Sledge of the Day

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard sledges out Hilary Clinton.

“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe,” said Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard. “But unlike her, I’ve actually accomplished something. You see, Mrs. Clinton, flying is not an accomplishment; it is an activity.”

She was speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit and had attendees on their feet with her speech.

The audience roared and was suddenly engaged, hanging on her words as she criticized Clinton on one issue after another. And when she landed on Benghazi?”Unlike Hillary Clinton, I know what difference it makes that our American ambassador and three other brave Americans were killed in a deliberate terrorist attack”?the crowd surged to its feet with a standing ovation.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen her in person, and, frankly, I was moved by the speech. That takes a lot,” says Sam Clovis, a former conservative radio host and tea-party favorite in Iowa. “It was the perfect speech on the perfect topic at the perfect place at the perfect time given in the perfect manner.”

Fiorina, the only Republican woman actively considering a run for the White House, is taking on Clinton more forcefully and directly than any other GOP contender. It’s a deliberate strategy meant to make headlines, differentiate her from the pack, and elevate her position on the national stage. And in the process, it’s winning her friends, as Fiorina assumes an attack role that many Republican strategists think male GOP candidates need to avoid.

Fiorina has a big PAC behind her and cash flowing…she is getting aggressive.

Now, midterms behind her, Fiorina and her super PAC have shifted from defense to offense, assuming the role of chief Clinton antagonist. “Republicans are looking for someone that can both present a positive optimistic vision for the future and act as an effective critic of Hillary Clinton,” says Stephen DeMaura, a former aide at Unlocking Potential who now runs the super PAC supporting Fiorina, Carly for America. “So when people call Carly the anti-Hillary, we welcome that.”

Indeed, this is the role Fiorina sought.

Clinton “will play the gender card over and over again, which is unfortunate but predictable,” Fiorina told National Journal’s Nancy Cook recently.

“Democrats play identity politics,” she said. “It’s dismissive of women; it’s insulting to women. It’s inaccurate in the supposed facts that it lays out. Democrats think identity politics has worked, and unfortunately, they have a lot of evidence to support that it works. So, we have to push back hard.”

Not many male candidates will be so eager to take on gender politics this cycle. They are being advised to tread cautiously. “There’s a natural hesitance from male candidates when they’re running against a woman to be too aggressive, because if they’ve run against a woman, they’ve probably been burned by this before,” says Katie Packer Gage, who was Mitt Romney’s deputy campaign manager in 2012 and is now a partner at the GOP firm Burning Glass Consulting.

Things are getting interesting with Obama actively working against Clinton and the GOP now getting smarter about engaging.


– National Journal