The last GOP debate of the year took place Tuesday night at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Hosted once more by CNN, the event saw the return of Dana Bash and Hugh Hewitt along with Wolf Blitzer as moderator. This debate marked an important turning point for many candidates as they eye the all-important Iowa Caucus. Carly Fiorina's closing statements reflect just how critical her strong performance is to her continued campaigning. Though she had once risen to second place in the polls, Fiorina has lately seen weakened numbers. According to a recent NBC / Wall Street Journal poll, she is now at just 5 percent, while current frontrunner Donald Trump's numbers are over five times that.
The former HP CEO had previously been rather quiet leading up to the debate. Prior to taking the stage at the Venetian, she had appeared in a puzzling IJ Review video in which she is surrounded by puppies, in an attempt to show a more lighthearted side of herself. Fiorina surely could use a bit of levity, given the intense criticism she's faced over statements she's made about Planned Parenthood. During the last CNN-hosted GOP debate on Sept. 16, the presidential hopeful discussed erroneous videos depicting Planned Parenthood engaging in illegal activities. Despite numerous outlets pointing out the falsehoods in her statements, she has continued to double down on them. In this debate, she showed strong conviction in her thoughts on that organization, as well as on such pressing issues as gun control and foreign policy.
Fiorina shined perhaps the strongest in her closing statement:
I too remember Sept. 11. I remember immediately putting into place security preocures all throughout our company that did business in 170 countries when we thought corporate interests would be attacked next. To take our country back, to keep our nation safe, we have to begin by beating Hillary Clinton. We need to unify our party. We need to be better than our government, which 75 percent of the American people now think is corrupt and incompetent. They're right. We need to be better than our politics. 80 percent think we have a professional political class of both parties that cares more about its power, position, and privilege than actually on getting anything done. We need to unify our party. I am and together if you join me we will take our country back.
Fiorina may had initially been frustrated when she was overlooked regarding questions about defense strategy, but she quickly hit her stride. The former businesswoman expertly attacked Donald Trump regarding his stance on Middle Eastern leaders, showing a keen knowledge of important foreign policy issues. She then once again set her sights on Hillary Clinton, as has consistently done during her campaign. Her past performances in debates is what elevated her from the preliminary forum to the prime-time events. Once again, Fiorina shows that she's done her homework, and used her time onstage wisely.