Via Red State, I find disturbing audio of California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, speaking in glowing terms about Jesse Jackson, who she did work with while at Hewlett Packard. Here’s what she had to say:
“And I thought about something that the Reverend Jesse Jackson said to me several years ago. He very graciously came to the offices of Hewlett Packard to visit me, because we were doing some work together for his Rainbow Coalition. And he said to me, ‘You know, Carly, every game is better when everybody gets to play.’ And I thought it was such a great way of describing why everything is better when all people, regardless of color or nationality or gender, get to play. Sports are better. Business is better. Politics are better. The world is better when everybody gets to play in things that matter.”
This is problematic on several levels. Jackson is a shakedown artist who trumps up charges of racism and then rakes in millions of dollars from corporations who pay him to immunize themselves from such charges. The idea that a well-known Jew hater and racist like Jesse Jackson, who has long ties to Louis Farrakhan, would have any standing as an arbiter of racial tolerance reflects poorly on our society. To be absolutely clear, I’m not suggesting that these remarks make Fiorina herself an anti-semite. But I do think the only way to handle the likes of Jackson is to ostracize them from polite society so that they can no longer make a handsome living by engaging in racial incitement. The fact that Fiorina, as CEO, felt the need to play the game with Jackson is troubling enough. But it’s still worse that she would boast about it years later, refer to him visiting her “very graciously,” and then quote him in a way that perpetuates the myth of him as a judge of inclusiveness.
Asked to respond, the Fiorina campaign passed along the following statement, from Julie Soderlund, deputy campaign manager for communications:
“It goes without saying that as a mainstream conservative, unlike Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina strongly disagrees with Jesse Jackson’s political agenda. Her remarks Wednesday were focused on the importance of women recognizing and seizing opportunities to serve in public office where they have an interest in so doing, something we’d hope her opponents would seek to encourage rather than attack. It also isn’t surprising that Carly’s career politician opponents would take issue with the suggestion that they should be replaced with people who have real world experience because are continually failing to represent the interests of the people of this state and country – a fact their dismal approval ratings clearly confirm.”
UPDATE: The Chuck DeVore campaign just passed along some more speeches Fiorina gave praising Jesse Jackson during her days as CEO at HP.
In a 2003 speech, Fiorina said, “in the past 40 years, there are very few people who have used their talent along lines of excellence to achieve more things for more people in more places than Reverend Jackson. And we are all better off for his leadership.”
In the same speech, she recalls when Jackson called her on the phone to offer her encouragement, and to pray with her. She recounted: “I hung up the phone and said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve just been praying with the Reverend Jackson.’”
And in yet another speech in 2000, Fiorina praised Jackson’s “passion” and “his courageous message and his wonderful convictions…”
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