Fiorina Spins a New Lie, and Her Issues With Truth Look Compulsive

MYRTLE BEACH, SC - SEPTEMBER 22: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks to voters during a town hall meeting
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - SEPTEMBER 22: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks to voters during a town hall meeting at the Ocean Reef Convention Center September 22, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Fiorina is a former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard and currently chairs the non-profit philanthropic organization Good360. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Late last week and over the weekend, Carly Fiorina was caught telling the same lie to FOX News' Sean Hannity, and Chris Wallace. On their shows, Fiorina maintained that even though Hewlett Packard goods were sold in Iran while she was CEO of the company, the SEC had performed a "thorough investigation" that "proved" she and other executives were cleared of having any knowledge of the matter.

Except, as I wrote on this site, that isn't at all true. FactCheck.org decided to look into the matter, and ruled that Fiorina was not telling the truth. In fact, FactCheck asked Fiorina's campaign for any SEC documents that cleared her of any knowledge of HP's Iran dealings, and the campaign couldn't provide a single one.

Now, Fiorina has been caught telling a lie, about the very same matter, again. This time it was on Iowa radio.

In an interview, host Simon Conway asked how Fiorina could claim that she didn't know about HP's deals with Iran, when the company named Redington Gulf, a Dubai-based company that sold HP's goods in Iran, HP's "Wholesaler of the Year."

"That was after my time. So I actually am not aware of that. I mean, apparently they were named that, but I don't know that. You know, it was after my time there. I can't speak to that," Fiorina said.

Interesting. First, Redington Gulf was named Wholesaler of the Year for HP in 2003, when Carly Fiorina was very much the CEO.

Second, this is a totally different answer than the one she delivered a week ago, to Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: At the time, that company that was making the sales to Iran -- and you were the CEO of HP at the time -- was named the wholesaler, HP's Wholesaler of the Year.

So, how can it be that they were doing all this business with Iran, you were calling it the -- HP was calling it the Wholesaler of the Year and you didn't know what was going on?

FIORINA: The Wholesaler of the Year that you're describing was doing business with another company that was doing business with Iran. Clearly, that Wholesaler of the Year, which should not have been the Wholesaler of the Year, was not honest in their dealings with us and they were not honest in their dealings with this third company.

How does one go from knowing all about Redington Gulf being named Wholesaler of the Year, and lecturing Chris Wallace about it, to not knowing, for sure, if Redington was really named Wholesaler of the Year, and generally playing ignorant, just a few days later?

The answer is, of course, one does not unless they have a problem with telling the truth.

This fits a pattern that is growing, of Carly Fiorina embellishing facts until they're not true anymore, and now, changing stories between interviews, to give herself an air of innocence. And, she does it even after getting caught in a lie on a particular subject (Iran), knowing full well that she'll likely be caught again.

This raises a serious question - is Carly Fiorina a compulsive liar?

Compulsive lying is a symptom of a larger disorder, according to psychologists, in which a person tells lies without a feeling of guilt, often to make themselves look better. One characteristic of a compulsive liar is that, "The stories told are not entirely improbable and often have some element of truth. They are not a manifestation of delusion or some broader type of psychosis."

Indeed, Fiorina often does take some element of truth, and embellishes it, or adds falsities on to it.

  • It isn't just that the SEC chose not to prosecute HP (true), now it is telling Chris Wallace and Hannity that the SEC "thoroughly investigated" HP (false) and specifically cleared her (false).
  • It isn't just that she really had nothing to do with naming Redington Gulf "Wholesaler of the Year," (probably true) it's that she wasn't even CEO at the time (false) and doesn't really even know about the issue much at all (false).
  • It isn't just that she worked hard and rose up to become CEO of HP (true), it's that she came from humble beginnings and rose from "Secretary to CEO" (a gross mischaracterization, at best).
  • And it isn't just that she saw disturbing videos of Planned Parenthood (true), it's that she saw videos that had a kicking fetus with a beating heart and people saying to keep it alive to harvest its brain (insanely false).

Sure, all politicians engage in puffery, Democrats and Republicans. Heck, Al Gore still can't get out from under his comments about the creation of the Internet. But there are two differences, here.

First, Fiorina presents herself as a non-politician, a simple citizen outside of the "political class," even though she was a top advisor to John McCain, was Fundraising Chair for the RNC, and ran for Senate in California, just five years ago.

Second, in such a short period of time, Fiorina has told a string of embellishments and lies, with such apparent ease, that it is beginning to demonstrate a real pattern.

The question now is, at what point will the media hold her accountable for it?