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McCain Surrogate Fiorina to Auto Industry: Drop Dead

October 28, 2008

Back in January, John McCain helped doom his chances in the Michigan primary with his declaration that he didn't want to "false hopes that somehow we can bring back lost jobs." Now on the eve of the election, McCain's renegade surrogate Carly Fiorina only magnified his problems in the Rust Belt states with her insistence "the auto industry cannot be saved from its own bad bets."
Even as the Bush White House was scambling to find new measures to help resuscitate the failing American car companies, Fiorina went to Detroit to pour cold water on the industry. While her man John McCain previously stated, "'Let's get the $25 billion to them to start with and see how that goes," Fiorina departed from the script:

"I don't think the government can rescue the industry," Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Corp, told Reuters at an event in suburban Detroit.
"Whatever the government does, it should not take away the fundamentals of risk-taking. Sometimes it leads to rewards and sometimes consequences, downside," she said. "In other words, the auto industry cannot be saved from its own bad bets."

This is far from the first time Carly Fiorina has emerged as a one-woman wrecking machine for Team McCain. The former head of HP, Fiorina for a time was the face of John McCain's outreach to disappointed supporters of Hillary Clinton. By consistently misrepresenting McCain's radical views on abortion, contraception, equal pay and other women's issues, Fiorina produced a smokescreen on McCain's behalf. But when her repeated departures from campaign talking points - and her $42 million golden parachute from HP - became problematic, Fiorina was consigned to surrogate purgatory.
(In today's Los Angeles Times, reporter Maeve Reston points to her question to McCain regarding Fiorina's statement of his position on insurance coverage for contraception and Viagra as ending the media's easy access to Mr. Straight Talk.)
For his part, John McCain sought to undo his job-killing comments that helped win Michigan for Mitt Romney. Reversing his January jaw-dropper that it "wasn't government's job to protect buggy factories and haberdashers when cars replaced carriages and men stopped wearing hats," McCain in June acknowledged "Americans are hurting" and told the good people of Michigan, "new jobs are coming."
Alas, McCain's change of heart came too late. Auto industry capital Michigan now looks to be firmly in Barack Obama's column next week. And with friends like Carly Fiorina, latest, John McCain doesn't need enemies.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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