Rhetoric v. Reality: DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz

By Christy Paavola, CARLY for America Research Director

RHETORIC: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “…a woman who nearly drove a FORTUNE 500 into the ground…”

REALITY: This is a patently false statement by Wasserman Schultz.  While Carly was CEO of HP, she doubled revenues, tripled innovations and more than quadrupled cash flow.  In 2004, HP was the 11th largest company in the country.  That doesn’t translate to driving the company “into the ground” no matter how you look at it.

RHETORIC: Wasserman Schultz: “…fired 30,000 people when she was CEO…”

REALITY: Carly has admitted that she led HP through the dot com bust and had to make the tough choices needed to save the company during a very tough economic time – a fact that Wasserman Shultz failed to mention. She also failed to mention that the economy in America as a whole was suffering.  In 2001, the US lost 1.7 million jobs. But with Carly’s forward thinking, HP weathered the recession and emerged a stronger company.

RHETORIC: Wasserman Schultz: “…stock dropped by 50% when she was head of the company…”

REALITY: Because of the dot com bust and the following recession, it was a bad time for tech stock across the board, including HP.  But what Wasserman Schultz leaves out of her statement is that HP’s stock correlated closely with the tech-heavy NASDAQ that took 15 years to recover from its dot com highs in March 2000.  In other words, yes the stock fell, but so did tech stocks across the board. It was the economy and had nothing to do with Carly’s leadership.

RHETORIC: Wasserman Schultz: “…and then [the stock] recovered after she was fired by ten percent…”

REALITY: Stock prices are in no way an accurate barometer of the success or failure of a company’s CEO.  The prices are manipulated by Wall Street and day traders who have no idea about the day-to-day operation of a company.  Any manipulation of the price surrounding Carly’s departure from HP says more about the shortsightedness of day trading than it does about the long-term success of a company.  And the fact that Wasserman Shultz, a career politician, doesn’t know that only proves she’s clueless when it comes to the reality of our economy.

RHETORIC: Wasserman Schultz: “She was fired…”

REALITY: Yes, Carly was fired in a boardroom brawl – a fact she has not shied away from.  But she was fired by a dysfunctional board that was later investigated by the Department of Justice and the United States Congress for potential criminal activities.  And the board fired her because she challenged the status quo.  And when you stand up for what you believe is right, you often make enemies. Wasserman Shultz is attempting to claim that being fired means Carly was unsuccessful.  However, her success at HP is undeniable.  Also, I think that Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and Mark Cuban might disagree with Wasserman Shultz’s claim: all have been fired at some time or another.