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Petraeus, HP and Planned Parenthood: Carly Fiorina Just Can't Stop Lying

Carly fibbed again on Tuesday night.

Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty

Virtually every politician on the campaign trail tells some lies, though Republican candidates tend to stretch and fabricate the truth more often than Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton or Martin O’Malley.

Angie Drobnic Holan, editor of PolitiFact, recently wrote in the New York Times that three-quarters of the Donald Trump statements her group has fact-checked are “Mostly False, False or ‘Pants on Fire.’” The numbers Holan provides reveal that 84 percent and 66 percent of the statements PolitiFact has vetted from Ben Carson and Ted Cruz respectively are at least mostly false.

According to PolitiFact, Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and middle-of-the-pack Republican contender Carly Fiorina is also a middle-of-the-pack liar by quantity, clocking in at 50 percent. But what Fiorina might lack in volume, she more than makes up for with the boldness of her claims.

At the Tuesday presidential debate, for example, Fiorina claimed that former CIA chief David Petraeus resigned because of a fight with Obama (it was because he was sleeping with someone who wasn’t his wife) and that President Obama hasn’t asked tech companies to cooperate with national security agencies (the Obama administration has, repeatedly).

Whether it’s for political expediency or because the candidate is herself ignorant of the truth, Fiorina just can’t stop lying. Here are some of her biggest fibs:

  • David Petraeus resigned because he said stuff that “Obama didn’t want to hear”: Retired General David Petraeus resigned from running the CIA because he was conducting an extramarital affair. In a limited sense, Fiorina’s statement is true; the President probably did not want to hear that David Petraeus was having an affair.
  • Planned Parenthood tried to harvest the brain and limbs of a fetus: The infamous 12 hours of footage caught by the Center for Medical Progress, an incredibly sketchy anti-abortion advocacy group, gave Fiorina a bunch of material to talk about back in September, when she got her initial bump in the polls after impressing some Republican voters in the first undercard debate. The thing is, the gruesome details Fiorina described — “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain” — were totally invented. Sarah Kliff at our sister site knows this, because she actually watched all of the CMP’s film.
  • At HP, Fiorina “doubled revenues; more than quadrupled its growth rate; tripled the rate of innovation”: This is a lie by omission. HP’s revenue grew under Fiorina because she oversaw a bad merger with PC maker Compaq. Ex-“car czar” Steven Rattner and Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld convincingly argue that Fiorina’s HP-Compaq merger saddled the company with a sprawling, declining hardware business as all of its competitors moved into software and services. By the time Fiorina left HP, the company had lost more than half its market value.*
  • Tech companies “have not been asked” by President Obama to help fight terror: President Obama has asked, Silicon Valley just isn’t interested in complying.
  • “Ninety-two percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women”: From Mother Jones: “In the run-up to the 2012 election when Romney first used the statistic, five million jobs were lost since the start of the recession, of which 1.8 million were held by women. But many of the job losses by men occurred before Obama came to office, while women were in the middle of their heaviest job losses after he was sworn in.”
  • “The vast majority of refugees leaving Syria are able-bodied young men”: What’s worse than a foreigner taking your job? An Arab foreigner masquerading as a “refugee”! Data from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees shows that this dogwhistle isn’t remotely true; the refugees are split about evenly by gender.

The Fiorina campaign did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

* Fiorina’s most ardent defender of her HP stint is retired venture capitalist Tom Perkins. She quotes the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers co-founder on her website. You might remember Perkins because he compared criticism of billionaires to Kristallnacht and the Holocaust in the Wall Street Journal.

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