The Underestimated Carly Fiorina
Because of the numerous Republican candidates, Fox News separated the primary runners into two different groups, otherwise known as the A team and the B team. These teams are due to the Fox News polls, and they placed each candidate in a team accordingly. Because there is so much hype about this first debate, and because there are the most candidates running for the GOP ticket than ever before in modern history, Fox News decided to give the 5pm space to the seven runners who did not make the cut.
To give some context, Fiorina is clear that she believes that as a woman, she is the only person who has a shot at beating Hillary Clinton. Even though she is a woman, you still see very little support for her, not even excitement. While she is moderately covered by he media and makes appearances at all the important events, it is always when she speaks that she knocks the ball out of the park, and people remember why her fan base believes she is a force to be reckoned with. Fiorina first captured hearts at CPAC last spring, and has continued to show her worth on the campaign trail.
At 5pm today, seven nervous candidates stood behind a podium in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. To amplify the pressure, this same location will hold the RNC, which will officially announce the GOP’s candidate. In what seemed to be a very empty audience, the candidates had around a minute to respond to some pretty negative questions like the first question to Perry where Bill Hemmer stated, “You were in charge on the 12th largest economy in the world, and you recently said that four years ago, you weren’t ready for this job. Why should somebody vote for you now?” Questions like this are meant to catch the candidate off guard, and it is apparent when each start to speak that they are a little taken aback. All, except for Carly Fiorina.
Fiorina’s question could not have been more of a punch in the stomach. MacCallum read out loud how Fiorina ran for the Senate in Califorina and lost, and then brought up how she compared herself this week to Margaret Thatcher. MaCallum asked Fiorina if she thought this comparison was a stretch since she is doing so badly in the polls. Basically MacCallum thinks that it was a stretch, and that Fiorina is no where near able to compare herself to the Iron Lady.
Well, Fiorina did not look phased one bit. She responded quickly and confidently that at this point, polls mean nothing. Fiorina said, “Well, I would begin by reminding people that at this point in previous presidential elections, Jimmy Carter couldn’t win, Ronald Reagan couldn’t win, Bill Clinton Couldn’t win, and neither could’ve Barack Obama. She continues that she knows more world leaders than any other candidate running besides Hillary Clinton, and that she also understands how an economy works. More importantly, she understands technology which she said “is a tool, but it’s also a weapon that’s being used against us.”
The importance of this response and the rest of Fiorina’s debate is that she appears to not get flustered under pressure, and to respond with conviction. She took a low ball question and instead teed it up to present herself as the only candidate who has the same connections as Hillary Clinton. While under enormous pressure, keeping your cool is crucial while working in public office.
The second question Fiorina was asked is if Donald Trump, who is the frontrunner in the polls, is getting the better of her. Again, Fiorina did not even look phased by this, and instead brought up how Trump donated to the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign. She then said, “I think he’s tapped into an anger that people feel. They’re sick of politics as usual. You know, whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hoped would resolved, the political class fails you. That’s just a fact, and that’s what Donald Trump taps into.” Fiorina clearly addresses the real reason Trump is winning in the polls, but then asks why he has flipped on so many social issues, and wonders how he will govern because of this. Again, Fiorina was given the chance to get fired up or become defensive, and instead she calmly pointed out the reason people like Donald Trump, but then the qualities that would make him a bad presidential candidate, which are his unclear political views and his past alignment with Democrats.
The debate gave each candidate the chance to really capture the audience, and Carly Fiorina showed herself to be the most presidential, the most composed, and the most comfortable on stage. She had clear answers, she responded with sharp points, and there is no question where she stands on issues such as the economy or foreign policy (she calls Netanyahu her friend). Fox News held this debate to give the underdogs a chance to turn their poll numbers around, and Fiorina did just that. If she cannot make it to be the GOP nominee, there is a very good chance she will be considered for the VP. Otherwise, we might definitely see her again in four years. Fiorina proved today that she is a force to be reckoned with, and can easily hold her own on a stage of politicians.