From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a chief McCain surrogate, said on a radio show Palin is not qualified to run a major corporation.
(The story was first reported by Sam Stein at Huffington Post. Fiorina later confirmed and defended what she said, going further in an interview this afternoon with NBC's Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC dismissing McCain, Obama or Biden's capability to run a company.)
The radio host asked, "Do you think she [Palin] has the experience to run a major company, like Hewlett-Packard?"
"No. I don't," Fiorina said. "But you know what? That's not what she's running for [laughs]. Running a corporation is a different set of things. I would just remind you that it is Barack Obama who is running for president, John McCain who is running for president. Sarah Palin has more executive experience than Barack Obama has. Barack Obama has never made an executive decision in his life. He has been a state senator and during his time there when a difficult issue came up, he voted present over 100 times instead of standing up and being accountable to a yes or no vote. He has been in the U.S. Senate for a very short period of time and has been running for office most of that time.
"Sarah Palin as a mayor and a governor has made executive decisions, challenged her own party, taken accountability for those decisions, so I find it quite stunning actually that the Barack Obama campaign is questioning Sarah Palin's experience who's got more executive experience than he does -- and she's the vice presidential nominee. Barack Obama is the presidential nominee."
But later she told NBC's Mitchell that neither McCain nor Obama nor Biden were qualified to run a major corporation.
"Well, 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.
"But, on the other hand, running 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."
But as MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell pointed out while interviewing Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the U.S. government is the largest employer in the United States "with more than 1.8 million civilian employees," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Obama campaign seized on the first part of Fiorina's comments while on MSNBC.
"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?" Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor writes. "Apparently even the people who run his campaign agree that the economy is an issue John McCain doesn't understand as well as he should."