Yes, it’s true that she was “only” on the under card debate on Thursday (for which she received almost universal accolades as the winner) but has this weekend proven to be a convergence of events which will launch Carly Fiorina into the top tier of contenders? It’s an interesting question. Obviously the fact that she became the target of Donald Trump’s ire is going to help her with everyone who isn’t in the Trump camp. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend.) But can she translate this moment into a real move into the top tier? Politico looks at the question.
Carly Fiorina’s victory at Thursday’s so-called junior varsity presidential debate quickly gave way to her next — and most daunting — challenge: transforming soundbites into campaign-trail traction.
Fiorina, who spent her day on a media blitz and in private meetings with potential supporters, offered a sober assessment of her task when asked by a POLITICO reporter about her strategy to capitalize on post-debate momentum.
“What we’ve been doing is building up momentum with donors, with supporters, with money. We’re going to keep doing that. It’s just that it gets a little easier when more people know who you are,” she said at RedState, a conservative gathering in Georgia.
I think sometimes we tend to forget that even though there wasn’t any money gushing her way and the field was crowded like a rugby scrum, Fiorina was the one who was showing up outside of Hillary Clinton events and sticking it to her. She immediately struck me as someone who was a bit more “fireproof” in terms of media bias when it came to being able to hit Hillary where she lives. And she’s done an admirable job of it from day one. Could she carry the banner for the GOP in the general election if this transformative moment moves her into the top tier?
Frankly, I’ve thought so since the first time I interviewed her at CPAC. She’s very impressive and her performance in the first debate underscored that. She’s nearly impossible to shake up under questioning and can keep a laser focus on the topic at hand. But her fundraising and poll numbers have still lagged… and that’s a problem. There have been any number of good candidates from both parties who have been left in the dust for just that reason and we can’t deny the realities of modern politics.
If Carly Fiorina wants to be the next president, she’s got to break out of the JV ranks. This week has presented her with an opportunity. But the sad fact of the matter is that you can’t be a great president without being a great politician first. She’s going to have to find a way to build on this moment and put herself on the big stage. How Trump plays into that is yet to be seen, but Carly needs to make a big move now or the moment may pass her by.