Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina Won Tonight's GOP Debate With This One Moment

The former tech exec took down Trump with a single, killer line.


Carly Fiorina barely made it into tonight's GOP presidential debate, but she's being declared the night's biggest winner. It had a lot more to do with how she presented herself than with the specifics of what she said. Regardless of whether you liked the content of her answers, she seemed more polished and prepared than any other candidate on stage.

She was, by far, the most confident of the candidates on stage, delivering strikingly composed responses as if reading from a teleprompter and pushing easily beyond the time limits (weakly) enforced by moderators, coming in third in total talk time. She was also more effective than any other candidate so far in attacking Trump, the frontrunner, as a failed businessperson. 

But her win really comes down to a single moment, in which she was prompted to respond to Donald Trump's recent insult about her appearance. Here's how that exchange went down:

Debates, especially with an entertainment figure like Trump in the race, are as much—arguably much more—about stagecraft, polish, presentation, and drama as they are about policy substance. And Fiorina pulled this moment off perfectly. 

NEXT: What Will Emails Clinton Thought She Destroyed Reveal?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

    1. Who was “Mr Bush”?

      Also, Donald thinks Carly is a beautiful woman, or whatever.

      1. So they need to get themselves a hotel room already… Can we watch!??!

      2. I’m puzzled too. There was Holy War Bush (death to dopers and women’s health clinics), War Bush (if it moves, bomb it or jail it), and now Jeb Clampitt Bush (deportaci?n, proibici?n)

    2. Stop using your brain for this.

      Here’s why people by Coca-Cola.

      People stopped supporting Howard Dean because he squealed like a girl on camera once.

      This is how our emperors are chosen.

      1. Yup, squealing will do you in… Talk like Darth Vader is FAR better!

        Which of the two of them has the deepest voice?…..144338.htm
        ‘Caveman instincts’ may favor deep-voiced politicians
        Deeper voices convey strength, competence more than age and experience

        See also?…..230602.htm
        Voters favor deep-voiced politicians

        What does this mean to us, you ask? Well, I say, if, for instance, if you are faced with a choice between voting for “The Donald” Trump, and, say, Darth Vader, you should NOT trouble yourself too terribly much with near-meaningless questions like “Which character is more fictional?”; you should simply ask yourself, “Who has the deepest voice”? And then, you should obviously vote for Darth Vader!

        1. I would have followed Eazy-E to the grave. Eazy-E, honey, we love you! (Shut up, baby, I know it!)

    3. If that was the highlight, then it must have Benn, like, the most boringest debate in eternity.

      1. I suspect you’re right. I watched about 45 seconds of it and then wandered out of the room, accompanied by a sudden and mysterious nausea.

  1. Watching that debate made me feel disoriented and hungover. Why did I do this to myself.

  2. They’re going to be so nice together on the ticket

    1. “Hello, Horseface.”

      “Hello, Rughead.”

    2. Sounds like a new sitcom!

      Or have we reached the point where we might as well make a reality TV show in the White House? Wouldn’t be hard to sell Trump on it, I’d imagine.

      1. Already been done by Stone and Parker from South Park. It was called “That’s my Bush!” On Comedy Central. Back in the day, for, like a season.

  3. Carly would make a much better president than all but one or two of the other candidates–and that includes the Democrats.

    She would destroy Hillary Clinton in a debate, and a Bernie Sanders campaign would have a hard time with her, as well.

    1. Walker, Rand, and Cruz would probably be better. Maybe Webb?

      1. Walker is a complete dumbass and Cruz is a fundamentalist loon.

    2. Something about Fiorina makes her seem like she has an overly rigid and conventional mentality, and it bugs me. Not sure what this trait is exactly.

      Though yeah, I agree she’d be better than most of the available alternatives.

    3. I’ll vote for her if she makes Hillary collapse on stage and be carted off never to be heard of again, and offers a sobbing apology for her WOD hair brained slobbering drivel, and promises to never say anything so stupid ever again. I think after that apology, 40 nights in the desert flogging herself with a cactus, would be sufficient.

      1. Didn’t she say the states should be free to decide on their own?

      2. If Fiorina were to end up running against Hillary and then repeatedly demolished Hillary in one derbate after another – like a battleship destroying a tugboat – I would not only vote for her, hell, I would buy the boxed set of DVDs.

        1. derbate

          I’m going with “derpbate”. Thanks!

    4. Someone needs to teach Carly how to smile.

  4. Carly may have said some stupid things about military spending and MJ but if she can make Trump bleed, it’s all okay.

  5. Carly clearly won the debate if you’re a simple minded fuckstick stuck in puberty. Otherwise, Rand was the clear winner.

    1. Unfortunately, Rand has no chance. He blew it in the last debate and most Americans have been brainwashed to reject ‘cruel’ Libertarianism in favor of ‘compassionate’ Socialism.

      1. Amen brother

    2. Here ‘s the deal dumb shit and my first choice is Rand. He made a few good points, but didn’t get a lot of time. That you are a whiny ass bitch won’t win over many folks who might consider liberty as an important issue.

    3. Ban abortion (overturn Roe, rewrite the 1st and 14th). Sounds right Republican. Kinda soft on mohammedans and furriners though.

  6. Carly may not be a perfect candidate, but she’s the best choice compared to the others–with the exception of Rand Paul, who has no chance of winning the nomination, or the presidency.

    1. And she’s a drug warrior. I can’t vote for her ever if she can’t recant her position on one of the biggest crimes against humanity in modern times. No libertarian can look past this.

      1. What candidate (Democrat or Republican) isn’t a drug warrior? I like Paul but he has no chance. At least Carly is open to letting states decide. That’s better than most Republicans.

        1. Eh. I suspect she’s too personally invested in the issue of drugs given that one of her children ODed or something. I wouldn’t expect her to be capable of detaching herself enough to form rational policy decisions on this.

          1. Well, then she should realize that drug laws aren’t working.

        2. Really? I have no chance of fucking caring! I’ll vote 3rd party if Rand doesn’t get the GOP nomination. No one else worth considering.

          1. Dude, no one gives a fuck about a nitwit….

          2. I’ll probably be in the same boat.

            1. You know, you don’t have to vote. I voted on all the down ticket questions in 08, but couldn’t bring myself to pull the lever for either Mc Cain or Obama, so I left that one blank.
              Also, you can always vote for Almanian: He probably won’t make anything worse.

          3. That’s stupid. That’s very stupid.

        3. Not only what candidate isn’t a drug warrior, what human on the planet isn’t? It’s the conventional wisdom, not considered controversial except around the edges, such as the aforementioned letting states decide. If you rule people out on the basis of that, you pretty well confine yourself to the sidelines.

      2. No libertarian can look past this.

        No true libertarian, plenty of faux ones will however.

        1. Lightning might strike, or two heart attacks or rumor scandals. I’m backing the LP candidate. I just hope it’s better’n a yaller dawg.


    2. He just doesn’t seem to have the “fire in the belly”, dies he?

      1. Paul is fighting against 80 years of entrenched Socialism. Can’t imagine anyone capable of stemming that tide. It took a long time to get us into this fiscal mess, and it’s going to take a long time to get us out.

        1. Well, we could start by supporting a guy like Paul.

        2. No doubt, but it’s going to take someone who can project an aura of passion about the subject, while still being able to speak knowledgably about the subject.

          I’m thinking Tom Woods or Robert Murphy.

          I think it would be better for Congress to put the President (whomever he may be) back in his rightful place as Congress’ errand boy.

          1. Robert Murphy would be great.

          2. Won’t happen. Congress likes the lack of accountability that a strong executive gives them.

        3. You’re pretty optimistic, if you think we can get out of this fiscal mess.

          At a national debt of $107,000 per household, we are doomed to collapse.

          Good news is that collapses happen really scarily fast. Bad news is that collapses usually open the door for totalitarianism to step in.

          1. People pay off more than that in mortgages, so what makes you think a debt of $107g/household can’t be carried, or even eventually paid off?

    3. It’s the modern catch 22. He’d have a good shot at the presidency, but unfortunately he’s got no shot at the Republican nomination. Looks like I’ll be sitting this one out boys. Again.

    1. Wow so witty! Not.

  7. I’m not a Fiorino supporter, but this is the way to cut down Trump—with a scalpel, not a blunderbuss.

    You can’t bullshit a bullshitter. And you can’t out-blunder a blunderer. Going full-force attack mode on Trump is never going to work. Use Trump supporters’ simplicity against them—short soundbytes that aren’t mean-spirited, but still cut deep. It’ll take its toll, although much slower than many would hope.

    1. “with a scalpel, not a blunderbuss.”

      You are wrong but at least you understand that Peter Suderman and the rest of the reason staff is wrong as well.

      “Trump supporters’ simplicity”

      You are also an idiot.

      1. Why so? The whole support of him is because the political class has failed and disappointed these voters in the last, they’re willing to follow the loudest voice in opposition to such forces, policy positions be damned.

        Is that a wrong interpretation?

        1. *in the past

      2. Trump supporters are simpletons, he’s right. Ever try to have a discussion with one? It’s tedious. I have pointed out to several of them that even if Trump magically gets a wall built AND gets the Mexicans to pay for it, that we are also assuming that A) Mexicans can’t build tunnels, B) the largest land border in the world is somehow airtight without a wall, C) a wall on the southern border will automatically remove the concept of people overstaying their Visas, D) that rounding up 11+ million people is particularly easy, and E) Mexico will also pay to deport 11+ million people.

        The usual response from the Trump fans? Suck it, TRUMP 2016!!

    2. It’ll convince rednecks he’s a Washington soft machine puppet?

  8. “she’s being declared the night’s biggest winner.”

    Drudge poll says different:

    TRUMP 60.9% (224,456 votes)

    To gaze at the magnificence of Peter “nativist racist” Suderman’s giant pile of shit is to wonder if it gazes back.

    And then realizing no…it is to mesmerized by the cunt-mouth staring back at him in the mirror.

    1. Drudge polls are SO like, scientific! Like,I mean, oh my god! For sure, you know?

    2. Ahh…Corning stupid FTW…get a grip….

  9. I’m not sure how Suderman counts that exchange as a plus for Fiorina. You could tell she wanted to call Trump a fucking liar when he called her a “beautiful woman”, but didn’t dare. All while wearing a face that justified Trump’s remark. She looked like she had just bit into a lemon.

    1. The question never should have been asked. Half of her speaking time was after questions about things Trump said about her. She had a right to be pissed.

      CNN made the debate half about Trump. He was worked into nearly every question for the first hour of the debate. And if you think about it, most people probably only tuned in for the early going and switched off as it wore on.

      1. That’s right. The story is still about Trump. And as long as that’s the case, he’s winning.

      2. Exactly this. Somehow, every cross-section of every question and every issue now goes through Trump. So the race has, in essence, become: “Are you with or against Trump on Issue X.” When you frame it as a two-sides thing like this on every single issue, there are only two options. And when there are several candidates against Trump, that vote becomes diluted.

        1. And if the candidate says they agree with Trump, that benefits Trump as the other one just made themselves a pale reflection, so why vote for them instead of Trump?

      3. CNN made the debate half about Trump. He was worked into nearly every question for the first hour of the debate.

        I suspect the reason the moderators worked him into so many of their questions was to test the loyalty pledge the RNC whined the candidates into signing out of fear that Trump would do a 3rd party run. What makes that so funny is now that Trump’s numbers have been running so high, members of the donor class are saying they’ll vote 3rd party if Trump is nominated.

  10. “but didn’t dare”

    No, she connected, and knew enough to leave it at that.

    It’s called intelligence self control.

    1. She won that exchange decisively without bloodying herself. It’s the best possible outcome for her.

    2. Yep, she was far more agile on her feet than the rest of these clowns. Not saying I agree with all her positions, but consider who she has to pander to on the Socon level.

      I’d pay to see her debate the Hildebeest . That would be epic.

  11. And seriously Suderman – fuck this little quip bullshit. CNN ran a shitshow debate, and Fiorina did little to distinguish herself from any other Republican on stage in terms of where she stands on any issue.

    1. She’s better than the rest of these clowns.

      They are all statist fucks, she seems to be less so. Time will tell. And you didn’t watch if you didn’t see Fiorina skewer several of the favorites in a very effective manner.

      1. Anyone who thinks she has a chance to beat Hillary when she couldn’t even win a Senate election in a Republican wave year is kidding themselves.

        1. Past performance guarantees future performance?

        2. So Fiorina couldn’t win a senate race as a R in D heaven California…not exactly a salient point.

          1. Past performance guarantees future performance?

            So Fiorina couldn’t win a senate race as a R in D heaven California…not exactly a salient point.

            Weak rejoinders from both of you. There are plenty of R candidates that won their elections in supposed “D heavens” in 2010 and 2014. They wouldn’t have been able to take the House and Senate otherwise, or win governorships. The only reason she’s getting any serious consideration isn’t because of her policy prescriptions or her previous record–it’s because the Republican donor class thinks they’ll be able to squeal “MISOGYNY!!” when the Dems start hammering her on her actual positions.

    2. Style wins over substance. It has been true of televised debates since Kennedy-Nixon.

      1. To be fair, when it come to the presidency, style does matter. POTUS is the nation’s most visible leader, and the attitude they bring will affect people’s confidence in their country, the tone of political discourse, and relationships with other nations. Electing someone who is calm, warm, but very assertive will lead to more positive results, other things being equal.

        Electing a thin-skinned narcissist whose only real virtue is being an outsider to the cesspit of DC politics (hailing instead from a completely different cesspit), will bring us closer to national failure.

        Think of it like a general — being able to inspire troops boosts morale which leads to better outcomes; not enough to offset inability to plan or execute a decent strategy, of course, but advisors can help with that.

  12. Another view. Apparently not everyone was so impressed.

    1. LOL, you bring stupid up….

      1. Really, dude? U R Stooopid to every post? Here is a tip. When you can’t articulate better than “U R Stooopid” you should probably not post anything. Rather than making your target look stupid, it makes you look like someone who is so ignorant they can’t come up with any real arguments.

        No, UR Stooopid!!!1!!one!!

  13. What a surprise, another “Carly won the debate” narrative from the media. I expected as much after she “won” the kid’s table debate and the rules were changed to allow her into this debate. The media is pushing it, but are the electorate buying it?

  14. She needs to put the wooden spoon look down and smile more.

    But she held her own.

    Not easy to deal with a personality like Trump in a debate.

  15. So Fiorina “won” because she was willing to use the vagina card?

    Okay, so I didn’t watch the debate last night. And, if that’s all it took to be declared the winner, I didn’t miss anything.

    1. Exactly! This made her look like a pouty petulant woman basking in her victimhood.

      1. It would have been much better for her to have stated that there are far more serious problems being faced by this nation than focusing on someone saying “hurtful” things.

        1. That’s actually the appropriate response because it effectively neuters Trump’s personal attacks going forward. All her remark showed is that she’s not afraid to buy into the WAR ON WIMMENZ!! meme, which is a long-term loser for any GOP candidate. Bonus points for her delivering the line like a shrewish, nagging housewife.

  16. She was attacking him, the failed businessperson,


    She, the failed businessperson, was attacking him???

  17. Childish to attack people’s looks. A real GOP politician attacks their villages with aircraft and bombs.

  18. Impression I got was that she’s a warmonger.

  19. This clip is too short to provide the needed context. You really need to see the exchange between Trump and Bush immediately beforehand to understand how effective her comeback was. I laughed out loud when it happened, and I have no strong opinion of Carly Fiorina either way.

  20. Fiorina is a fraud, just like Trump, Paul, Clinton, Sanders , and all the rest , and just like Obama is.

    The “debate” over how to “best” spend your money for you [rather than you doing so], dear reader , was a complete waste of time, a distraction, nothing more.

    Governments, and presidential candidates, regardless of whether they are elected or not, do not solve problems, only create more of them :-). As long as they/it get your money and spend it however they wish, they don’t/ and won’t, give a flying fuck about you and your problems.

    Fact: there are _no_ political solutions for _any_ percieved “problem” ; never have been, never will be – not “right wing”, not “left wing” , not even so-called “Ron Paul”, or “libertarian” solutions.

    Fact: As long as you believe that real political solutions actually exist, dear reader, you will remain firmly locked inside “the Matrix”; i.e. exactly where the Obama’s, Trumps, Sanders , Pauls, etc. all want you to be:-)

    Fact: the author of this article is just another in the endless stream of “inside the matrix” writers doing their utmost to keep you firmly buried/entrenched deep inside that “matrix”, by encouraging/flattering yours and others here endless fantasies of dreamed of political “solutions” to yours, the country’s, or the world’s, problems, when in fact, there are none, can be none, and never have been any 🙂 .

    Regards, onebornfree.

    1. Fact: Your shameless self promotion and ever so slighty re-worded talking points that you habitually regurgitate on this blog are fucking tedious.

    2. Stop spamming, asshole. I just sent a report, so hopefully will be warned or removed soon, dick.

      1. Why are you guys coming down so hard on this one? Everyone who posts is into self-promotion. Everyone has themes.

  21. Can I be Carly’s speech-writing intern?

    Alternative response:

    “Sticks and stones may break my bones, you know, so these types of remarks from Mr. Trump don’t hurt me, although they do speak to his character.

    I just hope that his attacks stop at the verbal level, and that he doesn’t try to do a “Vera Coking” on me, and try to steal my house, using eminent domain, to build himself a limo parking lot. If he does, I will be forced to use eminent domain to steal his comb-over, to set up housing for abused and homeless lice and fleas.”

  22. CNN had this as one of the awkward moments in the debate. (They said it was awkward for Fiorina.)

  23. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  24. Women aren’t hard of hearing. Can’t emphasize that enough.

  25. Not familiar with her connection with al Mansour but Carly is a big establishment Republican who believes in man-made global warming, Common Core, the Dream Act and is in agreement with Jeb’s immigration policy. She has a silver tongue that is able to make people believe she is a D.C. outsider who wants what we do . ..

  26. Carly Fiorina chooses to believe that the Islamic Ottoman Empire was the greatest in the world. Like Chris Christie, she is snuggled with Islamists. In a speech that was given a mere two weeks after Islamic jihadists attacked America, the former HP chief executive officer gave a speech on technology, business and our way of life. She glorified Islam and made only slight mention of European Christians and Jews having much to do with modern civilization.

    Carly Fiorina talks a good game for the electorate of America, but in reality, she is another neo-conservative player who belongs more to the noxious left than to the old Constitutional right. She’ll never get my vote.
    K Nelson

  27. I wish she hadn’t specified that “women” heard his comments loud and clear. I think most men including me thought it further demonstrated his dbagginess. Limiting offense to women comes off as pandering.

  28. That’s the way to do it. You don’t have to say much — just let Trump fall right down his own gaping pie-hole.

  29. I’m liking Fiorina more and more as I hear her address the issues. She deserves to win and the Republican Party deserves to be given the good shaking up she will give them.

    Can’t wait for the next debate to see what happens next.

  30. I’m liking Fiorina more and more as I hear her address the issues. She deserves to win and the Republican Party deserves to be given the good shaking up she will give them.

    Can’t wait for the next debate to see what happens next.

  31. “Carly Fiorina Won Tonight’s GOP Debate With This One Moment. The former tech exec took down Trump with a single, killer line.”

    Oh, nothing shallow about this “analysis” at all.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.