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Trump vs. Fiorina: Who Knows Putin Best?


Donald Trump implied he had met Russian President Vladimir Putin in the course of taping an episode of CBS’ “60 Minutes” in which they were both interviewed — but the two men were interviewed separately, in different countries.

“I got to know him very well because we were both on ’60 Minutes,’ we were stablemates, and we did very well that night,” Trump said during the Republican debate hosted by Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 10.

The two did appear on the same “60 Minutes” episode, which aired on Sept. 27. But journalist Charlie Rose traveled to Moscow for the two-hour interview with Putin, and Trump was interviewed by Scott Pelley in Trump’s Fifth Avenue penthouse in Manhattan.

Earlier in the month, Trump adviser Michael Cohen said there was a “better than likely chance” that Trump would meet with Putin at the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Sept. 27. But we couldn’t find any press reports that suggested that such a meeting ever took place.

In his interview with Putin, Rose said that Trump “said he would like to meet you because he thinks the two of you would get along.” Putin responded, “Yes, I heard that. I heard that. Well, we’ll be glad to have any contact with the next president of the United States, any person who gains the trust of the American people can count on the fact that we will work with him.”

In any case, the two were not “stablemates” for their “60 Minutes” interviews.

Later in the Republican debate, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said that if elected president, she would not talk to Putin — at least not “right now” — and she took a jab at Trump’s claim about knowing Putin, saying, “I have met him as well, not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting.”

Fiorina and Putin met before the two spoke at the APEC CEO Summit in China in 2001. According to the Daily Beast, the two met for 45 minutes.

Fiorina referenced Putin at the beginning of her speech that day.

Fiorina at the APEC CEO Summit, Oct. 19, 2001: One of the things they teach in business school is that positioning is crucial. How you position yourself in relation to your competitors can mean the difference between success and failure. Applying this principle to today’s program, I keep wondering how it is that I got positioned to speak in the slot before the President of the Russian Federation — on the subject of change, no less.

Hewlett-Packard has been at the center of a lot of change in our 62-year history. But President Putin was elected president in the first democratic transition in Russia in 1,000 years. Talk about giving new meaning to the word “invent.”

So yes, Fiorina met Putin. But her characterization of her encounter as a “private meeting” is a bit of a stretch. “Yes she met him in a green room, but not in a green room before a show. It was before a conference,” Fiorina Press Secretary Anna Epstein told ABC News after the debate.