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Fiorina Steals The Show At Primetime Republican Debate

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Fiorina Steals The Show At Primetime Republican Debate


She wasn’t even supposed to be there.

Carly Fiorina tore through her second Republican debate in the 2016 race with one fiercely articulate answer after another.

She exuded a fiery resolve and competency; a capacity for leadership and efficiency that seemed to elevate her above the petty squabbles of partisan rancor and the bluster of reality TV.

Her trajectory has been compared to that of another novice politician from the world of business, Donald Trump. Yet she had managed to emulate the best of the real estate mogul’s tactics with none of his liabilities. She exhibited his impatience for political niceties, but little of his craven nastiness. If she was brusque, she seemed to say, it’s because she had things to do, not people to smear.

As if in counterpoint to the The Donald’s habit of spackling over his ignorance with words like “greatest,” “terrific,” and “Trump,” Fiorina came armed with robust details, reams of hard data, and specific action plans, which she rattled off with confidence and poise. It was like viewing a PowerPoint presentation by flashes of lightning 

Fiorina had edged her way into the top-tier debate after CNN amended its rules to include polls that had come out after her strong showing in the August debate. In addition to Fiorina and Trump, nine other candidates had assembled in the shadow of Ronald Reagan’s Air Force One, docked at the Gipper’s presidential library in Simi Valley, California: the retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Texas senator Ted Cruz, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, Florida senator Marco Rubio, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Ohio governor John Kasich, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and Kentucky senator Rand Paul.

In areas where the candidates were generally agreed, Fiorina was uncommonly forceful and succinct in pronouncing the party line. Iran and Planned Parenthood, she said, were twin issues: The former regarded the defense and security of the nation; the latter, the character of the nation.

She repeated her promise from the August debate — to make two phone calls on her first day in office: one to “my friend Bibi Netanyahu” to assure him that the U.S. was allied with Israel, and the second to the Ayatollah of Iran, Ali Khamenei, to let him know that America was “back in the leadership business.”

Regarding Planned Parenthood, she cited the videos that had been produced by an anti-abortion group, edited to make it appear that the women’s health organization had been harvesting fetuses and selling them, claims which Fiorina seemed to take at face value. Anyone who watched the tapes, she said, would have serious doubts about the “character of our nation.”

Where other candidates seemed to falter or rest too easily on stale talking points, she brought a fresh sense of proficiency and resolve, a moral conviction that did not exclude a deep understanding on the complexities at play, which resisted being reduced to campaign slogans.

She was not shy about calling candidates out, especially Trump, who claimed to have brought immigration to the table, when he made his border wall project and the scourge of Mexican “drugs” and “rapists” the cornerstones of his announcement speech. Fiorina unequivocally that shut down: “Trump did not invent immigration. We have been talking about this for 25 years.”

On the issue of birthright citizenship, she told Trump: “You can’t just wave your hands and say make the 14th Amendment go away.” She cautioned that immigration reform would be a long, arduous process, implicitly warning voters to resist the simplistic deport-’em-all rhetoric of nativism, but that she knew what it would take to accomplish it: manpower, money, and leadership — “The kind of leadership that gets results.”

What could Trump say to that? “I agree 100 percent,” he said. Compared to the conspicuously data-armed Fiorina, Trump’s hand-waving began to resemble a bad joke.

Trump’s brand of braggadocio seemed, at last, to be reaching the limits of its effectiveness. He took repeated shots at a relatively easy target, Rand Paul, whose libertarian streak puts him on the outs with the party line on foreign policy, drugs, and marriage equality. Trump claimed Paul shouldn’t even be on the stage, given that he was #11 in the polls.

And when Paul accused Trump of “careless language” that included “junior-high”-caliber insults about people’s looks, Trump responded: “I never attacked him [Paul] by his looks, and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.”

Carson coasted on his mild manner and adherence to many conservative lines on wages, immigration, and Christianity. His anodyne temperament and air of benevolence, as usual, seeming to excuse the gaps in his expertise, even as he described social programs as a “spigot that dispenses all the goodies,” and on the question of minimum wage, said simply: “It’s all about America, you know.”

Then the doctor came out swinging against the anti-vaxxer hysteria, calling Trump’s remarks about the link between autism and the MMR vaccine meritless. And he spoke of his vision to renew the nation through a “Kennedy-esque” effort to galvanize industry, academia, and business; as well as his conviction that strong leadership in the global sphere needed to be tempered by intellect.

“Radical islam cannot be solved by intellect,” Rubio retorted. The Florida senator emerged as cool and collected, steeled in his determination to bring the fight to our enemies abroad. He decried the notion that “somehow by retreating we make the world safer,” saying it “has been disproven every single time.”

Paul cautioned that our military campaigns in the Middle East have historically had a way of backfiring, that “sometimes intervention makes us less safe.” Every time we’ve toppled a secular leader, he said, it has led to chaos. We do need to be engaged in global affairs, but sensibly, and a sensible foreign policy didn’t include fighting in a civil war when both sides were evil, or playing the patsy while fighting other people’s wars. 

Christie and Paul picked up the fight where they had left it last month, switching from domestic surveillance and due process to the question of drugs. Paul made the argument that locking up nonviolent offenders for drug charges—overwhelmingly people of color—was a gross national mistake, and that the 10th Amendment left questions of drug policy to the states. (Christie had said prior to the debate that he would kill recreational marijuana in states where it is legal.)

Huckabee and Cruz continued in their parallel quests to cast themselves as conservative America’s last best hope at an effective Christian theocracy, where Supreme Court Justices would only be nominated if they could be relied upon to uphold God’s laws. Huckabee said that under his presidency abortion would be outlawed unconditionally and made “as much a scourge in our past as slavery is.”

Cruz proudly proclaimed that thanks largely to his success at having torpedoed gun control legislation efforts after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, he had won the endorsement of Gun Owners of America. The Texas senator also echoed his apocalyptic claims regarding the deal with Iran, which he said was “nothing short of catastrophic.”

“If you are voting for Hillary Clinton,” he said “you are voting to give Ayatollah Khamenei a nuclear weapon.”

Kasich, who has emerged as a relative moderate and voice of reason in the GOP field, locked horns with the staunch conservative on his promises to tear up the Iran nuclear deal on his first day in office and to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood in the coming weeks. He argued that unilaterally rescinding the deal with Iran would have enormous consequences for our ability to work with our allies and build consensus. We can be strong as a country, he said, but not necessarily going it alone.

The Ohio governor and former House Budget Committee Chairman also expressed his sympathies with those who wanted to defund Planned Parenthood, but he stressed that “when it comes to shutting down the federal government, we need to be very careful about that.”

Finally, a barely visible Walker touted his union-busting accomplishments in Wisconsin.

Throughout the night, the candidates fell dispiritingly into line along a familiar range of topics: Environmental legislation could not solve climate change, only hurt U.S. businesses (besides, Rubio said, “America is not a planet”). The “judicial tyranny” of the five Supreme Court Justices who said gay people could marry must be stopped. Guns are good. Abortions are bad. And so on.

And underneath it all, as Fiorina’s star rose, voters witnessed the caving of one erst-frontrunner and perhaps the first implosion of another. Jeb Bush and Donald Trump’s limp and petty slap fighting culminated in arguably the most uncomfortable high-five in American political history, which, if nothing else, proved that neither man knows how to pivot.

Photo: Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks during the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson 

Sam Reisman

Sam Reisman is the former managing editor at The National Memo, where he still writes the weekly "This Week In Crazy" column. His writing has appeared in Flavorpill, The Huffington Post, Columbia Daily Spectator, and Bwog. He was the publisher of the 2010 edition of Inside New York, an annual guidebook to the city for students and young professionals.

Since 2011, he has co-curated and hosted Peculiar Streams, a showcase for NYC-based writers, musicians, comedians, and filmmakers. He is a staff writer at Mediaite, and blogs at SamReisman.com.

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  1. FT66 September 17, 2015

    Carly Fiorina can only debate but she has no record to run on. The way she tanked HP and its workers is not an asset, it is a liability. She can’t be handed the country to tank it as she did to HP. It was pretty a bad job she did.

    1. Dominick Vila September 17, 2015

      I agree. I doubt her explanation about tough times when she was at the helm of HP, and the fact that tough choices had to be made to save the company, which according to her lead to eventual prosperity, is going to get her very far. She did have a good night, however, and she did fire the most devastating blow against Trump.

  2. Dominick Vila September 17, 2015

    Carly Fiorina did deliver the most devastating blow against Trump when she said that every woman heard and understood what he said when he made his derogatory comment about her looks. The expression on Donald’s face said it all. She did have a good night, but she was not the only one. Marco Rubio came across as the most competent of the whole bunch, with a solid knowledge of all the issues broached, and a calm demeanor that is likely to sink his chances at the GOP nomination. Jeb also had a good night, especially when he asked The Donald to apologize for the comments he made about his Mexican-American wife, which the latter declined to do.
    As a whole, the entire GOP field marched in lockstep on all the issues that were brought up, from illegal immigration, to the Iran nuclear agreement, to Planned Parenthood, to gay marriage. The only occasional voice of dissent was Rand Paul whose Libertarian views contrasted with the rest.
    Not surprisingly, their positions on most issues were influenced by the need to satisfy the base of the GOP, and ranged from religious overtones to the usual crystal ball predictions on the Iran agreement. The latter approached pathetic proportions when some of them warned the audience about the distinct possibility of Iran destroying Israel and then attacking the USA if they developed a nuclear bomb.
    It was difficult to watch a group of seemingly intelligent people articulating opinions so bizarre that only the most ignorant, or hypocrite, could utter with a straight face.
    The most noticeable development was Trump’s attitude change. He was more composed and avoided the strident and irresponsible rhetoric that has been the centerpiece of his campaign thus far. Whether that change was influenced by advice from his strategists or was the result of him not knowing much about the issues that were being discussed, it was evident that a slightly more civilized person was on the stage, when compared to what we are all accustomed to by now.
    I would not be surprised if Donald’s poll numbers drop, and Fiorina’s, Bush’, and Rubio’s rise.

    1. The lucky one September 17, 2015

      Good analysis. I think Trump’s slightly more civil tone was due to the other candidates finally realizing that the best defense against a bully is a good offense. Fiorina made him look silly and I’ll bet even some of the men in bars that Trump’s “humor” plays to were laughing at him.

      1. latebloomingrandma September 17, 2015

        Yes, maybe the only way to bring Trump down is to get serious about the issues and policies. It shows he’s got nuthin’

      2. Dominick Vila September 17, 2015

        He will never learn though. Did you hear his retort abound Paul’s looks? This guy is obsessed with physical looks, which is probably not surprising considering his TV experiences. I hope somebody sends him a mirror as an early birthday present.

        1. The lucky one September 17, 2015

          Yes it’s amazing how a guy that, I think by anybody’s
          standards, is not seen as particularly attractive feels entitled to belittle others’ looks. The “Donald”, the only person I’ve ever seen clueless enough to brag about being modest.

        2. charleo1 September 18, 2015

          A mile wide, and an inch thick, this guy. Could he be any more superficial if he tried??

          1. Dominick Vila September 18, 2015

            It is probably in his genes. Don’t forget that according to his biography his great grandfather owned and ran houses of ill repute in the Klondike during the Gold Rush! Could that have something to do with the way he treats women and his narcissism?

          2. charleo1 September 19, 2015

            My own impression of Trump’s general thinking about women, seems very similar to way mobsters, or motorcycle gangs, think about their women, as property. I actually read this emblazoned on the jacket of a woman, when my wife and I had stopped for a burger this last weekend. It said, Property of.. (and I forget the name of the club.) It’s a mindset. I thought, poor woman. Why would she..? Then I thought about the place reserved for women in many religious sects around the World, including in this Country. Where they have been told since children they belong. And, it becomes clearer why Trump’s attitude towards women is not hurting, but perhaps even helping him with the GOP Base in the primaries. Demonstrating that we’re not one Country right now in so many areas. Perhaps in a transitional period. Where the old line stubbornly clings onto the old ways. Verses a general pushing forward, and past, by a younger, more globally aware generation. And of course, the old, they want their Country back. The Country they knew, (we knew,) is passing away. But the thing is, it doesn’t belong to them/us to keep. America passes forward as it always has. To the next generation, and the next one after that.

          3. Dominick Vila September 19, 2015

            A cursory read of Trump’s biography explains his views on many issues, ranging from moral values to despotism, to the derogatory remarks he makes about women. The fact that his great grandfather owned and ran houses of ill repute in the Klondike in the Gold Rush days sheds some light on his upbringing.

  3. charleo1 September 17, 2015

    For me, these Republicans who would be Commander in Chief’s preference for the Neocon/George W. Cheney method of carrying out foreign policy. Which is to basically refuse to directly talk with our adversaries, making our demands known to them thru back channels, and the press. As we threaten repeatedly to essentially shoot them in the head, if they fail to comply to our satisfaction. All this business about, I wouldn’t talk to Putin, I’d show, “leadership!” Is a dangerous load of crap-ola indeed. And demonstrates for me at least, even after the horrendous blunder of Iraq, even as hindsight is supposed to be 20/20. These ideologues, and amateurish imbeciles present a bigger threat to the security of the World, and the U.S. as a Nation, than Putin, the Ayatollah, ISSL, and global warming combined.

    1. Dominick Vila September 17, 2015

      I got the same impression. While pushing the party line is not unusual for a Republican, some of their proposals, ranging from refusal to talk to our alleged foes, to bombing them, to putting boot on the ground in Iraq and Syria, an claiming that after destroying Israel, Iran would attack the USA, went well beyond partisanship. The latter reminded of Reagan’s warnings about Nicaraguans planning to attack the USA, and asserting that he knew the exact location in Texas where the invasion was going to take place.
      The most embarrassing part of all this paranoia, lies, and hyperbole, is that all this is being broadcast to the entire world, and that these clowns are making us look like a bunch of paranoid fools.

      1. latebloomingrandma September 17, 2015

        Yes, the hawkishness last night was on full display and should cause everyone to pause and think about this; with the exception of Rand Paul, who I found myself agreeing with for the first time ever. The only thing missing was the visual of the mushroom cloud. In my opinion, constantly talking about all our power in full display only eggs Iran on. Why wouldn’t they want a nuclear weapon? (Not that I think they should have one.) They are surrounded by Israel and Pakistan with nukes . I am for the Iran deal. We should try to give peace a chance first. Carly wants to build up the military. How Reaganesque. What domestic programs will she take an ax to?

        1. Dominick Vila September 17, 2015

          One of the most amazing claims these bozos made is that we use to be respected worldwide, and that we are no longer respected because of President Obama’s policies. If they think the world respects crusades, regime changes, human rights violations, and the use of torture, they are all living in another planet. We were not respected when Reagan and George W. Bush were in office. We were feared, which for the average Republican is evidence of leadership.

          1. CPAinNewYork September 17, 2015

            There’s not much difference between respect and fear in international affairs, but if I had to choose, I’d choose fear. it’s safer.

          2. charleo1 September 17, 2015

            How do consider Bush’s fear, and paranoia based foreign policy worked with the American public? Because, there’s no doubt that’s where the major repository of fear was created. But, to your point. I think when one engenders fear in their opponents, they run the risk of no longer have a rational opponent. That when Countries are backed into a corner, and lead to believe their survival, and sovereignty depends on their either fighting, or capitulating. They often see fighting as their only option, and seek to arm themselves appropriately. Then too, given this evermore interdependent World in which all live. Where the best interests of each Country are so often inextricably tied to those of the others, in terms of trade, or geo-political advantage. One would most often result in hurting their own interests by harming others. And I think there’s no doubt that’s exactly what we did by invading Iraq. We hurt ourselves, hurt our allies, and we also upset what stability that existed in the Middle East, albeit a tenuous one. So, all the more reason to proceed with care then. Act less unilaterally, not more. Which the Bush Admin. did not act with care, but threw caution to the wind. And now the entire World is paying a huge price for that. Our Allies believed America, followed America, and were led astray. And so respect for America was harmed, and America has paid a price for that. Even as the fear of where America may choose to lead the World communities next, given that some of our potential leaders seemed to have learned nothing, is exponentially increased by the rhetoric of these would be holders of the most powerful office on Earth. Fear/respect? I would submit instilling the former has never engendered the latter.

          3. CPAinNewYork September 17, 2015

            You’re right, fear doesn’t necessarily engender respect. The Roman army engendered fear. It didn’t get respect, but it did get Rome its own way. The same result held for the Mongol invasions, Alexander and others

            Our invasion of Iraq didn’t seem to me intended to engender fear. It was launched for profit and it worked for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other sleazebags of Bush’s retinue.

          4. charleo1 September 17, 2015

            You make a good point. The Romans were brutal, ruled by fear. As did a lot of former dictators. Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Stalin. Horrendous people with huge capabilities for dishing out violence of every sort, in order to instill fear, and thus maintain control. We, in the early days of out own history were willing to inflict terrible atrocities on the Native Americans in order to conquer a continent, and impose the domination of our culture over theirs. As I’m sure if we had been willing, if the U.S. was still that kind of Country, we would could have stemmed the civil war our invasion loosed in Iraq. And our efforts there, at least from the perspective of control, for some undetermined amount of time, could have turned out differently. But at what cost to the respect America has around the World? And our values, that are at the core of our greatness as a Nation? This, in my opinion, is where the Bush Administration hurt the Country the most. Sure, we have a great military in every way. And who doesn’t fear it’s capabilities? But, it’s the strength of our ideas, and our respect for the individual, that establishes our leadership in the World. The belief that all people are born with mankind owing them a certain set of Fundamental Rights, that no one for any reason, has the authority to take away. And, I believe the people that invaded Iraq for their own grandiose reasons forgot that. And tarnished those ideals this Country has come to represent. Not that a single one of them care. But I personally consider what they did in my name, unforgivable.

      2. plc97477 September 17, 2015

        Just goes to show they know the fear level of their base.

        1. Dominick Vila September 17, 2015

          You are right. The people that accept and agree with the kind of rhetoric we hear are likely to be paranoid-schizophrenics.

      3. TZToronto September 17, 2015

        I’ve said before that the Iran deal is nothing like Chamberlain’s peace in our time in 1938. At that time England was in no state to fight a war with Germany. I’m not saying that Chamberlain intentionally delayed the war with his negotiations with Hitler since I don’t know. However, the negotiations did delay the war for about a year and gave England a chance to arm itself. (Of course, Dunkirk demonstrated that England still wasn’t ready for much of a war by 1939.) In the present case, the U.S. is nothing like England in 1938. There is no possible way for Iran to attack the U.S., its allies, or Israel without being completely destroyed in about an hour. The “coalition” that put the Iran deal together has nothing to lose, but Iran has much to gain by fully cooperating with the terms of the deal. Hmmmm . . . Let Iran continue to develop its nuclear weapons program, or shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program? Tough choice, huh?

        1. Dominick Vila September 17, 2015

          I agree. The dire predictions articulated by so many Republicans, and their pal Netanyahu, ignore the fact the the USA has the largest military, and the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. It ignores that our nuclear capacity would allow us to incinerate half of planet Earth in a matter of minutes, and that we have the ICBMs and technology needed to deliver those nuclear warheads with pinpoint accuracy. Israel’s military and nuclear capabilities are so superior than those of other nations in that part of the world, that even suggesting vulnerability is preposterous.
          The worst part of the rhetoric we hear from Republicans on this subject is that they know better. Several of these politicians are Senators, Congressmen, or Governors, and they are all well aware of what we can do to anyone who threatens or even challenges our global interests or security. They do it because they know they are dealing with people that are either too ignorant to understand the difference between overwhelming military might, such as ours, and what prevails in other parts of the world. That ignorance contributed to millions of Americans accepting Reagan’s demagoguery when he justified our aggressive behavior by suggesting the Nicaragua and the tiny island of Grenada posed a grave threat to our national security. That ignorance allowed W to justify the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 by insinuating that Saddam Hussein represented a huge threat to our national security and interests, after decades of helping that dictator when it was convenient to our geo-political interests. Not surprisingly, the latest breed of demagogues are using the same tactic, with similar results, to convince that the terms in the Iran nuclear agreement constitute a surrender of U.S. objectives, that it represents a major threat to our national security – and Israel’s – and that failure to obliterate Iran would be the end of civilization. The saddest part of this irresponsible rhetoric is that millions of Americans believe what they hear, don’t understand that developing countries like Iran lack the military capabilities and technology to be a legitimate challenger to our global interests, let alone a threat to our security. Let’s face it, if these people can accept the fact that the minuscule island of Grenada was a threat to us, it is not too hard to convince the same people that Iran – a Muslim country – is a threat to the world.
          One of our greatest shortcomings is our inability to educate our population in world affairs, and basic subjects such as world geography and history. That intellectual vacuum allows charlatans to manipulate the populace, and use them to achieve their goals.

  4. Eleanore Whitaker September 17, 2015

    Men in this country are going to see how women fight. When Trump opened his big mouth and slammed Fiorina based on gender, he thought she would just let it slide. Big Big Big Big mistake.

    Now..when the GOP goes after Hillary Clinton and ASSumes she is just going to stuff it all down and make nice like a “good little girl,” the minute she wins the 2016 election, the GOP will wish they had never been born.

    Men never learn not to push any woman to her limits.

    1. The lucky one September 17, 2015

      Just a suggestion Eleanore, instead of saying “men this” or “men that” try “some men” or even “most men” if you feel that way but painting all men with the same brush is just ludicrous and detracts from your points.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker September 17, 2015

        Good suggestion. I’ve lived my entire lifetime in a man’s world. Any woman foolish enough to think that this is just a coincidence needs a lobotomy.

        In my 68 years, I’ve met less than a handful of men highly educated who didn’t play games mentally or emotionally. These are the men I remained friends with for a lifetime. The rest? Chewed up, spit out and tossed onto the landfill of waste.

        It is extremely important for American men to wake up and realize that the male domination over government and business is over.

        I find it amusing that those who don’t mind women working outside the home are often the same men who still think a “woman should know her place.”

        The more financially independent and educated women grow, the more the issue of gender will become part of the past.

        1. The lucky one September 17, 2015

          I pretty much agree with you. Re: “It is extremely important
          for American men to wake up and realize that the male domination over government and business is over.” It’s not that I disagree with that statement but I don’t see it as an improvement for most of us if women start taking places
          alongside men who have used their positions for personal enrichment without regard for anyone else’s welfare. Power corrupts, whether male or female.

          BTW I laughed out loud when Fiorina slapped Trump into his place.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker September 17, 2015

            Women, unlike men, are notoriously focused on what’s fair and equitable. Women who start taking places alongside men who have used their positions for personal enrichment are not as likely to be “selfish.” Sorry, but my Grandmother was born in 1872 and even she knew that all men tend to have a selfish streak, which if not addressed early on, becomes narcissism.

            Women may be somewhat vain. But, women have never been allowed to be selfish. Among a long list of things, women have NOT been allowed to do.

            Women who are also parents know they can’t afford the luxury of playing favorites or think first of themselves before their children. Few men know the extreme sacrifices mothers make for their kids. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

            Men view women who make sacrifices of themselves for their kids as “spoiling” or “overindulging” their offspring. Few Lions ever dote on Lion cubs like the Lioness.

          2. bobnstuff September 17, 2015

            When in college I managed our girls basket ball teem and those young ladies were nasty to play against. Not good sports in any way. They were focused on winning at any cost. Just like you shouldn’t paint men with one brush women are not all sweetness and love.

          3. plc97477 September 17, 2015

            Nobody said they were all sweetness and love they also will fight for what they think is important and no one fights like a mother protecting her offspring.

          4. anothertoothpick September 17, 2015

            Self serving woman aren’t all that hot either.

            Let us not leave out of the conversation the alter of Aynn Rand. They love her and base their idealogy on her writings and rantings.

            Then of course we have the ever popular Phyllis Schlafly.

            I could go on and on.

            Tammy Bruce: Radio talk show host, blogger
            Liz Cheney: Co-Founder, Keep America Safe
            Tina Korbe: Associate editor for HotAir.com
            Mary Katharine Ham: Radio host, blogger at the Daily Caller, Fox News contributor.
            Dana Loesch: Editor-in-Chief of Big Journalism, a CNN contributor, and hosts her own daily radio show.
            Dana Perino: Former White House Press Secretary, rotating host of “The Five.”
            Pamela Geller: Blogger, activist, executive director of Stop Islamization of America.
            Phyllis Schlafly: Columnist, President of Eagle Forum
            S.E. Cupp: Columnist, contributing editor at Townhall magazine, TV personality

            Dr. Laura Schlessinger: Radio host on SIRIUS XM.
            10) Nikki Haley: Governor of South Carolina.
            Condi Rice: Former foreign policy advisor to George Bush, former Secretary of State.
            Jan Brewer: Governor of Arizona.
            Kathryn Jean Lopez: Syndicated columnist, editor of National Review Online.
            Michelle Malkin: Best selling author, highly read blogger, very popular columnist.
            Cathy McMorris Rodgers: Republican Congresswoman, Vice-Chair of the House Republican Conference.
            Michele Bachmann: Minnesota Congresswoman, presidential candidate.
            Laura Ingraham: Talk host with 6 million plus listeners per week.
            Ann Coulter: Best selling author, extremely popular columnist.
            Sarah Palin: Former Governor of Alaska, former VP candidate.

            My point is it is not just men. It is the sick ideology of self serving profit at all costs people that are dangerous.

          5. CPAinNewYork September 17, 2015

            Your opening sentence is idiotic. The rest of your screed isn’t much better.

            What a buffoon you are.

          6. The lucky one September 17, 2015

            All people are capable of selfishness, not just men, and I don’t find women to be any more or less fair and equitable than men. Someone,Churchill maybe,expressed it well when asked by Lady Astor, I think, who was smarter men or women. He replied Which man and which woman?” I think that sums it up well.

    2. CPAinNewYork September 17, 2015


      Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump have something in common: they’re both assholes. Neither is going to get the Republican nomination.

      Trump does have something over Fiorina: He’s a successful businessman, while Fiorina is a failure who was kicked out.

      1. plc97477 September 17, 2015

        That successful business man took out bankruptcy 4 times.

        1. CPAinNewYork September 17, 2015

          That’s beside the point. he stuck others with the losses and made millions for himself.

          If you want to call that unethical, I agree with you, but you cannot deny that he personally made money.

          1. Bren Frowick September 17, 2015

            Easy to make money when you start out with half a billion dollars, as Trump did, and then ride Mommy’s coattails into your first millions as a “businessman”.

      2. Eleanore Whitaker September 18, 2015

        Actually, Trump isn’t as successful as one might imagine. If Daddy Freddy hadn’t handed his darling little boy $350 million in inheritance, would you even know Trump’s name?

        And, if success is based on the number of times a wealthy CEO like Trump can dump bankruptcies on taxpayers, how is that kind of reliance on taxpayers to foot the bill for a CEO’s business misjudgments “success.” To put any success in perspective, it’s necessary to balance successes vs. failures, scrutinize which of the 2 have not affected the general public or the success of those who are employed by that enterprise. As such, Trump is just a big mouth, spoiled little boy who rules with the Art of the Deal like a czar. The people in Atlantic City are proof of Trump’s failures. Tens of thousands were put out of work when he closed the Taj Mahal and some were not employed by Trump. That kind of ripple effect, coupled with the fact that NJ taxpayers handed Trump, thanks to Whitless Whitman, a huge tax subsidy and exemption, Trump won’t dare take the chance to revisit AC until the stain of his failure is long forgotten.

        As for Fiorina, she’s easier to explain. In order not to appear gender biased, Fiorina was made token female CEO. It is not outside the realm of reality to imagine that HP never intended her to remain more than 2 years.

  5. FireBaron September 17, 2015

    Carly Fiorina did a great job of impressing folks last night. I would like to remind everyone that she also did a great job of impressing the Boards of Directors of both Lucent and HP and we all know how far downhill both of those companies went under her leadership.
    Lucent was in its final death throes when she bailed on them to go to HP. And her “Leadership” at HP may have resulted in increased revenue, but it lost overall profits, lost money and lost money for its shareholders, then it cost the company close to $100 million to get rid of her.

    1. The lucky one September 17, 2015

      I agree but it was apparent that she was the smartest & best informed person on the stage. If Paul wasn’t so loony on some issues I’d like him.

      1. latebloomingrandma September 17, 2015

        Carly did her homework. She didn’t stumble once. However, there is something about her I just don’t like and can’t put my finger on. I would like to learn more about her management style while at HP and hat the employees thought about her.

        1. docb September 17, 2015

          Have an acquaintance, decades long employee of HP, she adored Carly for all of 3 months..Then went silent…

          1. Bren Frowick September 17, 2015

            Probably when Carly laid her off and shipped her job to China…

          2. docb September 18, 2015

            Hardly, she was promoted to Chair of her Department and had to work closely with Fiornia. She retired in 2010 with full benefits and accolades…

          3. Bren Frowick September 18, 2015

            Glad she outlasted Fiorina, then, who left in ’05. Clearly one of the managers who came to recognize Fiorina’s poor management skills early on.

          1. latebloomingrandma September 17, 2015

            Thanks for the link. Everyone should read it. Was the author the Clintonite she mentioned? A flimsy excuse.

          2. Bren Frowick September 17, 2015

            Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, author of the Fortune article, is a former Yale professor and a leading expert on CEOs in America, having literally written the book(s) on them. He is not any kind of Clintonite, and Fortune is anything but a left-leaning magazine, being a business-oriented publication.

        2. Grannysmovin September 17, 2015

          According to the CNN factcheck:
          Carly Fiorina talked about a scenes in the video of PP that didn’t exist. So either she did not watch the videos or she lied.

          In addition Sarah Kliff of vox,com said she watched the videos and what Fiorina described was not in them. http://www.vox.com/2015/9/16/9342165/carly-fiorina-planned-parenthood

          “Fiorina repeated familiar boasts about her time at Hewlett-Packard, saying the size of the company “doubled,” without mentioning that was due to a merger with Compaq, and
          she cherry-picked other statistics.” http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/factchecking-the-cnn-republican-debate/ar-AAeoTPP?li=AAa0dzB&ocid=U146DHP

          I coul,d not watch that sideshow straight through but while channel surfing I heard them talking about making our Military strong again. We have the Largest and strongest military in the world and the biggest military budget,

          1. anothertoothpick September 17, 2015

            I was waiting for someone to catch that lie about the video. I thought she was talking about some science fiction movie she saw.

            Repiglickn lies today become half truths tomorrow become facts in the future.

            Like playing wack-a- mole with the repiglickn lies.

        3. The lucky one September 17, 2015

          I didn’t like most of her positions but I give her credit for poise while competing with the yahoos she shared the stage with. Also she apparently lied abut the planned parenthood video. Maybe she was just trying to show she could lie as well as the men. don’t ant any of those on the stage, or HC either but I’d rate her in the top 3-4 if I had to pick.

      2. dog lover September 18, 2015

        I’m not jealous of DT Being born rich. He did something with his wealth. I’m not kidding about my post. You said she’s intelligent she spewed from a memorized script. Wake up and take a real look on who’s real.


        1. The lucky one September 19, 2015

          They are all scripted. The “debate” was a virtual reality
          show. Fiorina did deliver her lines with more poise and energy than any of the others, including your hero Donnie. It may be true that Trump is more spontaneous, meaning he shoots from the hip, but his sound bites are all just playing to the crowd. He’s the only person I’ve ever seen who can brag about being modest and claim he is not engaging in childish insults even as he is in the middle of doing exactly that.

          When a speaker has to interject how much smarter he is than everyone else into every statement he makes it doesn’t inspire confidence, at least not among thinking people.

          It’s a good thing for him he has lived a sheltered life because “on the street” he would have become toothless long ago.

  6. patrick g van meter September 17, 2015

    With the exception of Paul, I saw and heard a room full of war mongers. Without exception blaming ISIS on Obama. These people still want to lead the world on the backs of dead American soldiers and wothout even an attempt at diplomacy and in the name of God. Exceptionalism at its best. It was more like a gathering of terrorists.

  7. bobnstuff September 17, 2015

    I made it through about 45 minutes before turning it off. Why do they have to lie so much? I guess they know just how stupid the American public is.

    1. TZToronto September 17, 2015

      I guess it goes without saying that repealing Obamacare is high on the list of all of the GOP candidates. (Well, maybe Paul and Kasich would think a bit before dumping no-pre-existing-conditions healthcare. They seem to be willing to deviate slightly from the party line.) Perhaps dumping something from the U.S. government that is actually working goes against the GOP’s assertion that the whole government is broken and needs a radical makeover.

      1. bobnstuff September 17, 2015

        I like Kasich, I think he is the only one of this bunch to live in the real world, he hasn’t a chance in the present republican party but I still believe he could be a good president.

        1. Karen Bille-Golden September 17, 2015

          Actually, Paul and Kasich were the only two who made even a slight impression on me. I haven’t followed Kasich so I don’t know if his attempts to sound bi-partisan hold water. And Paul was the only one who wasn’t warmongering.

          1. bobnstuff September 17, 2015

            He’s the real deal as far as I can see. He grow up in a very Democratic neighborhood, strong union area, He worked with Clinton to get a balanced budget. I don’t like everything he has done in Ohio but no one is perfect. He won’t throw things out just because Obama did them.

        2. TZToronto September 17, 2015

          Sadly, unless you get the Tea Party endorsement (i.e., lots and lots of Koch $$$), you haven’t a chance. I sometimes get the feeling that Kasich is the designated driver for the Republican “party.” When you look up RINO in the Tea Party dictionary, there’s a picture of Kasich.

          1. bobnstuff September 17, 2015

            It’s funny that all the republicans that built the party and have served it all those years are now RINO’s and the Johnny come lately are the true republicans.

  8. itsfun September 17, 2015

    Carly Fiorina had a very good night. She would probably be a great Secretary of State if she doesn’t win the nomination. I thought Marco Rubio had a great night and he may be the most knowledgeable of the whole group. Donald Trump is a my way or the highway guy and I am not sure if he knows which highway he is on.

    1. The lucky one September 17, 2015

      Maybe but not much chance the next Democrat president would appoint her.

  9. Hank Gagnon September 17, 2015

    Really, come on folks. Now the establishment is reaching for anything. First it was Jeb, then Carlson , now Fiorina, The right wing establishment lunatics are reaching for straws now! The other 15 are a bunch of empty suits on the take from the top 1%. TRUMP WON AGAIN!

    1. The lucky one September 17, 2015

      We must have been watching different debates. Again Trump demonstrated that he has no substance and that all his bombast is getting more tiresome every day.

      1. Hank Gagnon September 18, 2015

        N o substance. Exactly what the other 15 Empty Suit RepubliCONS demonstrated, Unless you include the usual failed policies like : PERPETUAL WAR in the MIDEAST, More tax breaks for an already low tax paying top 1%, more Welfare, and giveaways to traitor multi-national corporations so they can move more jobs out of America, If you call that substance you uninformed or a RepubliCON SHEEP. What those polices are is total destruction of the American Middle Class.

        1. The lucky one September 18, 2015

          did I say or imply that the other stuffed suits on stage offered any substance? It’s a huge mistake to even refer to the show as a debate. Debaters are not allowed to use blatant lies to make their points. It was a propaganda fest, pure and simple. If it was a contest of who made the most tasteless wisecracks (none of which were funny) and mimed the goofiest facial expressions then yes, The Dumpster won hands down.

          1. Hank Gagnon September 19, 2015

            I agree. It’s obvious the insider big money is on Bush. Those other fools are only ponds to dilute and distract theelectorate, I am starting to believe Trump is only there to pump up ratings and the notoriety of BUSH. At one point in the debate they clapped hands together and smiled and cheered at each other. Trump will drop out and give some fake answer why. But I will never vote for a RepubliCON anyways. But another OIL/DEFENSE/WALL STREET PUPPET BUSH is the last thing this country needs. Trump over BUSH any day.

          2. The lucky one September 19, 2015

            That’s like choosing hanging or a firing squad. One might be preferable in some ways but with either you end up dead.

  10. Karen Bille-Golden September 17, 2015

    I thought the Donald finally got a glimpse of how incompetent he sounds. I was wishing they were all standing on trap doors that would swallow them up when they uttered a lie or made unfounded statements. Carson looked weak, Fiorina was feisty but not so intelligent and only a few were courageous enough to deviate even a little from the GOP norm
    . It was five hours of tedium and not only embarrassing but frightening to think any one of them might be our leader. Their attempts to insure middle America they care about us, never hit the mark.

  11. Hank Gagnon September 17, 2015

    They all talked a lot and said nothing as usual. Trump is just more open about it and is not a SHILL for the top 1%

    1. charleo1 September 17, 2015

      I’m sorry, but we’re better than that. We settle for a demagoguing idiot, because he’s the only one on the stage that finances his own campaign? So this is what the corporations are people, and money equals free speech mentality has brought the Country to? Has it undermined the credibility of our political system, the trust in political leadership, or the belief in altruistic public service, so much so, we turn in droves to the same wealthy minority that corrupted our democratic institutions in the first place, to save us? If so, then shame on us!

      1. Hank Gagnon September 18, 2015

        The whole Political system has been undermined since the 1980’s when the Defense, Wall Street and OIL industry jumped in the political ring and got their own little puppet/Fraud in the Presidency the worst president this country has ever had Ronald Reagan. Since then the our Financial, Defense, and Energy Policy has been written by multi-national traitor American Corporations,who have No allegiance to America. Only Profit for the top executives in those industries. Screw the rest of the American workers, American infrastructure, American Education, and American food safety. They have been selling America out one giveaway to the rich at a time. with no return on the tax payers investment.

        1. charleo1 September 18, 2015

          Well said. That’s all painfully true, and will hopefully be more clear to many more Americans in the not too distant future. Because we really are behind the eight ball right now. And if we started tomorrow, it would take a generation to turn things around. As one of your fellow passengers in the same boat, I thank you for being one of the people taking the time to inform yourself, and share that with others. Because that’s the way the boat has to righted. Thru a process involving one person at a time, telling another, who considers, learns, and decides to pass it on. As you point out, we didn’t come to this point overnight, and we’ll not be climbing out of quickly either. But, what other choices do we have? At this point, it really is all about the kids coming up.

    2. latebloomingrandma September 17, 2015

      Maybe no one buys the Donald, but he has been shown to buy others. I’m sure if he gives $$ he expects something in return.

    3. The lucky one September 17, 2015

      No, he is just a shill for Trump Enterprises.

      1. Hank Gagnon September 18, 2015

        Better than a shill for the top 1% any day. Plus the president gets nothing done without Congress. So if elected TRUMP will but heads with congress and get nothing done. If I had to hold my nose and put up with another RepubliCON President I’ll take TRUMP any day instead of any of the other 14 top 1%er puppets. It’s embarrassing for our country when elected officials like Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, and Lindsey Graham bow down on their knees to the EVIL KOCH BROTHERS and beg for money.

  12. latebloomingrandma September 17, 2015

    I love all their faux concern about the beleaguered middle class. Since when did they care? Since Bernie made it a real issue? They can pretend all they want. Their ideology does not promote the middle class, just the upper class. That’s why we are in this mess, starting with the Sainted Reagan.
    So Christie is going to listen to the people? Look to his track record of “sit down and shut up”. Walker is relying on his union busting cred. Just who does he think belongs to unions? Cruz is just creepy. His voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard. He can go straight to Hades proudly with his guns, proudly defending them after Sandy Hook. Maybe Huckleberry could find an island somewhere to establish his theocracy.
    And Rubio warned us to be very afraid always.

  13. Böcker September 17, 2015

    Truth didn’t make an appearance last night at the debate an no push back from the moderators.

  14. 1Zoe55 September 17, 2015

    Carly Fiorina is the female version of the other warmongers on that stage. If the Republican/TeaParty thinks women are going to vote for Fiorina just because she’s a woman, they’re mistaken. Frankly, she frightens me especially her histrionic version of the abortion film (that she’s never seen). Hey, Fiorina, you mind your own business about other women’s bodies. Since she brought up the loss of her son, you would think Fiorina would be softened and a bit more understanding of the real world. Given the low caliber of the men on that stage, it was easy for Fiorina to impress…but not the women I know and work with.

  15. Bud Friend September 17, 2015

    What Trump said to Rand Paul at the start of the debate is the president he would be.

    Is that what we want, a bully?

    1. latebloomingrandma September 17, 2015

      And Paul’s comment about junior high rhetoric was accurate. How is this going to garner respect around the world?
      And the Republicans are badly mistaken if they think Obama is not admired in many places around the world. Personally, I’m glad he didn’t kowtow to Fiorina’s good friend Bibi. He does not make our foreign policy.

  16. CPAinNewYork September 17, 2015

    If Carly Fiorina is such a leader, why did she get run out of Hewlett Packard?

    1. ralphkr September 17, 2015

      Because HP did not want to be run the rest of the way to Bankruptcy. Fiorina had already lost 50% of HP value before she was paid millions to go away and destroy someone else.

      1. Lynda Groom September 18, 2015

        Indeed failure at the CEO level is often rewarded handsomely. Too bad that doesn’t work for the rest of us huh? If we destroy half of our employers value we’ve already been gone a long time.

  17. disqus_QR7ejvoSVU September 17, 2015

    Carly Fiorina from Wikipedia:

    In 2002, Fiorina undertook the biggest high-tech merger in history, with rival computer company Compaq, which made HP the world’s largest personal computer manufacturer.[4][5] HP gained market share following the merger
    and subsequently laid off 30,000 American workers.[6][7] By the end of 2005, the merged company had more employees worldwide than they had separately before the merger.[8] As of February 9, 2005, HP stock had lost more than half its value, while the overall NASDAQ index had fallen 26 percent owing to turbulence in the tech sector.[9][10][11] On that date, Hewlett-Packard’s board of directors forced Fiorina to resign as chief executive officer and chairman.[12][13]

    After resigning from HP, Fiorina served on the boards of several organizations and as an advisor to Republican John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. She won a three-way race for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate from California in 2010, but lost the general election to incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.[14]

    Fiorina, stupidly and egotistically, wasted millions of her HP “Golden Parachute” dollars in trying to take Boxer’s senate seat.

  18. TheSkalawag929 September 17, 2015

    Last night’s clown show wasn’t a debate. It was a lie fest. Each candidate trying to out do the other with lies.

    1. S.J. Jolly September 17, 2015

      When future primary voters are in the market for lies, you load your display window with lies.

      1. TheSkalawag929 September 17, 2015

        I agree.
        They sure got a load last night.

  19. Paragryne September 17, 2015

    The debates were 5 hours of verbal water boarding, and yes, it does qualify as torture.

  20. Rusty Inman September 17, 2015

    Does Ms. Fiorina have pictures of this writer in compromising positions?

    The hypocrisy of Ms. Fiorina has no bounds but this writer never bothers to mention any of it.

    She has consistently misled Republican voters and the rest of the country per her record at Hewlett-Packard—no mention of it in this puff piece.

    She slings arrows at Donald Trump (he deserved every one of them) about his propensity for commenting on “the way a woman looks” as opposed to commenting on “her brains.” Where was that sentiment when, in a moment of revealing snark, she commented on Barbara Boxer’s hair, calling it “so yesterday?” No mention of that in this puff piece.

    She has consistently claimed that Hillary Clinton “lied” about Benghazi. Yet she has never offered any substance to support that claim. How did she “lie” about Benghazi? Given what we now know, she didn’t. No mention of that in this puff piece.

    There is no evidence that Hillary Clinton lied about her emails, yet Ms. Fiorina has consistently claimed that she did. Of course, she offers no supportive evidence. No mention of that in this puff piece.

    Carly Fiorina lied when she implied that the now-debunked undercover tapes per Planned Parenthood showed a living fetus on an “operating table” with medical personnel wondering how to keep it alive to get the body parts they wanted. That’s a lie, pure and simple. No mention of that in this puff piece.

    And one wonders what Ms. Fiorina would do after she told Iran’s “Supreme Leader” that “America is back in the leadership business?” Boots-on-the-ground and Bodies-in-bags? Tough talk. But she is nothing but talk. And most of it isn’t believable.

    For that matter, no mention of any of her hypocrisy, her misleading statements, her outright falsehoods by the mainstream media.

  21. oldtack September 17, 2015

    With the exception of a couple of logical statements from Rand Paul I observed a group of hawkish warmongers ready to build up a mighty Military force and go to War with Iran or anyone else perceived as being a threat to whatever we deem necessary and right. How would they do this? They would do this on the dead bodies of American Troops – damn the casualties and damn the cost.

    Not one, except Rand Paul mentioned anything about diplomacy and negotiations..

    What happened to Common Sense?

  22. 7sue7 September 17, 2015

    This is per my local newspaper. I’m sure it can be verified by googling. “Under Fiorina, HP sold to Iran”
    On the campaign trail this year, Carly Fiornia has been a staunch advocate of keeping crippling sanctions on Iran. But under her leadership, Hewlett Packard sold hundreds of millions of dollars in products to Iran through a foreign subsidiary – even as there were U.S. sanctions against such exports. She was the CEO of HP from 1999-2005. She criticizes Obama’s deal with Iran even though this deal partnered with many other countries as well.
    Fiorina often cites her time as a corporate executive as a credential for running for president and said in July she would back away from the Iran deal if elected and renegotiate. She also accused Iran of cheating on sanctions.
    She should know, because what she never mentions is that while she was in charge, HP used a European subsidiary and a Middle East distributor to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of printers and other computer equipment to Iran. HP’s unusual omnipresence inside Iran was first reported in 2008 by the Boston Globe, which discovered that in 1997 the company struck up a partnership with an Indian company in Dubai called Redington Gulf. the partnership was so successful distributing HP products in Iran that HP printers were No.1 there, with 41 percent of the market share by 2007.
    All U.S. companies were banned from exporting to Iran in 1995, when President Bill Clinton issued executive orders tightening sanctions because of Iran’s support for international terrorism and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. If HP executives knew what the Dubai-based distributor was doing, they would have been breaking U.S. law.
    Fiorina denies having any knowledge of these sales. As the CEO of a company as big as Hewlett Packard, what kind of leader would she be if she doesn’t know what’s going on in the company she is head of?
    If she DID in fact have knowledge of what was going on, I do believe we can consider her a traitor of the United States.

  23. dog lover September 17, 2015

    Another reporter who is a Trump hater. Nothing is mentioned how fioruna’s mismanagement of hp and her glorified exit from hp because of it. But Trump is the guy with the bulls eye on his back. Trump was right when he claimed victory about illegals. She said 25 years it’s been on the table & if Trump didn’t seize this it would still be on the table for another 25 years. Fiorina has a good line of bs. That’s what she’s about. Round three is coming. My $$ is on Trump.

    1. S.J. Jolly September 17, 2015

      Nearly a year before the Republican Convention. Plenty of time for stumbles and break-out sprints.

    2. The lucky one September 18, 2015

      And Trump is not BS??? You must be kidding. He’s all wisecracks (lacking any wit) and exaggerated facial expressions. No substance at all. Born on third base thinking he hit a home run.

  24. Louis Allen September 17, 2015

    Sam Reisman,
    I thought that you had done a pretty good job of reporting without editorializing until you discredited yourself as a journalist by claiming that the Planned Parenthood videos were “…edited to make it appear that the women’s health organization had been harvesting fetuses and selling them, claims that Fiorina seems to take at face value.” Wow, dishonest, dishonest, dishonest.
    That’s why the DemocRats are doomed. They cannot bring themselves to enunciating 3 sentences without including 2 lies in between.


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