Posted by Curt on 7 August, 2015 at 7:00 pm. 9 comments already!


Alexis Levinson:

Carly Fiorina arrived at the RedState Gathering here the conquering hero, following her commanding performance at yesterday’s happy-hour debate.

“I think we kind of rumbled last night, what do you think?” Fiorina told the crowd as she took the stage to a standing ovation.

Fiorina was by all accounts the winner of the early debate in Cleveland Thursday, where she appeared with the other six GOP presidential contenders who were not in the top ten in national polls. In the otherwise unremarkable two-hour undercard event, she stood out for her poise and her well-crafted answers, and emerged as the one person who looked like they should have been on the main stage. Fiorina often points out that she has the lowest name ID of any candidate in the Republican field. But 6.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the former Hewlett-Packard CEO’s performance on Fox News yesterday, which means this could be her moment — if she can capitalize on it.

Fiorina and her campaign declined to talk about the concrete effects of that performance in terms of campaign fundraising — which has been lackluster thus far — or what they planned to do to take advantage of the extra attention. “We’re gonna keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Fiorina told reporters following her speech at RedState.

But the super PAC backing Fiorina, CARLY For America, which has done much of the organizing legwork for her White House bid, said they had seen an uptick in support.

“Our field leaders in the early states, our fundraising team, and our digital teams are all reporting surges in interest and engagement,” communications director Katie Hughes tellsNational Review.

For her part, Fiorina acknowledged that voters and the media probably perceive her differently than they did two days ago.

“Let’s face it, a lot of people probably underestimated me. . . . I hope that what people are starting to say is, ‘You know what? She could win this job, and she could do this job,’” she said.

It was clear from Fiorina’s reception at RedState, a gathering of conservative activists organized by radio host Erick Erickson, that people are starting to think exactly that.

“When I heard that Carly Fiorina was running for president, I thought, ‘Is she running for president, or is she running for vice president?’” Erickson said as he introduced her to the crowd. “But holy cow!” He joined the consensus, calling her the winner of the early debate last night.

She came on stage to a standing ovation, and earned several more over the course of her speech and the question-and-answer period that followed, especially when she attacked Hillary Clinton.

Fiorina used her time at RedState to emphasize her persona as the anti-politician, someone who talks directly to voters and reporters, rather than having staff run interference. Erickson told the crowd that Fiorina had expressed a preference for answering audience questions over delivering long, prepared remarks, and her appearance bore that out. She made a number of references to her interviews with media traditionally considered hostile to Republicans, such as her segment on Chris Matthews’s MSNBC show yesterday and her earlier chat with the women of The View, drawing another marked contrast to the press-shy Clinton.

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That interview by Chris Matthews was a thing of beauty:

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