Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is many things, but timid is not one of them. Despite sliding dangerously in the polls over the past month and a half, Fiorina has somehow managed to maintain the numbers needed to appear on the main stage of the Republican presidential primary debates. On Tuesday night, at the fourth GOP showdown, Fiorina's impassioned closing statement proved exactly why she still deserved to be there.
The fourth debate was slated to be a pivotal moment for the businesswoman. According to several major polls, Fiorina has been sitting at a steady 3 percent since last week — down nearly nine percentage points since her high of 11.8 in late September. Although most critics agreed that Fiorina had won the first 2016 pre-show forum and the second GOP prime-time debate singlehandedly, the former CEO failed to capitalize on that spotlight. Instead, at the third debate, she hoisted all of her focus onto a single, tired topic (Planned Parenthood). Within weeks, Fiorina's popularity with the fickle primary voter base had waned.
In Fiorina's defense, that sort of knee-jerk reaction — where one day you're in, and the next you're out — isn't uncommon. But the fourth debate was a landmark moment in her 2016 campaign; it was generally accepted that her performance would determine whether she'd continue in the race or go the way of former rivals Scott Walker and Rick Perry. Ultimately, she came out on top.
With her closing, Fiorina asked the audience to picture an alternate future in which Hillary Clinton had won the presidency. Read the statement in full below:
Imagine, a Clinton presidency. Our military will continue to deteriorate, our veterans will not be cared for, and no, Mrs. Clinton, that situation is not exaggerated. The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer. The middle class will continue to get crushed. And as bad as that picture is, what's even worse is that a Clinton presidency will corrode the character of this nation.
Why? Because of the Clinton way. Say whatever you have to, lie as long as you can get away with it. We must beat Hillary Clinton. Carly Fiorina can beat Hillary Clinton. I will beat Hillary Clinton. And under a President Fiorina, we will restore the character of this nation. The security of this nation. The prosperity of this nation. Because as citizens, we will take our government back.