Fiorina Super-PAC Takes Out Full-Page New York Times Ad Defending Business Record

The former executive's time at the helm of Hewlett-Packard has become a central to her presidential quest.

The war over Carly Fiorina's business record continues.

CARLY for America, a super-PAC supporting the former Hewlett-Packard CEO in her run for the Republican nomination for president, paid for a full-page ad in Thursday's New York Times that defended her tenure. The ad was designed to rebut a Times story casting Fiorinia's stewardship of HP as unsuccessful.

"Not only did she save the company from the dire straits it was in, she laid the foundation for HP's future growth," reads the ad, which is signed by Tom Perkins, a member of the HP board during much of Fiorina's tenure and the founder of California venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. "I have no question that Carly is a transformational leader who uniquely has both vision and the expertise to implement it."

A full-page, black-and-white weekday ad from an "advocacy" group in the Times business section can cost more than $175,000, according to the newspaper's advertising guide.

Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks during the Republican presidential primary debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks during the Republican presidential primary debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.


In the ad, headlined "The Truth About Carly" and framed as a response to a story by Times business reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, Perkins cited the increase in HP's revenue and patent filings as proof of her success. Perkins—who has given $25,000 to the pro-Fiorina super-PAC, according to federal filings—said her 2005 firing came about because she challenged the status quo against a board "that was ineffective and dysfunctional" and filled with allies of the founders who "fought for their own power or advancement."

In an August 17 examination of Fiorina's business record, Sorkin suggested Fiorina oversaw "a sharp decline in one of America’s great companies" and questioned numbers she used to portray the firm's merger with Compaq as successful. The company's "stock price plunged" during her tenure and "Hewlett-Packard is still recovering from the ill-conceived merger nearly 15 years later," Sorkin wrote. 

Fiorina, who has never held elective office and has made her status as the first woman to head a Fortune 20 company a key to her presidential campaign, has said she was fired "in a board room brawl" and blamed the dot-com bubble for the company's troubles.

It was the second instance this week of a former fellow executive coming to Fiorina's defense. In a Wednesday op-ed for the conservative Internet site IJReview, Joe Russo, who worked with Fiorina at telecom company Lucent before she joined HP, said recent examinations of her record were mostly "written by someone who has never worked with Carly and has little to no experience actually working for or running a business." Fiorina was "open, honest and inspiring" as well as "just plain cool," Russo added.

An aide at the CARLY super-PAC, which has taken on many duties that otherwise would be part of Fiorina's official campaign, confirmed that the organization helped place Russo's op-ed.

Following a highly touted debate performance and buoyed by rising poll numbers, Fiorina's campaign is taking a more aggressive stance on behalf of the candidate, inundating reporters with statistics designed to burnish her image as an HP executive and attacking CNN and the Republican National Committee for rules that could make it more difficult for her to win a position on the main stage at the next Republican presidential debate on Sept. 16.

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