Nothing says holiday cheer more than a good ol' fashioned throwdown among political heavyweights vying to be leader of the free world. In Las Vegas on Tuesday, the last GOP debate of the year will be one to watch, if only to see whether the holiday season will imbue candidates with a little more warmth toward each other. Probably not, but one candidate who could see some renewed life on stage is Carly Fiorina, who made it into the primetime debate, thanks to a little rule boost from CNN. And it's with CNN once again that the former Hewlett-Packard CEO could rekindle a spark with American voters — so long as she answers one important question about a certain women's health center.
CNN, which will be hosting the GOP candidates for the second time this election season, decided to change up the qualifying rules. In order to make the primetime debate, candidates had to poll at least 3.5 percent nationally or 4 percent in Iowa or New Hampshire. According to CBS News, Fiorina, along with Rand Paul and Chris Christie, joined the primetime event through this side door criteria. It's not the first time that Fiorina has benefited from allowances made by the network.
For the second Republican debate, which was hosted by CNN in September, Fiorina, who had yet to gain national notoriety, was allowed to join the other primetime players largely because of her strong undercard performance with Fox News. During her first primetime face-off, Fiorina mic-dropped her now infamous retort to Trump's comments about her face. "I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said," she said, deadpan and straight at the camera. That CNN debate gave her a breakout moment in the presidential race, and America paid a little more attention to the only GOP woman in the running.
But Fiorina's momentum has considerably stalled since then. There were her factually incorrect assertions about Planned Parenthood harvesting fetuses and selling baby parts, claims that she still, to this day, vehemently stands by. And all the craze surrounding that controversy suddenly shifted in tone, after a gunman in November opened fire at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and allegedly muttered something about "baby parts" to law enforcement.
This debate will be the first time Americans get a good look at Fiorina in the aftermath of the horrific shooting. With Fiorina available to the public in primetime, so too will her answers on whether her inflammatory words could, in any way, be tied to that tragedy.