were, in fact, unbelievable. In 1999, Lucent said that a little-known firm called PathNet would buy as much as two billion dollars’ worth of its equipment. As Fortunenoted later, PathNet’s annual revenues were only $1.6 million; Lucent would loan it money for the sale, which was unlikely to be repaid. But by the time such dubious accounting became public, leading to a collapse of Lucent’s stock, Fiorina, who was never accused of wrongdoing, had left for H.P., with a signing bonus worth sixty-eight million dollars and millions more in pay. When H.P. fired her, she got a twenty-million-dollar severance package, plus fifteen thousand dollars for career counselling. Only in this country, perhaps, could a C.E.O. receive compensation worth more than a hundred million dollars in six years, get fired, and use the money to enter politics.

Carly Fiorina and Her Friend CARLY

The reason that super PACs choose odd names is not that they are run by manipulative or secretive people—or not just because of that—but because the Federal Election Commission’s rules say that they can’t take a candidate’s name. The Supreme Court, in its Citizens United ruling, which ushered in the new super-PAC era, did not leave many restrictions on the ability of wealthy donors to sponsor campaigns, but super PACs are not supposed to “coördinate” their activities with the official campaign organizations ..

.. “We publicize every event on my schedule, and anyone can come,” she said. “What you see happening is a super PAC is organizing people. We’re not coördinating with them. We’re not asking them to. I don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t tell us what they’re doing.” And yet, CNN found that the only people handing out literature were affiliated with the super PAC, raising the question of who the campaign thought would be performing such basic tasks if the CARLY people hadn’t shown up. When asked about that, Fiorina referred the question to the super PAC.