Five short months into her surprising presidential run, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina is not only moving to the top of the polls, she is also gaining a reputation as the campaign’s biggest liar — an impressive feat in a field full of politicians.
While fellow outsider Donald Trump has been notable for his self-promoting bombast, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has developed a reputation as a somnolent gaffe machine, Fiorina is now spending more time explaining away untruths she has uttered than making the case for her presidency.
In doing so, Fiorina has often compounded lies with more lies.
Fiorina’s latest involves a statement she previously made on the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage — calling that and other court decisions “the law of the land.” Confronted over her comments by a conservative radio host she was trying to impress, Fiorina denied making the comments, stating, “I think that is a quote from someone else, not from me,” despite the fact that her words were on tape.
Since the last GOP debate, Fiorina has been fending off accusations that she lied that evening about the heavily criticized Planned Parenthood tapes, saying one of them showed “a fully formed fetus on the table. Its heart beating. Its legs kicking. While someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ ”
Despite multiple fact checkers who have reviewed the unedited videos saying no such scene exists, Fiorina still insists that she saw it, stating, “No, I don’t accept that at all. I’ve seen the footage. And I find it amazing, actually, that all these supposed fact checkers in the mainstream media claim this doesn’t exist, they’re trying to attack the authenticity of the videotape.”
Setting new standard for journalistic accuracy, Fiorina then challenged members of the mainstream media to watch the entire unedited videos and then prove to her that they didn’t see the scene — that doesn’t exist — in question.
Previously Fiorina has claimed that she didn’t know a European subsidiary of HP had been selling materials to Iran while an embargo was in place. Through a campaign spokesperson for her failed California Senate campaign the candidate claimed that, “To her knowledge, during her tenure, HP never did business in Iran and fully complied with all U.S. sanctions and laws.”
In a recent interview with a radio host, she stated, “That was after my time. So I actually am not aware of that. I mean, apparently they were named that, but I don’t know that. You know, it was after my time there. I can’t speak to that.”
However that wasn’t true either, as she personally awarded the seller, Redington Gulf, HP Wholesaler of the Year in 2003 — two years before she was unceremoniously fired by the HP board.
Days after saying it didn’t happen on her watch , Fiorina had another spin, telling Chris Wallace of Fox News, “The Wholesaler of the Year that you’re describing was doing business with another company that was doing business with Iran. Clearly, that Wholesaler of the Year, which should not have been the Wholesaler of the Year, was not honest in their dealings with us and they were not honest in their dealings with this third company.”
When she is not outright lying, Fiorina has been accused of shading the truth: implying a rags to riches story of rising from a lowly secretary to Fortune 500 CEO without noting she was the daughter of the dean of Duke Law School, who briefly took the job before heading off to Europe for a year with her new husband after she graduated from Stanford.
Fiorina has also played fast and loose with the facts about her tumultuous CEO career, saying her actions improved the HP by increasing sales and expanding the business without noting the 65 percent drop in HP stock during her tenure, and the massive layoffs that followed her ill-fated $24 billion merger with computer maker Compaq.
Recently Yale School of management professor Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld described Fiorina as having “an almost psychopathic denial of reality.”