During her tenure as the CEO of computer maker Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina, who just announced she’s running for president, laid off 30,000 workers.
To use this fact against her, an unknown group has created a website at CarlyFiorina.org—a domain the candidate failed to obtain before announcing her run—that shows a seemingly endless scroll of 30,000 frowny-faces. Here's about 1/10th of them:
“That's 30,000 people she laid off. People with families,” the page says at the end.
It’s a sign that Fiorina is likely to face the same problems as Mitt Romney, whose talk of his business experience in the 2012 race was met with criticisms of how many workers lost their jobs as a result of his business moves.
Fiorina was the head of HP from 1999 to 2005, a period in which she engineered a merger with rival Compaq that led to redundancies in the workforce. Ultimately, HP’s board of directors forced her to resign.
She has responded to the layoff criticisms by saying they showed she can make tough decisions.
"HP requires executive decision-making and the presidency is all about executive decision-making," Fiorina has said according to CNN.
During her failed 2010 Senate run, her campaign materials noted she “made tough decisions to reform the company that were criticized at the time,” but that since then “HP and its shareholders are now reaping the rewards," the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Romney made remarks in a similar vein in 2007.
“Sometimes the medicine is a little bitter,” he said, “but it is necessary to save the life of the patient.”
Blue-collar workers who lost jobs while Romney headed Bain Capital, a private equity firm, blasted the 2012 presidential candidate.
"I figure it's time to stand up to people like Mitt Romney and say enough is enough,” Bonnie Borman, a line worker with 23 years at a plant who earned $15 an hour but who faced losing her job, told The Huffington Post at the time. “We can't keep shipping our jobs overseas or keeping the minimum wage down so that people can't survive. I feel like they're taking retirement totally away from us, making it impossible."
When Fiorina was confronted about the layoffs in 2010 by Fox News, she took a different tack, saying lost jobs were the result of government policies.
“It is true that jobs are being taken out of California. By the way, China fights harder for our jobs than we do,” she said. “Texas fights for our jobs. Nevada fights for our jobs. North Carolina fights for our jobs. We have to start fighting for our jobs in this nation and in our state."
Lowering taxes and giving out corporate tax breaks would mean fewer lost jobs, she said.
“It means something really basic, like let's give a tax break to bring manufacturing home… The truth is in California you can't build a new manufacturing facility, and businesses are leaving in droves because of bad government policy.”
Given how well this worked for Romney, Fiorina may need to think of another response entirely.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.