Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign is largely predicated on her experience as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, so it’s not surprising that some of her surrogates are fighting back against accusations that Fiorina’s tenure at HP was unsuccessful. But it’s who is being used as a surrogate that is raising eyebrows.
Carly for America, a super PAC backing Fiorina’s candidacy, this morning took out a full-page New York Times ad, featuring a letter written by former Hewlett-Packard board member Tom Perkins. If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because last year he wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal that compared the progressive movement’s “demonization” of America’s wealthiest individuals to Nazi Germany’s war on Jews. He would follow that up with an appearance on Bloomberg TV, in which he defending his letter’s message and, for some reason, mentioned how he could buy a “six-pack of Rolexes” for the price of his watch.”
Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which Perkins co-founded in 1972, disavowed his comments. In response, Perkins said the firm might as well remove his name from the door.
Does Fiorina really want to be represented by Tom Perkins? Particularly when she’s made efforts to appeal to the middle class, and derided some of Donald Trump’s “inappropriate and offensive” comments?
And none of this even begins to address the broader irony of Perkins and Fiorina standing hand-in-hand, after he voted to fire her from HP and she took him to task in her subsequent memoir. Perkins says in today’s letter that his vote was “a mistake,” and that the company’s problems were more reflective of a dysfunctional board than Fiorina’s leadership. Or, put another way, you should now listen to Tom Perkins’s advice, even though he’s simultaneously claiming to have helped lead a dysfunctional board of directors.
It’s also worth noting that Perkins signs today’s letter as “the founder” of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Just him and him alone. That would probably come as a shock to the late Eugene Kleiner, not to mention Frank Caufield and Brook Byers…