Carly Fiorina has earned a spot on the prime-time segment of the next Republican presidential debate, to be hosted by CNN at 8:00 p.m. next Wednesday.
The top -ier debate will feature 11 top-ranking Republican hopefuls, based on polls taken over the past two months. The other ten candidates in the main debate will be the frontrunner Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
Mrs. Fiorina made the main debate after CNN loosened the criteria to allow persons who made the Top 10 poll averages in either of two periods — all qualified polls since July, and a subset of those polls taken since the Cleveland debate.
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO was in the Top 10 in the latter sample, but not the former.
None of the other six candidates who participated in Fox News “pre-debate” — widely dismissed as the “kiddie table” — was able to secure a spot in prime-time this time around.
Participating in the pre-debating, which starts at 6 p.m. will be Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Louisiana Gov.Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the debate unless CNN donates ad revenues to a veterans group.
But should he decide to stay in the debate, Fiorina and Trump on the same stage just one week after Trump churlishly criticised her appearance could get interesting.
As U.S. News’ Jean Card noted, the unflappable Fiorina handled Trump’s boorishness with aplomb.
In response to the billionaire’s sophomoric insults — “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” — Carly simply stated, “I think those comments speak for themselves.”
After her pivot – a move Fiorina uses so effortlessly and so regularly that it is recognized by some observers as the best in politics right now – she spiked the ball with this: “But maybe, just maybe, I’m getting under his skin a little bit, because I am rising in the polls.”
As the words left her mouth, any observer must have known their truth on a gut level. Of course Trump feels the need to criticize Fiorina in a base, childish way. That’s what bullies do when they feel threatened. Especially by a girl. In just a few seconds, we end the Trump-Fiorina insult contest with a clear score. Fiorina: 1. Trump: 0.
Carly Fiorina by most counts won the Fox News debate she participated in last month hands down. All of the top-tier candidates will have their work cut out for them if they want to outshine the elegant and articulate Fiorina — especially Trump if he decides to go with the unserious bluster we’ve become accustomed to, rather than logical, reasonable arguments.