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Carly Fiorina lauds McCain insurgency

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Former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina, a senior adviser to John McCain, on Monday said the Arizona Republican's presidential campaign is "doing pretty darned well" for being outraised, outspent and outstaffed.

And, in effect, she warned Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who shows signs of losing traction with donors as he moves to the political center, that Mr. McCain is on the move.

"In the last month, when raising money was reported [to the Federal Election Commission], Barack Obama and John McCain for the first time raised about the same amount of money - $21.4 million for McCain and $21.7 million for Obama," she said. "Trends matter, and the trend line for Obama is down and for McCain is up."

The chairwoman of the Republican Victory 2008 committee also told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that it's worth considering the challenge Mr. Obama has taken on by bypassing $84 million in public financing.

"Importantly, the Republican National Committee has been outraising the Democratic National Committee very consistently," she said.

"For Obama to make that up and all the money the DNC and the RNC can put into this, he'd have to raise more money in each of the coming four months than he has ever raised before," she said.

Since both men began their campaigns, Mr. Obama raised more than $295 million, well more than twice the $122 million Mr. McCain raised.

Mrs. Fiorina, who fought and ultimately lost a take-no-prisoners war with the HP board, said she wasn't underestimating the opposition - just not overestimating it either.

"I'm not saying Obama can't do it, but that people shouldn't underestimate the hill he has to climb now," she said.

The widening income gap in this country is an important issue, she said, which is why Mr. McCain is "calling out by name those [business executives] who receive exorbitant pay packages." She said that a corporation's board of directors ought to have the say in what top executives get in pay and retirement packages and that she returned her package when she was made HP CEO and asked the board to renegotiate the sum with total "transparency" for shareholders.

However, a group of HP investors filed suit in 2006 over her multimillion-dollar severance package.

Her business background makes her a potential Treasury secretary choice for the Arizona senator, but she noted other developing areas of interest.

"I've spent the last three-plus years getting involved in a variety of issues in a variety of government departments, whether it's the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency or the State Department," she said.

Talked up in the press as a possible running mate or Cabinet secretary in a McCain administration, Mrs. Fiorina said there are many people associated with the campaign who would be qualified and might want such a job - and under the right circumstances, that would include her.

She also downplayed the idea that recent changes in the McCain organization constituted a "shake-up" rather that a refining of the roles of the key players at the top, as new staff is being hired regionally.

Yesterday, Mike DuHaime, who has been doing political recruitment for the campaign since February, was given the title of political director, campaign senior adviser Charlie Black said.

And yesterday rumors persisted that longtime Republican campaign strategists Mike Murphy and Scott Reed would be joining Mr. McCain.

"That won't happen," Mr. Black told The Washington Times.

Mr. DuHaime managed former New York Mayor Rudloph W. Giuliani's presidential nomination campaign until it folded.

About the Author
Ralph Z. Hallow

Ralph Z. Hallow

Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.

 

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