In the heat of the 2008 presidential race, Carly Fiorina made a splash when she opined that neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin — both fellow Republicans — or their Democratic rivals could run a major corporation.
On Tuesday, it was the Arizona senator's turn to speak about Fiorina's qualifications. It worked out much better for her.
McCain called Fiorina, who served as a top economic adviser to him during his presidential bid, inspiring and a great American success story.
"I think she is eminently qualified to serve in the United States Senate," he said, citing her experience running a major business.
Fiorina, the former chief executive at Hewlett-Packard, played a much less visible role to McCain after her comment about his CEO credentials.
McCain avoided similar awkwardness, saying Fiorina's business acumen is just what America needs. She is running in the Republican primary for the right to challenge incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer.
McCain made note of Fiorina's occasional abruptness, saying she would shake up Washington.
"Carly will not be voted Miss Congeniality," he said, speaking at an employee town hall held at Affinity Medical Technologies in Irvine.
McCain, who lost in California by 24 percentage points, is facing a tough re-election battle of his own back in Arizona.
He's among about a dozen senators who donated to her campaign early-on through their political action committees. Other backers include most of the GOP leadership in the Senate, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
The individual donations came as the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it would be neutral in the race, which also features former Congressman Tom Campbell and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.
DeVore spokesman Joshua Trevino said the visit demonstrates a tone deafness to the lack of nostalgia for the McCain presidential campaign among California Republicans. Given what happened with Fiorina's CEO comment, Trevino said "McCain's act today was a deeply charitable one."
Freking reported from Washington D.C.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.