TotalCIO

Sep 16 2008   7:34PM GMT

Sarah Palin as CEO? Fiorina thinks not

Rachel Lebeaux Rachel Lebeaux Profile: Rachel Lebeaux

What’s more difficult: being the CEO of a large IT company, or serving as president of the United States?

Appearing on a KTRS Radio show in St. Louis Tuesday, Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO turned John McCain economic advisor, was asked whether Sarah Palin could run her old company, and she responded “no.” Cue the headlines: “PALIN COULDN’T RUN A MAJOR COMPANY.”

“But that’s not what she’s running for,” Fiorina quickly added. “Running a corporation is a different set of things.”

In a follow-up interview, Fiorina jammed her foot in deeper qualified her remarks. “I don’t think John McCain could run a major corporation, I don’t think Barack Obama could run a major corporation, I don’t think Joe Biden could run a major corporation.”

And deeper.

“But, on the other hand, a major corporation is not the same as being the president or the vice president of the United States. It is a fallacy to suggest that the country is like a company. So, of course, to run a business, you have to have a lifetime of experience in business, but that’s not what Sarah Palin, John McCain, Joe Biden, or Barack Obama are doing.”

Triggering this query from the Obama campaign: “If John McCain’s top economic advisor doesn’t think he can run a corporation, how on Earth can he run the largest economy in the world in the midst of a financial crisis?”

Personally, I find it arrogant (not to mention incredibly dumb) to say that your candidate and his vice president couldn’t run a company when you’re asking people to vote with confidence that they can run an entire country. What was she thinking? Does she think being a CEO is more difficult than being president of the United States? Are different skills sets required for running a country and running a multibillion-dollar corporation?

I don’t have it out for Fiorina. I just think someone who was fired after a highly visible merger went sour, stock prices plummeted and thousands of employees were laid off should think twice making comments about who would and wouldn’t be qualified to run her former company — or the country. I personally don’t want John McCain or Sarah Palin trying to run a company — or our country — either, but Fiorina’s comments are like the kettle calling the pot black.

And, on that note, I wonder if Fiorina is the one behind McCain’s recent assertion that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times.”

Yeah, tell it to Wall Street.

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