Carly Fiorina, who just jumped into the race for the presidency Monday, has spent the week coolly sitting for interviews and cleverly parrying jabs from reporters and critics. It is obvious that after losing her Senate race in 2010 to Sen. Barbara Boxer, Fiorina did some real hard work on improving her skills as a candidate, and it paid off. Nonetheless, the week was marred by a rather glaring mistake, especially for a tech-centric candidate like the former Hewlett-Packard CEO. Fiorina failed to register the domain carlyfiorina.org, and a critic promptly took it over and launched it as an attack site on her record. Cruz before her had experienced the same fate.
Although it’s always preferable that a candidate not make a preventable mistake in the first place, we’re all humans here, and showing poise in coping with mistakes is a large part of the game, too (and a skill one Hillary Clinton lacks entirely). On Seth Meyers’ late-night show Tuesday, Fiorina showed how a clever comeback and a bit of pop-culture savvy can come close to eclipsing the original gaffe.
In this exchange, Meyers predictably brings up the .org snafu, which is the exact kind of story late-night TV viewers and low-information voters pay attention to during a campaign almost to the exclusion of anything else. But before he gets too far into his snarky lambasting of her, she asks, “Do you know who owns SethMeyers.org?”
Meyers is thrown off his game, obviously begrudgingly bewildered by the fact that she served up a pretty good prank. The “it was very cheap” line was great, too. She didn’t even jump into an explanation of the layoffs question, which is counterintuitive from a political pugilist perspective but turned out perfectly fine. No one would have remembered it, and this particular audience wouldn’t have been convinced. But they will remember this. The clip above wasn’t cut and YouTubed by Carly’s campaign, but by Seth Meyers. That’s a win when the late-night show is doing your highlights.
Way to turn those frowns…upside down.