Carly Fiorina, the crowd-pleasing – if not first-tier – candidate for president, was midsentence at a dinner in Iowa last weekend when her microphone cut out, her allotted time up.
The audience, wanting more, groaned in protest, then cheered.
After the event, which wedged in 11 GOP presidential prospects over two hours, The Iowa Republican wrote that Fiorina “found the sweet spot.” Politico said she “killed it,” and Fox News offered in a headline, simply, that Fiorina “impresses crowd.”
This could be difficult to fathom for a candidate who has never held elected office, failed badly the only other time she tried – for U.S. Senate in California in 2010 – and barely registers in national polls.
Yet in the weeks since announcing her candidacy, Fiorina has gained an uncommon degree of attention in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire. She has endeared herself to conservatives who – while not considering Fiorina their first choice – relish her status as the Republican field’s only woman and most strident critic of the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton.