Conservatives in the audience warmed to the message. “I had never heard Fiorina before,” said Sam Clovis, a veteran activist. “She gave the perfect speech in the perfect venue on the perfect topic. I had low expectations so her performance made an impression on me.”

An unspoken theme underlying Fiorina’s speech was the prospect of a Republican woman facing a Democratic woman, Hillary Clinton, in the general election. Certainly Fiorina didn’t hold back. She ridiculed Clinton’s proud claim to have traveled more miles than any Secretary of State — “Mrs. Clinton, flying is not an accomplishment, it is an activity.”

Fiorina went on to hit Clinton on Russia, China, Iran, and Benghazi. “Unlike Hillary Clinton, I know what difference it makes that our American ambassador and three other brave Americans were killed in a deliberate terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11 in Libya,” Fiorina said. “And apparently unlike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I know our response must be more forceful than the arrest of a single individual one year later.”

If you want to get a favorable reception at a conservative political gathering, that will do it.