Washington (CNN)Carly Fiorina says she was fired from Hewlett-Packard because she "challenged the status quo" -- putting her in the company, she said, of Oprah, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Michael Bloomberg.
Carly Fiorina: Oprah, Steve Jobs got fired too
The Republican presidential contender's comments came as CNN's Jake Tapper pressed her about being fired from the company in early 2005 amid concerns about missed revenue expectations and tumbling stock prices.
"I was fired in a boardroom brawl. And you know why?" Fiorina said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "Because I challenged the status quo. It is what leaders must do. And when you challenge the status quo, when you lead, you make enemies. It's why so few people lead."
Her comment is an effort to insulate Fiorina from an issue that proved problematic in her California Senate race against Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer in 2010.
Fiorina's strong performance in Fox News' 5 p.m. Thursday debate -- held for the candidates who aren't polling in the top 10 and didn't make the cut for the later prime-time event -- was lauded. Her challenge is now turning that strong performance into a bump in fundraising and in the polls.