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On the Trail / CANDIDATES' QUALIFICATIONS

No heads for business

September 17, 2008|Maeve Reston

John McCain has repeatedly said that his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is qualified to be vice president and that she could step in as president should the need arise. That prompted St. Louis radio host McGraw Milhaven of KTRS on Tuesday to ask McCain economic advisor Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., whether she thinks the one-term governor has the experience to run a "major company like Hewlett-Packard."

"No, I don't," she replied. "But you know what? That's not what she's running for. Running a corporation is a different set of things."

Fiorina, hailed as the most powerful woman in business before she was fired by HP in 2005, stood by her remarks and then went further in an interview Tuesday afternoon with NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

"Well, I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation," Fiorina said when Mitchell asked her about the morning interview. Fiorina added that she didn't think that Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden would be up to the job either.

"A major corporation is not the same as being president or vice president of the United States," Fiorina said on MSNBC.

"To run a business you have to have a lifetime of experience in business," she said. "But that's not what Sarah Palin, John McCain, Joe Biden or Barack Obama are doing."

Fiorina got points for her blunt assessment, but it gave Obama's campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor an opening: "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?" Vietor said.

-- Maeve Reston

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