Fiorina took the helm at HP at a challenging time for the tech giant. The tech bubble burst in 1999 and the company was ill-prepared for the fallout. In 2002, under Fiorina's leadership, HP merged with rival Compaq, a deal Fiorina has defended but one that has been criticized within the industry. During her six years as head of the company (she was ousted in 2005), HP laid off 30,000 employees.
On the stump now, Fiorina attempts to recast her fall from grace as an asset. "I was fired in a boardroom brawl," she often repeats in speeches and interviews, noting she "challenged the status quo." In 2005, Fiorina released her memoir Tough Choices, telling the story of her life and successful business career and how it's been argued some of HP's subsequent success is from decisions she implemented before she was fired.
Fiorina's book tour and subsequent interviews, however, offer what could be her greatest weakness -- videos and interviews of her talking candidly about her business career that stripped from context and woven into thirty second narratives could cast her record in a negative light.
This reporter for example, when researching Fiorina several months ago came across a video of Fiorina rather bluntly discussing her tenure at HP in an hour-long interview with a PBS-affiliate in 2008.
I noted this time period would be opposition researchers dream. Fiorina, without expressed political ambitions and before Mitt Romney's business record in private equity record turned Romney into a modern day robber baron, discussing massive layoffs at HP.
"When you're talking about massive layoffs, which we did on my watch, you're talking about a recognition that perhaps the work that's getting done no longer needs to be done at all or perhaps the work needs to be done somewhere else," Fiorina said.
"I presided over the departure of over 20,000 people," Fiorina noted earlier.
Here's that video:
The exchange was used in an attack by Barbara Boxer against Fiorina when she ran for the Senate in 2010. Here's how that clip played out on television:
The ad, labeled "mostly true" by the fact-checking site Politifact at the time, superimposed Fiorina's tenure at HP with her personal financial decisions and her salary.
The potential problem for Fiorina, though, is there are more videos like it.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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