Tonight's the night. Round Two.
At the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, 11 GOP presidential contenders will have their second opportunity to make their case for the White House. CNN and Salem Media are hosting the live event at 8 p.m. For one of the candidates in the spotlight, the journey to the stage was more difficult than most. CNN's strict criteria, which took into account poll numbers from before the first debate on Aug. 6, meant businesswoman Carly Fiorina did not make the cut. Her name was too unfamiliar for her to make much of a dent in presidential surveys. After her impressive performance at the first debate, however, Fiorina was more recognizable and it showed in the following polls. After some prodding from her supporters and pundits alike that CNN amend the rules and reward Fiorina for her rising poll numbers, the outlet did just that and gave her a well deserved spot on stage.
Although she has succeeded in reaching the 'big kids' debate, Fiorina tempered her celebration in an email to supporters Tuesday night, noting the flurry of criticism she has begun to receive:
As you know, getting on that debate stage wasn't easy.
You and I took on the political class and the mainstream media, and made sure they gave us the fair debate our country deserves. But while we won the fight, we made a lot of enemies in the process.
Already, they're starting to throw every baseless attack they can think of at this campaign--hoping to damage our momentum before I have a chance to introduce myself to the American people on Wednesday.
Frontrunner Donald Trump, perhaps sensing Fiorina's rising popularity, threw some strange insults her way last week: "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?" The business mogul tried to explain his comments away by suggesting he was talking about her "persona" and poor record as CEO of Hewlett Packard. Many failed to make the connection.
To her credit, Fiorina did not shy away from responding to the Donald as so many other of his GOP targets have done. Her campaign took Trump's 'look at that face' insult and turned it into a powerful ad that spoke to women of all ages.
As for Fiorina's liberal critcs, they are coming out in droves as well. Tuesday morning, the ladies of "The View" dedicated some of their "Hot Topics" time to discuss the Trump-Fiorina feud and aired part of Fiorina's new ad. Afterward, Raven-Symone mocked Fiorina for not showing a "closeup" of her face in the ad spot, while Joy Behar said the Republican candidate should be "ashamed" of herself for saying she's for women, because she doesn't support Obamacare or Planned Parenthood.
Since Joy can't fathom why Fiorina would be opposed to this "women's health" organization, I'll give her a hint.
Fiorina's being the target of these insults proves one thing: there is nothing more intimidating than a strong conservative woman. Thankfully, her voice will be heard at tonight's debate.