That poised and confident answer was a sign of things to come for Fiorina. As people like Perry (still not a good debater), South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (why was he so sad???) and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (angry much?) struggled, Fiorina shined. She repeatedly hit on her knowledge of the world and foreign policy and, smartly for this Republican audience, went after Clinton on Benghazi.
What made Fiorina stand out -- more than what she said on any particular topic -- was that she looked up to the moment. She was prepared and poised. She rarely glanced at notes. She spoke freely and easily. She had the "it" factor.
Now, winning a debate of second tier candidates that ran at 5 p.m. Eastern time in early August is not the same as winning a general election debate in primetime. Fiorina has been getting rave reviews on the campaign trail but has yet to see any real gains -- either in national polling or surveys done in states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
It seems likely now though that she'll get the boost she's been waiting for. From there, it's up to her to keep it going.