McCain economic adviser explains severance

McCain adviser Carly Fiorina got millions after being ousted as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard.

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McCain adviser Carly Fiorina got millions after being ousted as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard.

While employees, shareholders, and other victims are left with nothing but trouble and debt, the people who helped cause the collapse make off with tens of millions in severance packages. I have spoken out against the excess of corporate executives, and I can assure you that if I am president, we're not going to tolerate that anymore." John McCain in Tampa last week.

So what about Carly Fiorina, a top adviser and campaigner for John McCain who was ousted as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard in 2005? Though stock dropped 50 percent under her tenure, many news reports — and an unsuccessful shareholder suit alleging that directors neglected to get shareholder approval — said she walked away with $21-million in severance and $21-million more in stock options and pension benefits.

"That's inaccurate. My severance package was around $11-million, but that's still an incredible amount of money," Fiorina said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9. "What John McCain believes is that shareholders must vote on CEO severance packages. Shareholders voted on mine. Shareholders voted on every aspect of my compensation."

Regarding Sarah Palin, we also wondered whether Fiorina thought she could have given Hewlett-Packard her all if she was CEO with five children, including an infant with Down's syndrome and a pregnant daughter.

"Completely out of line," she called the question. "Women juggle all kinds of things all the time, and we never ask that kind of question of a man."

The interview airs on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Big bucks aimed at Fla.

The McCain campaign spent $1.04-million on ads in Florida in the week after the GOP convention, while Barack Obama spent $1.327-million, says the Wisconsin Advertising Project. Nationally, the campaigns spent $15-million on TV ads, and Tampa Bay ranked as the eighth-busiest market for McCain spots, and Jacksonville ranked 10th. For Obama, Tampa Bay was also eighth.

The 2014 race is on

Of all the absurdities in Florida politics, one of the biggest is how early lawmakers jockey for leadership positions. To wit: The race already under way for speaker of the House in 2014.

That's right, 2014. Trying to jump out front is Mike Weinstein, a Jacksonville Republican who has not even been elected. Last week, Weinstein flexed his credentials by appearing on the host committee of a fundraiser for several local candidates.

But he has competition. As word of the fundraiser spread, Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, reportedly stepped up his own efforts to assert himself as the best man for the job. Fellow lawmakers say they got calls over the weekend asking them to pledge support to Dorworth.

The dark horse is Rep. Clay Ford, R-Pensacola.

Critics of the early jockeying bemoan term limits, while contestants say the eight-year limit puts time at a premium. Weinstein was skittish about talking about his power play, not wanting to seem presumptuous. "It's kind of offensive and silly before you know your options," he said.

Of course, any option assumes Republicans will still control the Florida House of Representatives in 2014.

Obama has a $4-million night in Miami

Obama raised more than $4-million at his Friday night fundraising receptions in Miami. And it sounds like he'll need it all, considering that national campaign manager David Plouffe said he plans to spend at least $39-million in Florida.

Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner of the week

Attorney General Bill McCollum, finally talking about something other than Internet predators, is our winner of the week for taking a page from Charlie Crist's playbook and looking like a real consumer advocate. Even if nothing comes of it, McCollum was out front looking into suspected gas price gougers and launching a $37-million mortgage fraud case.

Loser of
the week

A lot of Democrats have been talking about U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Monticello, as a potentially formidable candidate for the U.S. Senate, agriculture commissioner, even governor, if he decided to leave Congress in 2010. Last week, though, Boyd's 30-year-old son was busted for human smuggling in Arizona, and was moved from jail to a drug treatment facility. Might not be a good time to plan for higher office.

McCain economic adviser explains severance 09/20/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 22, 2008 2:21pm]

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