DALLAS – Republicans warned Carly Fiorina six years ago that her golden parachute after getting fired from Hewlett Packard, her defense of companies which outsourced American jobs overseas and kind words for Hillary Clinton were political vulnerabilities, according to a detailed document produced by the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Research Department and obtained by WFAA.
“Fiorina said Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly during the  presidential campaign,” the internal GOP report states.
“Women in positions of authority, particularly bold women who are trying to change things, are … caricatured differently, commented upon differently and held to different standards. I watched all of this happen to Hillary Clinton,’” the report continues taking a quote from a Newsweek magazine article in June 2008.
The 24-page document titled “Carly Fiorina Vulnerability Report” was created in 2010 when Fiorina unsuccessfully challenged Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer for her California Senate seat.
The paper was designed to prepare the candidate and the party for critical questions Fiorina could face in that campaign.
Last Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz selected Fiorina as his vice presidential candidate and the same questions still exist.
Both political parties produce detailed files like this about their candidates and their challengers but the Republican report on Fiorina was never widely circulated.
It focuses heavily on Fiorina’s business background, her rocky tenure leading Hewlett Packard, subsequent firing from the computer giant and golden parachute she got while many employees were laid off.
The report said Fiorina would likely be asked: “How do you justify receiving $21.4 million in a severance package, nearly half of which was cash, when HP laid off thousands of workers while you were CEO?”
It went to pose another question for her: “HP failed under your leadership. Why should the voters of California trust you to do a better job in the Senate?”
Fiorina defended companies that outsourced jobs overseas, the NRSC report stated, and quoted Fiorina saying 2008 presidential candidates Sen. John McCain, then-Sen. Barack Obama, and Gov. Sarah Palin could not run a corporation because they had no experience. How could Fiorina then become a politician without experience, it asked.
The document does not list talking points or suggested answers for Fiorina.
“Unless Cruz wins in Indiana I don’t think it’s going to matter,” said Matt Mackowiak, president and founder of Potomac Strategy Group, a Republican consulting firm.
A new NBC News / Marist poll released on Sunday suggest Trump is widening his lead from five points to 15-points in Indiana.
If Cruz and Fiorina can’t stop the New York billionaire there, Trump is likely to be on the trajectory to get the 1,237 delegates needed from remaining contests to win the Republican nomination.
“This is the single, biggest, most important day for our campaign so far,” wrote Ted Cruz in a fundraising email last week. “Carly and I are barnstorming Indiana to capture every last vote – as we fight to win the GOP nomination.”
But Fiorina’s presence on the national scene means she has already been vetted pretty well, Mackowiak explained.
“The good news with Carly is a lot of whatever negatives are out there are known and aren’t shiny new objects,” he added.
Trump appears to be pivoting toward the general election now and it’s uncertain if he’ll even address Fiorina’s vulnerabilities.
“I’m not sure he’s going to go after Carly. The problem he’s got is whatever vulnerabilities she has, he has too,” said Mackowiak.
Trump was friends with the Clintons and both have experienced some bad luck in business.
“If he wants to say ‘my company has succeeded and hers failed’ that may be an argument he can make,” continued Mackowiak.
Cruz’s choice of Fiorina does help Republicans level the playing field against Hillary Clinton but Fiorina has so far not been able to bring her “home state" of California into play.
Trump is at 45% there to Cruz’s 28%, according to Real Clear Politics.
Fiorina appeared in a couple primetime debates but she never was a first-tier candidate in 2016 and Boxer defeated her by almost 10-points in 2010.
Still, Mackowiak said not to underestimate Fiorina. “Carly is as tough as they come,” he explained. “I’m not sure you want to pick a fight with her. I think Trump learned that the hard way at the California debate where she kind of ate his lunch.”