|Carly Fiorina was ready to rumble.|
(AFP Photo/Frederic J. Brown)
SIMI VALLEY, Calif.—Carly Fiorina, who was stuck at the kids’ table during the first debate, has emerged as the undisputed victor of the second.
She’s a non-politician and a fighter in a moment when those qualities are in high demand by the Republican base. She’s the only woman running at a time when Democrats are likely to nominate Hillary Clinton. And her memorable zingers here last night impressed not just activists but conservative thought leaders and elites across the mainstream media.
Fiorina showed she can bloody Trump, and her back-and-forth with him may soon be seen as a tipping point. She succeeded at making him uncomfortable. That is something that Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and others have tried but failed to do.
Asked about Trump mocking her looks in an interview with Rolling Stone, Fiorina deadpanned: “Women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.” The line resonated. “It clearly was a harpoon and it stuck,” Hugh Hewitt said after the debate.
She also gave the crowd chills when she talked about losing her stepdaughter to drugs.
A host of female conservative pundits were especially enamored. “Trump finally met his match,” wrote “Right Turn” blogger Jennifer Rubin. “In a smashing performance that will earn her poll points, campaign donations and praise from Republicans, she went after Trump with surgical precision.” Katie Pavlich of TownHall.com, a frequent Fox talking head, said Fiorina “landed a number of punches on Trump and is the only candidate so far in the race who has been able to successfully do so.”