Carly Fiorina Actually Owned Her Debate Question On Donald Trump

In a surprisingly insightful moment, Carly Fiorina figured out Donald Trump in the Republican debate on Thursday night, during the 5 p.m. forum for the lowest-polling candidates. Before the first commercial break had even passed, the subject of The Donald came up from the moderators, and Fiorina was ready with a pretty smart response.

Kicking the candidates when they were already down, moderator Martha MacCaullum pointed out the huge polling disparity between Trump, the Republican frontrunner, and the seven candidates who were not invited to the prime-time event. She asked Fiorina, "Is [Trump] getting the better of you?"

Though this was a theoretically easy question because no candidate will ever answer "Yes" to something like that, Fiorina's response had a lot of snark. She responded, "Well, I don't know — I didn't get a phone call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race. Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton? I didn't. Maybe it's because I hadn't given money to the foundation or donated to his wife's senate campaign."

Her response, delivered as she gazed at her fellow candidates with a falsely questioning look of humor, references Trump's close ties to the Clinton family. Trump's open support of the Clintons certainly made for a few awkward moments when he announced that he was running against the former first lady.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Fiorina went on: "Here's the thing that I would ask Trump, in all seriousness. He is the party's frontrunner right now, and good for him. I think he's tapped into an anger that people feel. They're sick of politics as usual. You know, whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hope would be resolved, the political class has failed you. That's just a fact, and that's what Donald Trump taps into."

Fiorina might have finally figured out why Trump tops the Republican polls. Analysts claimed it was the showmanship or the one-issue platform, but Fiorina might be right. Maybe the middle class is so upset with politicians that they will take absolutely anyone else.

She continued, "I would also just say this: Since he has changed his mind on amnesty, on health care, and on abortion, I would just ask, 'What are the principles by which he will govern?'"

Although slams among candidates are to be expected, Fiorina answered her question with maturity and thoughtfulness. Her answer raised the question of what Trump would say if he were on the stage as well, were he not prepping for the main event.