Rivals say because she's never held political office and has only been in the business world, she's unqualified. Similar critiques have been leveled at former eBay chief Meg Whitman (R-CA), who is running for governor.
In her comments to The Bee, Fiorina added:
And in fact, the media has described California as bankrupt for months. So I find it interesting that the Democrats are saying legally, it's not possible. Legally, it's not possible. But the reality of where we are ought to be focusing people's minds on what needs to be done.
Republican candidate Chuck DeVore went on the attack, with a spokesman telling the Los Angeles Times the comments are an example of Fiorina's "unreadiness" to serve in elected office.
California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said the candidate's remarks "display her ignorance of California and the issues our state faces [and] also sends a message to voters that she's giving up on the people of California."
The Republicans are competing to win the June primary nomination to challenge Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Late Update: Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund sends in her response:
It is unfortunate that Carly's political opponents are trying to distort her comments about something as serious and consequential as California's dire financial situation. Carly knows that that legally declaring bankruptcy isn't an option for the state of California like it is for local governments. Her point is that the concept of the state not being able to pay its bills and meet its obligations - and the fact that people are using the word 'bankrupt' to describe California's financial situation - should focus the mind on just how bad the state's financial situation really is.