Election Issues

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Bill Haber/AP
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Campaign Profiles: Key Speakers at the Republican National Convention: Wednesday

September 03, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
As the Republicans turn their attention to their party’s keynote speaker, Rudy Giuliani, and to vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, a number of other speakers will also present the GOP agenda at Wednesday’s convention in St. Paul. They include Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Meg Whitman

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Margaret Cushing Whitman’s financial acumen has made her one of the country’s wealthiest women and a prominent voice on the state of technology and commerce.

Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Whitman attended Princeton before earning an MBA from Harvard. Entering the world of business at Procter and Gamble, Whitman quickly moved through the ranks of several major U.S. companies, including FTD, Disney and Stride Rite, before finding herself a pivotal member of a small 30-person start-up called eBay.

Named head of the online auction company in 1998, Whitman led eBay to become an $8 billion, 35-country, 15,000-person operation over the following ten years. She resigned from the company earlier this year.

Asked to name the three people he admired most by Pastor Rick Warren, John McCain chose Whitman as one of them, praising her wisdom, business sense and leadership.
A one-time supporter of Mitt Romney, Whitman joined McCain’s campaign as a national co-chair and resident advocate of the role of technology in business. Whitman said she was drawn to McCain’s efforts to avoid taxing the Internet.

Whitman was once a rumored candidate for McCain’s VP spot; some speculate that she may run for California governor in 2010.

Whitman is married to neurosurgeon Griffith Harsh IV and has two children.

Carly Fiorina

In 1998, Fortune magazine named Carly Fiorina the most powerful woman in American business.

Recruited by the John McCain campaign to act as the Victory 08 Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Fiorina has become the Republican nominee’s leading advocate and voice.

The daughter of a law professor, Fiorina was born in Austin, Texas, in 1954, and seemed bound for a legal career after earning an undergraduate degree at Stanford. But after a year at the UCLA school of law, Fiorina decided her father’s profession was not for her.

She earned an MBA in marketing from the University of Maryland College Park, and was then hired as a management trainee by AT&T, where she eventually rose to the level of Senior Vice President.
She left the company to head up Lucent technologies, and was then brought on board as CEO at Hewlett-Packard. She helmed the merger with HP’s archrival Compaq, a controversial move that led HP’s board to ask her to resign in 2005.

Since then, Fiorina has written a book about the challenges she faced in the world of business and has hinted at a broader public service role.

Also initially rumored to be a potential vice-presidential pick, Fiorina is one of McCain’s leading supporters and fundraisers.

Fiorina is married to AT&T executive Frank Fiorina, with whom she has raised two stepchildren.

Bobby Jindal

Emerging victorious from last year’s Louisiana gubernatorial race, Bobby Jindal set a number of firsts. Born Piyush Jindal in Baton Rouge in 1971, the new governor was the nation’s first Indian-American state leader, the country’s youngest in history and the first nonwhite governor since Reconstruction.

At 37, Jindal is hardly the typical Southern Republican politician, but for many, he could represent the future of the GOP.
The son of an Indian couple who had traveled to the United States to attend graduate school in Baton Rouge, Jindal adopted the name Bobby at age four, after the “Brady Bunch” character. After attending Brown University, he studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

Jindal was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals at the precocious age of 24. In 2001, George W. Bush tapped him to fill the position of Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Resigning from that position two years later, Jindal turned to state politics with an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2003. He then directed his attention towards the state’s U.S. House seat, winning a seat in Congress in 2004 and again in 2006, with 88 percent of the vote.

Jindal converted from his family’s Hindu faith to Catholicism when he was young. He is married to Supriya Jolly and they have three children.
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