Who is Carly?

Carly Fiorina -- Prezography

By Bob Eschliman


Topic A LogoHaving been declared the winner of the “undercard debate” in Ohio last month and arguably the candidate who will likely see the biggest gains from the prime-time debate in California earlier this week, the focus has suddenly shifted to former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Not surprisingly, a lot of Iowa voters don’t know much about her, largely because she’s made little effort to campaign in Iowa beyond the larger population centers.

So, just who is Carly Fiorina? She’s certainly not an elected politician — although this isn’t her first foray into politics — but is she establishment, conservative, libertarian, or some other type of Republican candidate?

Keep reading, and hopefully, you’ll find out.

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About Carly

For starters, her given name is Cara, not Carly, which is a derivative of her middle name, Carleton. Cara Carleton Sneed was born in Austin, TX, in 1954. She was raised an Episcopalian.

Her father was a law school professor at the University of Texas, who later became dean of Duke University Law School, an assistant U.S. Attorney General, and then a judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Her mother was an abstract painter.

Carly attended Channing School in London, and hopped around the world quite a bit in her youth. She attended five different high schools, including one in Ghana, eventually graduating from Charles E. Jordan High School in Durham, NC.

She now resides in Mason Neck, VA, with her husband, AT&T executive Frank Fiorina, who she married in 1985. She was first married to a Stanford University classmate, Todd Bartlem, in 1977, but they divorced in 1984.

Carly is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2009 and underwent both a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. She does not have any children of her own, but has been involved in the lives of Frank’s children from his first marriage, Traci and Lori Ann. Lori Ann is the daughter who died as a result of drug abuse that was mentioned during Wednesday’s debate.

The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, has interviewed both Carly and Frank’s first spouses regarding the claims. CLICK HERE to read the report, which calls into question some of the statements Carly has made on the campaign trail.


Carly’s Education

After high school, Carly aspired to be a classical pianist, but graduated from Stanford with a degree in philosophy and medieval history in 1976. She then attended UCLA Law School for a semester, but dropped out.

She received her MBA in marketing from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland in 1980. She also received a Master of Science degree in management from the MIT School of Management as a Sloan Fellow in 1989.


Carly’s Employment History

During her summers while attending Stanford, Carly worked as a secretary through Kelly Services. After dropping out of UCLA Law School, she worked as a receptionist at a real estate firm, moving up to a broker position before moving with Bartlem to Italy, where she taught English.

Four years later, in 1980, she joined AT&T as a management trainee. In 1990, she became the company’s first female officer, and five years after that, she was in charge of North American operations for the company.

Later that year, in 1995, AT&T spun off its Western Electric and Bell Labs divisions into Lucent Technologies, making Carly head of the new company’s corporate operations. She was instrumental in the new company’s initial public offering, one of the largest in U.S. history, which raised more than $3 billion.

In 1996, Carly was appointed president of Lucent’s consumer products sector. The next year, she was named president of Lucent’s global service-provider business.

Lucent’s massive and rapid growth happened as a result of questionable business and accounting practices whereby the company loaned to its own customers to spur purchases, allowing the loans to appear as new revenue while the debt incurred was reported as solid assets. It isn’t clear if Carly was directly involved in those practices, but it would be difficult to imagine she wouldn’t have been aware of it.

Based largely on her success at Lucent, she was named CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 1999, becoming the first woman to lead a FORTUNE 20 company. Despite no previous CEO experience and having no interviews with the full board of directors, she was given the largest signing offer in HP’s history.

Carly frequently sparred with the board of directors, but the biggest fight was over her plan to merge HP with Compaq. The success of the merger has been both praised and derided by business experts, but the facts cannot be argued: HP’s debt nearly doubled and its stock price fell substantially more than both the S&P 500 and its competitors IBM and Dell.

In 2005, the board of directors forced Carly’s resignation and offered her a severance package worth about $21 million. Upon news of her dismissal, HP’s stock skyrocketed, earning the company $3 billion in a single day.

As for her claims about her success at HP, the Washington Post recently performed a fact check on her claims, giving her “three Pinocchios” for significant factual errors and obvious contradictions. CLICK HERE to read the full report.

She joined Fox Business Network as a commentator in 2007. She has also served on a number of corporate, educational, and philanthropic boards since her departure from HP. She is listed as chair and CEO of Carly Fiorina Enterprises, although it was reported that as of July 2009, she had not yet registered the corporation to do business in California, where she was running for U.S. Senate at the time.


Carly’s Political History

Carly first entered the realm of politics in 2006, when she joined U.S. Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign as a fundraiser. She eventually was named fundraising chair for the Republican National Committee. She was previously considered a potential running mate, but was deemed a potential liability due to her HP severance package.

She did address the convention in 2008, and also defended eventual McCain running mate Sarah Palin from what Carly called “sexist attacks.” She followed that up with a radio interview in which she suggested none of the candidates for president or vice president were capable of running a corporation.

Then, while shamelessly self-promoting her efforts to promote empowering women (with the McCain for President logo in the background), Carly heaped the praise on Hillary Clinton. Scroll down to see the video. The article continues afterward.


A short time later, she was silenced and removed from her campaign surrogate role.

Carly ran for U.S. Senate in California, handily winning a three-way race for the GOP nomination to face incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. The primary was infamous for a video her campaign produced that is today known simply as “Demon Sheep.”

Scroll down to see the video. Article continues afterward.


After winning the Republican nomination, it soon came out that Fiorina didn’t regularly vote, and that her campaign positions were “all over the place.”

Boxer’s campaign attacked Carly’s record as CEO of HP. Scroll down to see one of the ads from the campaign. The article continues afterward.


Carly lost the race by 10 points.

Campaign debt of nearly $500,000 remained unpaid until earlier this year, and several upper-level campaign staffers said they would not work for her ever again. They questioned her campaign budgeting and accounting practices.

In 2013, and until her resignation to run for president earlier this year, Carly was chair of the American Conservative Union Foundation. She announced her presidential campaign on May 4 of this year.


Carly on the Issues

Abortion — self-described pro-life candidate, but approves of abortion in cases of rape, incest, and health of the mother. Has said she supports defunding Planned Parenthood, but during her 2010 senatorial campaign, said she opposed a personhood amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She also declared Roe v. Wade a “settled issue,” and said she would not have a “litmus test” for Supreme Court nominees.

“Climate Change” — has previously said it was a concern and that scientific consensus shows it is caused by human activity, but questions whether the government is able to solve the issue. Has previously supported “Cap and Trade” policies. She has also blamed “liberal environmentalists” for the current drought situation in California.

Drug Policy — has said she opposes criminalizing drug addiction, but opposes legalization of marijuana. As a proponent of states’ rights, she said she would not force federal laws on marijuana on Colorado. She invoked the story of her stepdaughter, Lori Ann, as “a child who died because of drug abuse.” Lori Ann died as a result of multiple struggles, which included substance abuse, alcoholism, and bulimia.

Education — although she has more recently been highly critical of Common Core, while studying at MIT in 1989, she penned a research paper calling for reforms of the education system that closely mirror Common Core and Race to the Top. In that paper, she wrote:

“Where I began as a proponent of states’ rights in education, I have ended by believing that we will never meet our own expectations of public education unless the federal government is willing to play a consistent, long-term role; unless education truly becomes a matter of national policy, not just a matter of national rhetoric.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire thesis (159 pages).

She has long been a proponent of school choice and voucher programs. More recently, reiterated support for No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.

Foreign Policy — opposes the Iran nuclear deal, although during her time as CEO of HP, the company sold billions of dollars’ worth of computers through an intermediary in violation of U.S. trade restrictions. The matter has been published in non-mainstream media several times in the past few months, most recently by Breitbart News.

CLICK HERE to read the report.

She also once praised Islamic culture as “the greatest in the world.” CLICK HERE to read the text of the speech, which she made just days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks while still the CEO of HP.

Carly has, however, pledged to take a tough stance with Russia with regard to Ukraine and the Baltic states. Opposed a public timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. But she also supports a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with “Jerusalem as the undivided capital.”

Government Reform — believes the federal government should move to zero-based budgeting, and civil service employees should be paid based on their performance. Would work to abolish earmarks and limit federal salaries. But when she was McCain’s economic advisor in 2008, she never objected to his support of bank bailouts or TARP.

Health Care — opposes Obamacare and supports its repeal. She supports federally subsidized state-run high-risk pools for “those who are truly needy.”

Immigration — supported DREAM Act, but has said she opposes a pathway to citizenship for those who entered the U.S. illegally, drawing a distinction for those who entered legally but overstayed their visas. She advocates for stronger border security as the first step in addressing the immigration issue. Supports immigration reform in a series of legislation, but supports defunding sanctuary cities.

LGBTQ Policy — proponent for Proposition 8 in California, but endorsed by GOProud during her 2010 senatorial campaign. Opposed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in the military, but supports the Defense of Marriage Act. Supports civil unions for homosexuals, and says they should receive the same benefits as married heterosexual couples. Has supported a constitutional amendment to defend traditional marriage in the past, but has more recently said she no longer does.

Race Relations — In 2003, she made a glowing endorsement of serial race baiter Jesse Jackson: “In the past 40 years, there are very few people who have used their talent along lines of excellence to achieve more things for more people in more places than Reverend Jackson. And we are all better off for his leadership.” It was bad enough that Michelle Malkin put her on blast; CLICK HERE to read it.

Second Amendment — opposes 1994 assault weapons ban, which says is “arbitrary” about what constitutes an assault weapon. Opposes any restrictions on right to bear arms.

Religious Liberty — supports religious conscience and freedom to worship, and believes accommodation should be provided to those who cannot perform certain duties as a result of their religious convictions.

Tax Policy — supports elimination of estate and capital gains taxes, and opposes gas tax hikes to provide more funding for the Highway Trust Fund. Opposes tax increases, advocates cuts in wasteful spending.