GOP Candidates: Both Women, But Not the Same


They are both women, both former California tech executives, and both running for big GOP offices. But Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina are not necessarily cut from the same cloth.

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The L.A. Times analyzes the differences and conflicts between our would-be Governor, the former eBay chief Whitman, and our would-be senator, past Hewlett-Packard boss Fiorina:

Whitman and Fiorina arrived in Silicon Valley about the same time, but with different business demands before them. Hired by EBay in 1998, Whitman over the next decade shepherded a $4.7-million startup with 30 employees into an $8-billion operation with 15,000 workers. Fiorina was hired in 1999 to shake up a $42-billion company with more than 84,000 employees, a venture that lasted until her dramatic ouster in 2005.....

Whitman's temper also became an issue. In an instance in 2007 that has created a dust-up in the gubernatorial campaign, she physically removed a subordinate from a conference room after a verbal dispute. The subordinate was paid a confidential settlement estimated at $200,000 and continues to work at EBay.....

While Whitman sought to preserve EBay's culture, Fiorina wrote in her memoir that at [Hewlett Packard] she viewed her role as that of a "change warrior."

Her tenure was shaped by outsize ambition -- from a $200-million rebranding campaign launched shortly after she arrived to her controversial decision to force HP's merger with Compaq Computer Corp. She raised eyebrows by appearing in the company's ad campaign, and was dubbed "Chainsaw Carly" by some in the company when she fired thousands of employees.....

In 2005, the board forced her resignation, frustrated that the company's stock lagged in comparison to rivals, and by the merger's failure to produce the profits that Fiorina had promised....

Both women worked on the 2008 John McCain presidential campaign:

Fiorina's ease on television made her one of McCain's most prominent surrogates. Although she made some major gaffes, aides viewed her as a tough and generally disciplined messenger unafraid to go for the jugular. Whitman initially took a more behind-the-scenes role, leading the occasional campaign event but also digging into minute details of economic policy, several advisors said.

By the end of the campaign, many people told the Times, the two women could not bear each other:

At the Republican National Convention in early September, Whitman's and Fiorina's mutual disdain was well-known among planners, according to a former Republican National Committee official who helped coordinate the convention and declined to be named because of fears of retribution.

Both women were scheduled to speak, first Whitman then Fiorina, on Sept. 3, 2008, the second-to-last night of the convention, before delegates officially nominated McCain. RNC aides who accompanied the women were told by their supervisors to make sure their paths didn't cross, even as major political rivals mingled congenially behind the scenes.

"We had to keep them separate -- that was our biggest priority," the RNC source said. "Our main goal of course was to make sure there was a smooth nominating process. They became the biggest issue of that night."

Both Whitman and Fiorina's campaigns deny those stories.

The national political site Politico wrote about bad blood between the two Cali GOP women last month.

Image taken by Flickr user jkarsh. Used under user Creative Commons license.

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