Carly Fiorina’s fables are fact-checker fodder. Also, a Florida Republican wants to gerrymander prisons into Rep. Corrine Brown’s district … if there are no reporters around…. (More)

“The only-for-Fiorina opportunities and options”

Carly Fiorina loves to tell her secretary-to-CEO story:

I started as a secretary, typing and filing for a nine-person real estate firm. It’s only in this country that you can go from being a secretary to chief executive of the largest tech company in the world, and run for President of the United States. It’s only possible here.

But as Washington Post fact-checker Michelle Ye Hee Lee notes, Fiorina leaves out some important details:

Fiorina’s mother was an abstract artist and homemaker, and her father was a law professor who taught at Stanford, Cornell and Yale universities, and became Duke Law School dean. Joseph Sneed, her father, also was appointed deputy U.S. attorney general under President Richard M. Nixon, and served as a longtime federal appeals court judge in San Francisco.

Sneed was a prominent conservative judge who helped to select Kenneth Starr to investigate the Clintons’ Whitewater investments. He was known for his strong work ethic and held high standards for his children, especially for his studious middle child, Cara Carleton Sneed, now known as Carly Fiorina.

Fiorina grew up New York, Connecticut, California, London, Africa and North Carolina, as her father moved between schools while rising up the academic ranks. She graduated from Stanford with a major in history and philosophy. She wrote her honors thesis on medieval judicial systems.

Yes, after she graduated from Stanford and then she decided law school wasn’t for her – and while she considered other graduate school options – she worked as a secretary in a real estate office. Where she was known as “the Stanford student.”

After a year there, she quit, got married, and moved to Italy, where she taught English. She wanted to attend business school when she returned to the U.S., but she missed the deadline to apply. Undeterred, she went to the dean of the business school and asked “So, can a liberal arts student from Stanford compete with the analytical jocks you have around here?”

The dean relented and accepted her late application, and recommended her for an AT&T management program when she graduated. And thus her career took off … as a Stanford and then business school graduate, with a politically-influential father. As Ye Hee Lee concludes:

Fiorina uses a familiar, “mailroom to boardroom” trope of upward mobility that the public is familiar with, yet her story is nothing like that. In telling her only-in-America story, she conveniently glosses over the only-for-Fiorina opportunities and options beyond what the proverbial mailroom worker has.

“Basically the Washington Post is saying no, I was not a secretary”

Needless to say, Fiorina doesn’t like being caught in yet another lie:

Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Fiorina about what he called WaPo‘s “journalistic malpractice.” Fiorina responded, “That one, I must say, has sort of floored me, because basically the Washington Post is saying no, I was not a secretary.”

She said the liberal media must be “so threatened by her” they’re trying to take her down, and said they never did the same to President Obama. Both of them also laughed off the idea that just because her father was a law professor, she was very well-off.

But the Post did not claim that Fiorina was never a secretary, nor did the Post claim Fiorina’s family was “very well off.” Instead, the Post noted that Fiorina’s father was a politically-influential federal judge, that she was a Stanford graduate, and that she leveraged her degree – and presumably her father’s influence – on her way up the career ladder.

Let’s be clear here. There is nothing unsavory about Fiorina’s early career. It’s not unusual for children to leverage their parents’ connections, especially when starting their careers.

The unsavory part is her denying those connections, airbrushing her story, telling it as if she was like any other secretary … except her brilliance shown so bright that she was tapped for advancement.

The flipside of her airbrushed story is that if you’re stuck in a low-paying job, the reason can only be that you lack Carly Fiorina’s brilliance … not that you lack her family connections.

And that’s why the Post rated her story a Three-Pinocchio Lie.


“Let me give you inside ball game. Are there any reporters in here?”

Florida legislator Janet Adkins has a clever plan to unseat U.S. House Rep Corrine Brown, a black Democrat from Jacksonville. But she checked her audience before she revealed that plan last month:

“Let me give you inside ball game. Are there any reporters in here?” she said. “Any reporters? OK. So, inside ball game.”

Adkins directly addressed Danny Norton, the state GOP committeeman from Baker County, which includes a large prison population.

“You can actually, Danny, you – you can be the person that will help get rid of Corrine Brown,” she said.

And what was her clever plan?

“You draw [Brown’s seat] in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote,” said Adkins, a Nassau County Republican, referring to black residents.

Yes, you read that right. Here’s a fact most people don’t consider about our excessive prison population: the census counts prisoners as living where the prison is, but they can’t vote.

So if a federal court settlement requires a minimum percentage of minority residents in a district – as one does for Rep. Corinne Brown’s district – then just redraw the district to include 16 state and federal prisons. A disproportionate number of the prisoners in those 16 state and federal prisons will count as minorities in her district, but they can’t vote for her. And since prisons tend to be built in otherwise rural, mostly white regions … you’ll have a local electorate that is much whiter – and more conservative – than the people counted in the district.

And now you know why Rep. Adkins didn’t want reporters to hear her plan.


Photo Credit: Politico


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