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Carly the Communicator

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yahoo articleThe following is an excerpt from Liz Goodwin | September 17, 2015 | Yahoo.com |

In her impressive debate performance Wednesday night, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina deftly managed to back-foot the shameless Donald Trump for his jab at her looks, smoothly describe the geopolitics of the Middle East, and somehow link Iran and Planned Parenthood as two issues of “character” for the nation that garnered one of the loudest applause lines of the night.

Fiorina dominated the debate with a fluency and confidence that many of her rivals, far more seasoned in politics, were not able to muster. She also skillfully managed to interject herself in many of the exchanges, racking up the third most speaking minutes of any candidate. Her performance shows how far the former CEO has come since her failed and occasionally gaffe-filled 2010 run against California Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Back then, Fiorina was caught on a hot mic saying Boxer’s hair was “so yesterday,” opening up an attack from Boxer’s team that she was more preoccupied with hairstyles than policy. Two years earlier, when she was advising Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, she flubbed a TV interview when she said she didn’t believe McCain was qualified to be the CEO of a major corporation. She wasn’t allowed to do media interviews for the campaign after that.

This new, polished and confident Carly has internalized and learned from her earlier rookie mistakes.

“She is more sure-footed than she was in 2010, but that was her very first campaign,” says Ken Khachigian, a lawyer who advised the campaign then. “[That campaign] was like going to school and learning. It was an expensive education, but she learned a great deal.”

She’s also done her homework. After the Senate loss, she and her husband, Frank, moved from California to Northern Virginia where she’s been boning up on foreign and economic policy with the help of the American Enterprise Institute and other Washington think tanks. She has been living and breathing politics for the past few years.

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