The second Republican debate featured another person on a crowded stage of hopeful candidates on the night of September 16th. Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, was added to the lineup for an engaging debate among eleven contenders. Ms. Fiorina’s outstanding performance a few weeks ago with candidates in the secondary debates propelled her forward to prime time. She did not disappoint.
Fiorina demonstrated knowledge, wisdom and poise. She was focused, assertive and well prepared with appropriate facts and figures. Her corporate experience, as CEO of a major company in the competitive technology field that included dealing with rigorous and pointed questions from shareholders and Wall Street stock analysts, honed her skills. By comparison, the debate must have been a piece of cake.
The only female candidate chose her words carefully – and clearly understood the difference between words and the power of silence. In a firm response to a malicious written personal attack by Donald Trump regarding her face and persona, Ms. Fiorina’s few words, well chosen, trumped The Donald’s last words – demonstrating all the difference between a rogue and a professional.
Fiorina tackled cogently foreign policy issues by stressing the need for decisive leadership in facing heads of rogue states and other enemies of the United States and the need to restore adequate military capability for the security of the country. She showed strength on domestic issues especially regarding the drug epidemic, opposed legalization and related it to the painful experience of the death of her daughter to drug overdose. Though this did not come up in the debates, Ms. Fiorina has been an adviser to several government agencies and cabinet members giving her enough relevant exposure and experience to enable her to transition into a top national position.
In closing the debate the candidates were asked what sort of America they envisaged at the end of their presidency. Ms. Fiorina’s answer referencing Lady Liberty and Lady Justice and how she expressed what they stood for were refreshing, inspirational and a credible foresight of a Fiorina presidency. As Margaret Thatcher supposedly said: “Once a woman is made equal to a man, she becomes his superior.” Carly Fiorina clearly demonstrated that last night.
Although voting to choose the Republican standard-bearer for the November 2016 elections is still several months away, voters were given a lot of food for thought from the sole woman candidate. As for future debates farther down the road, a presidential face-to-face encounter between a Republican Fiorina and a Democratic Clinton would be a truly awesome experience.
Vincenzina Santoro is an international economist. She represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations.