WASHINGTON -- Carly Fiorina on Tuesday defended her rocky tenure at Hewlett-Packard, from which she was ousted as CEO in 2005 after cutting thousands of jobs.
Speaking at a town hall in Oklahoma City, the GOP presidential contender said she was proud of her record and suggested that her critics were distorting the truth.
"Somebody once asked me, 'What's the difference between business and politics?'" Fiorina said at the event, which was hosted by the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. "And here's the difference: Politics is a fact-free zone. People just say things."
"The thing is, business is not a fact-free zone. In fact, business is a fact-filled zone," she continued. "So as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, I had to stand every 90 days and defend our results in excruciating detail. And if I misrepresented those results in any way, I could be held criminally liable. Now, just suppose for a moment that anyone else running for president was held criminally liable for anything they said."
She later added, "When you lead, when you challenge the status quo, you make enemies."
Fiorina's remarks might strike some as incongruous, since she's recently been accused of making things up herself. Fact-checkers have taken her to task for describing a scene in a controversial, undercover video on Planned Parenthood that does not actually exist. Even some conservatives have conceded that Fiorina's critics have a point.
Fiorina and her campaign, however, insist that she made no error. Her refusal to give an inch on the matter may exemplify her current campaign strategy -- deflect criticism by immediately shifting to offense.
She did so once more on Tuesday, attacking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for recently coming out against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
"You're going to hear lots of Democrats criticize my record, Hillary Clinton among them," she said. "Mrs. Clinton has never created a job. She has never saved a job, and her policies destroy jobs, day after day after day, including this decision."