I confess, I did not expect to be writing so much about the Carly Fiorina campaign. Not that I was averse to the notion, but I didn’t expect to be compelled by the candidate’s offerings to offer commentary. But Fiorina’s team, after a bit of an opening mishap with carlyfiorina.net, has been really turning that one minor gaffe into a string of wins. And, here’s the thing, the wins aren’t political or policy driven. They’re cultural, which means many voters are getting a positive general impression of her as a bit of a clever prankster and good-humored woman before they ever hear her policy takes. And, that’s fine. That’s wooing voters in America, especially these days. You’ll want to see those policy driven wins at some point, but this is how you start off on a foot that allows you the chance to broach those subjects with voters you might not otherwise reach. I look forward to the rest of the field having a little fun along the way in similar fashion. It really pays off.
You’ll remember last week she responded to a question on late-night TV about “domaingate” by buying SethMeyers.org. The fun didn’t end there.
When NBC’s Chuck Todd interviewed Fiorina on Sunday’s “Meet The Press,” he either set the presidential candidate up or thought her “Late Night” stunt would be the end of her trolling.
It wasn’t. Todd predictably brought up what Fiorina’s people are now humorously calling “domaingate.” After the show, the former CEO revealed that her team had also purchased chucktodd.org. That website also redirects to Fiorina’s campaign website.
And despite a week of attention being paid to Fiorina’s domain snafu, it turns out 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton also failed to purchase domain names. Hillaryclinton.net also redirects to Fiorina’s campaign website, although her team told Buzzfeed News they had nothing to do with the purchase.
Hillaryclinton.net, according to a GoDaddy domain registration search, belongs to a California man who doesn’t appear to be a big time donor. He gave a little over $1,000 to a Texas Tea Party organization in 2011, but there’s little other evidence of his political involvement. The Washington Examiner has reached out to him and will update this post if he responds.
The fact that she’s inspired this kind of activism from a Senate-era squatter on Hillary’s domain name is a ton of fun, and I’m sure her team is relishing it. The only thing I’d suggest is turning the domain names into customized mini, mocking splash pages for the campaign with Seth Meyers and Chuck Todd and Hillary themes, but that can come later. I’m also enjoying the incredible contrast Fiorina is offering with Hillary Clinton just by running for president and acting like an actual candidate. Joel Gehrke points out just how great that contrast is:
Carly Fiorina’s campaign points out that she has taken 314 more questions from the press than Hillary Clinton has since their respective presidential campaign announcements. Fiorina has answered 322 questions since last Monday according to a memo from her team, while, as Politico noted last week, Clinton has responded to just eight questions since launching her campaign on April 12.
“Unlike Hillary Clinton, I am not afraid to answer questions about my track record or my accomplishments or my principles,” Fiorina said on the stump and in the memo. Fiorina needs the press attention in order to make an underdog bid for the GOP nomination. Hillary Clinton is in a very different position, as the presumptive Democratic nominee.
I look for many things in a candidate. Perhaps the most important thing in the modern media environment is to know when to push back, to know how to turn a question around, be nimble, not take the media’s premises as they’re stated, and show a bit of charm while doing so. Plus, that kind of candidate keeps us entertained, and as long as we have to watch the whole thing, that’s the least they can do. Carly’s doing her part.