Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, ripped Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” blog for accusing her of lying about her well-documented “Secretary to CEO” story.
“Yeah, I was sort of stunned by that,” Fiorina told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Monday evening when asked about how the Washington Post gave her “Three Pinocchios” for saying she went from being a secretary to being a CEO.
The piece from the Post, Breitbart News noted in a followup question, admitted that Fiorina was a secretary in her first real job after dropping out of law school—but then they claimed her business career didn’t really count until after she finished graduate school. It was after graduate school that she would go on to become CEO of HP after an illustrious business career.
The following transcript includes the portion of Breitbart’s exclusive interview with Fiorina relating to her background and the Washington Post‘s attacks.
BREITBART NEWS (BN): We have to start with your biography because the fact-checkers at the Washington Post gave you 3 Pinocchios for saying you went from secretary to CEO.
CARLY FIORINA (CF): Yeah, I was sort of stunned by that.
BN: They admit in the piece that you were a secretary and it was your first real job after dropping out of law school, but they claim your career in business didn’t begin until after graduate school. And that’s not an assumption on my part, that’s what Glenn Kessler from the Post told me directly. So how is it that the Washington Post gets to decide where your story begins?
CF: Yeah, exactly. Well, I helped put myself through college by being a temporary secretary. I worked for an organization called Kelly Girls and I acted as a temporary secretary. I typed and filed and I answered the phones. I did the books at a hairdresser’s for two years. And then I went to law school, dropped out, went to the want ads, got a job as a secretary at a nine-person real estate firm. And, of course, the only way I was ever going to get a reasonable job in business–when my resume said medieval history and philosophy, law school drop-out and secretary–was I had to go off and get an MBA. So I did. And then I joined AT&T as an entry-level salesperson. So, the Washington Post article just confused us.
BN: Yes, and also confused the people at the company where you worked. I spoke to them and I also spoke to Peter Burrows, who wrote the biography from which the Post took the quote “the Stanford student,” which was supposedly a nickname. He checked his notes for me and found that originated when you first came in and they were excited that someone from Stanford had applied for a job for which there was a lot of turnover. They were excited to have you. But the company told me, in a written statement, that it was your “talent and initiative” and your understanding of the business that led to you being given more opportunity and eventually led to them offering you a position to train as a broker. [Read more here.]
CF: Well, that’s true. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen, right? [laughs] You do a good job and people take notice.
BN: It’s kind of astounding what they’ve done with that. It seems the Post is trying to rule your own biography out of bounds.
CF: I think, first, they completely lack credibility because this is so obviously an attempt to discredit me, presumably because I’m now viewed as a political threat. But it’s pretty rich when you decide that you’re not going to accept the facts of someone’s biography.
BN: Very odd.
CF: Or not odd at all.
BN: I was reading your book [Tough Choices] and I was surprised by the number of times you encountered some really blatant sexism. In particular, there was one story I’d never heard before involving one of the first big meetings you were involved with at AT&T. You were invited to the meeting and, at the last minute, the person who was in charge said the meeting would take place at a place called The Board Room. Can you tell the rest of that story.
CF: It was a different time, and it was very hard for a young woman in a man’s world. This colleague came to my desk and said, “sorry, you can’t come, we’re going to the strip club.” I thought about that for a long time, because I was pretty freaked out, as you can imagine. This was an important meeting; I needed to meet these clients. I had a sense I was being tested and shut out of something that was important for me to do. So, after a lot of thought, I decided I had to go. So I told him I had to go and… I mean, there’s a funny side to this story, as well. I got up very nervously that morning, and the cab driver thought I was the new act. Literally, when I said where I wanted to go, he said “Oh, are you the new act?”
BN: Not a good start to a business meeting.
CF: Not a good start. In any event, I arrived. It was obviously very awkward, but I was determined not to be scared off from my job. So it was awkward for the men at the table as well as for me. I also recall that my colleague, who was doing his best to make this as embarrassing as possible for me, kept asking the young women to come over–the trademark of this particular place was that young women danced on top of the tables. He kept trying to get women to dance on top of the table, and several approached and looked at the situation and basically said, “not ’til the lady leaves,” which was a wonderful moment, actually. You know, it was a little bit of empathy among women for what was going on. And after I had been there for several hours and felt that I had proved my point, I left. It never happened again. That colleague and I became very good co-workers. I never mentioned it again, neither did he, but I had made my point.
The next parts of this exclusive interview with Fiorina—where she talks about the GOP primary and how she’s gaining steam as a candidate on the trail—is forthcoming. Fiorina also offers in-depth critiques of the serious problems with several of the Democratic candidates, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of the upcoming Tuesday night Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, hosted by CNN.