Out in California, Fiorina has made hay out of this episode. She’ll tell an audience that, if they elect her, “you may call me ‘ma’am.’ You may call me ‘senator.’ You may call me ‘Carly.’ You may call me, ‘Hey you: Remember, you work for me.’” Her first TV ad of the general election featured a clip of Boxer upbraiding General Walsh. Then Fiorina looked into the camera and promised to “end the arrogance in Washington.”
Born in 1954, she climbed her way up the business ladder, eventually reaching the top rung: CEO of Hewlett-Packard. That was in 1999; she got the boot in 2005. Opinion on her tenure at HP is sharply divided: Her supporters say she made some tough, modernizing decisions, leaving the company new and stronger; her critics say she undermined something long-established and good. In any case, she quickly became a political figure, post-HP. She was an ally of John McCain, and was even a wild card to be his vice-presidential nominee. Another wild card got that nod: Alaska’s governor, Sarah Palin.