While Trump's latest gaffe appears to have had no material effect on his still-soaring poll numbers, Fiorina — or more accurately, Fiorina's super PAC — has turned his attack into the best ad of the 2016 presidential cycle so far. Here it is:
Fiorina's words come from a speech she delivered over the weekend to the National Federation of Republican Women in Arizona. But what makes the ad so good are the various faces of women — young and old — who are shown on screen as Fiorina talks about being a woman in this presidential race. The faces are captivating and powerful; they take a nice speech by Fiorina and turn it into an inspirational call to action for women everywhere.
"This is the face of a 61-year-old woman ... I am proud of every year and every wrinkle," Fiorina says at the ad's close, a message that not only could none of her male opponents deliver but also one with reach well beyond just the Republican base.
I've always thought it made sense for Fiorina to run for president in 2016, given that the other 15 people running are all men and that the likeliest Democratic nominee is Hillary Clinton. Any sort of strong performance would almost by necessity put Fiorina in the mix for a VP slot or a spot in a GOP president's Cabinet.
But Fiorina's performance on the campaign trail — she was the single best debater at either the kiddie- or adult-table debate last month — coupled with the rise of Trump and his tendency to say off-color (at best) things about women have put Fiorina in an enviable and unexpected position in the race. She is now the anti-Trump, or at least the candidate who has, to date, best been able to deal with the bows and arrows he lofts her way.
Fiorina's presence on the main stage at the CNN debate Wednesday in California is likely to further cement her as Trump's foil — if she plays it right. Fiorina would be smart to bring up the comments Trump made about her looks and, basically, reprise the speech she gave this past weekend.
Fiorina is in a perfect spot to put a face to the attacks Trump is leveling and position herself as an alternative outsider choice for Republican voters looking for someone other than Trump through which to channel their discontent with the political system. If this ad is any indication, the Fiorina team understands her present position and will move to capitalize on it in 48 hours time.