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Preview of upcoming GOP Senate debate? DeVore ambushes Fiorina on radio

March 3, 2010 |  1:26 pm

Radio listeners received a preview of Friday’s GOP Senate debate Tuesday night when Orange County Assemblyman Chuck DeVore ambushed multimillionaire businesswoman Carly Fiorina on "The Rick Amato Show" on KCBQ in San Diego.

“I enjoyed it. … I know our listeners enjoyed it,” Amato said at the end of the segment, which is available here. “I don’t know if Carly Fiorina did.”

DeVore pressed Fiorina, the former chief of Hewlett-Packard, for details about a subsidiary's printer sales to Iran, which is subject to a trade embargo. The United Arab Emirates-based subsidiary, Redington Gulf, was honored by HP as wholesaler of the year in 2003, under Fiorina’s tenure. When reports of the Iranian sales came to light in 2008, three years after Fiorina was fired, Hewlett-Packard terminated its relations with the subsidiary.

“As you also know and as has been made crystal clear over and over again, Hewlett-Packard has been in complete compliance with every export control law [regarding] Iran and that continues to be the case,” Fiorina said. “I think it will be important going forward Chuck if you would try and stick with the facts because you spend a lot of time misrepresenting me.”

Fiorina has previously said she had no knowledge of illegal sales. The SEC has inquired about the matter, but the company has never been found to have violated the embargo.

It was the second time that DeVore has surprised Fiorina on talk radio. The first occurred on “The John and Ken Show” last month, but DeVore’s time was more limited. On Tuesday’s show, DeVore asked the Iran question and then critiqued Fiorina’s performance afterward.

The 35-minute interview was conducted by Amato and Washington Times political reporter Ralph Hallow. Fiorina’s campaign probably anticipated that it would be tough – Amato is a favorite among "tea party" followers, and one of the articles he penned on his website criticizes Fiorina for not taking questions at a San Diego GOP event, and lavishes praise on DeVore.

Fiorina sounded a bit jolted by DeVore’s appearance, at one point asking, “Hey, do I get to call in the next time you have Chuck DeVore on?”

Immediately after Fiorina left the air, a campaign aide e-mailed Amato: “Nice stunt.”

The sparring is a taste of what’s to come at noon on Friday, when DeVore, Fiorina and former Congressman Tom Campbell meet for their first debate on “The Capitol Hour,” hosted by Eric Hogue on KTKZ-AM 1380 in Sacramento. The hourlong discussion will focus on national security and foreign policy.

-- Seema Mehta

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