Wendell Goler aired a clip of Carly Fiorina criticizing President Obama, but identified her only as a "[f]ormer Hewlett-Packard CEO." Goler did not note that she was a senior economic adviser for John McCain's presidential campaign.
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On the March 30 edition of Fox News' Special Report, during a report on former General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner's resignation, White House correspondent Wendell Goler aired a clip of Carly Fiorina -- whom he identified only as a "[f]ormer Hewlett-Packard CEO" -- criticizing President Obama. Goler did not note that Fiorina was also a senior economic adviser for Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. According to her website, Fiorina "was named as John McCain's Victory '08 Chairman for the Republican National Committee. The focus of this role was to be the primary advocate for Senator John McCain's Presidential candidacy and for the Republican Party in its many facets." Fiorina is also reportedly considering running against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA) in 2010.
During the segment, Goler stated that Fiorina "says Wagoner and the GM board should have quit after accepting the government bailout," then aired a clip of her asserting: "They were acknowledging their failure in their primary accountability, which was to make the tough choices necessary to keep their company viable. They failed to do that. On the other hand, I very much worry about a president firing a chief executive." Goler later reported, "Publicly, they [the Obama administration] say his sacking was not unprecedented." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, Obama did not "fir[e]" or "sack" Wagoner, but made his resignation a condition of the federal government's extension of further aid to GM. Indeed, as Fiorina herself noted during the segment, she has advocated resignations by executives in companies receiving federal aid. In a December 12, 2008, Wall Street Journal op-ed, Fiorina wrote: "[W]hen CEOs go to Washington and ask for taxpayer money, they should also be prepared to submit their resignations and those of their boards. To earn a bailout, a CEO and board should be held accountable for the decisions they've made -- or perhaps the actions they've failed to take."
From the March 30 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
OBAMA: Morning everybody.
GOLER: Flanked by his senior economic advisers, President Obama said neither GM nor Chrysler had satisfied the terms of their $17 billion government bailout by coming up with a plan to return to profitability. But he decided to give them one more chance to keep the worst from happening.
OBAMA: We cannot and must not -- and we will not -- let our auto industry simply vanish.
GOLER: Aides say calling in the loans under the terms set by the Bush administration would force both GM and Chrysler into involuntary bankruptcy, since neither can afford to repay them. Mr. Obama didn't rule out bankruptcy, but he said if it's necessary, it should be a controlled process where workers stay on the job.
OBAMA: What I'm not talking about is a process where a company is simply broken up, sold off, and no longer exists.
GOLER: Still, officials decided Chrysler can't make it on its own. The company was given 30 days to find a buyer, and late in the day, announced a tentative deal with Fiat to produce cars in this country with a less-than-majority stake for the Italian automaker until U.S. government loan money is paid back.
GM, with more popular cars and more global resources, was given two months to come up with a new profitability plan. But CEO Rick Wagoner was sacked. The president says GM needs a new start. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina says Wagoner and the GM board should have quit after accepting the government bailout.
FIORINA: They were acknowledging their failure in their primary accountability, which was to make the tough choices necessary to keep their company viable. They failed to do that. On the other hand, I very much worry about a president firing a chief executive.
GOLER: Privately, administration officials say Wagoner stuck with the trucks and SUVs that were GM's bread and butter long after he should have focused on lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Publicly, they say his sacking was not unprecedented.
GIBBS: There have been management and board of directors changes in the past.
GOLER: At Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were almost government entities from the start, and at AIG, which the government basically took over in order to efficiently dismantle. But plans call for GM to remain a privately held company.