"Fires back" may be a tad hyperbolic, given the upbeat tone of the spot and the lack of any explicit reference to The Donald. But Fiorina's exhortation to a room full of Republican women to "look at this face" is a very clear, if admirably restrained, retort to Trump's personal insult:
The billionaire at first claimed that his mockery of Fiorina's personal appearance was actually a critique of her "persona," then adjusted his spin to suggest his remarks were offered "as an entertainer." Fiorina has wisely avoided pound-the-table outrage over the controversy, opting instead to own the attack ("I'm proud of every wrinkle") and poke some fun:
She's sharpened her tone a bit in the lead up to Wednesday's CNN/Salem Radio GOP debate, which she's fought her way into. Fiorina pledged to "challenge Hillary Clinton...and the 'entertainer' who's running for office" at the high-stakes forum, so things may get interesting when Trump and Carly meet face-to-"persona." Will this kerfuffle harm Trump's standing among women? That remains to be seen. A recent CNN survey showed the GOP frontrunner gaining 13 points with Republican-aligned women, leading the field comfortably. Then again, that poll was in the field prior to this dust-up, and a buzzy USA Today piece over the weekend indicated that perhaps Trump had finally said something that's beginning to undermine his image among some right-leaning voters:
Sawyer said she and her husband had been telling each other that as soon as Trump came anywhere near their town, they'd go see him to witness "the energy and positive message." "Now, no interest," Sawyer said. "It was the Carly Fiorina comment. Not that it was that horrible, because he's said other more horrible things, but I was like, 'OK, this is third-grade.' His social skills are just not presidential." Reynolds criticized Trump's comments as feeding the "phony narrative" spun by Democrats about a GOP war on women. That narrative isn't playing out among top Iowa elected officials, where women have stepped into leadership as U.S. senator, Iowa House speaker, state auditor, 14 of the state department head jobs and other roles, she said...Several Republican women who participated in the Aug. 23-27 Iowa Poll who were considering voting for Trump in the Feb. 1 caucuses have now changed their minds, they told a Register reporter who checked in with them again last week. Rosalie Kendall, who heads the Burlington Tea Party Patriots, said she had been floating between Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, whom she supported in the 2012 Iowa caucuses. But she's ruled out Trump, she told the Register. The way Trump belittles women and regularly calls people "stupid" quickly grew tiresome, she said. "Just because he's Trump doesn't give him the right to do that. It only makes him look foolish, turning people off — like me," said Kendall, a 78-year-old retired assembly line worker. "He's no better than anybody in God's eyes. Just because he's got money, that doesn't make him better than anybody else."
But anecdotes aren't necessarily indicative of larger trends. As is advisable these days, I'll believe Trump has a problem on his hands if and when there's real evidence to back up that proposition. Before you go, be sure to watch the latest ad from Scott Walker, whose must-win-Iowa strategy is in serious jeopardy. He's slid from first place to 10th place in Quinnipiac's statewide survey...since July, so he's returning to his bread and butter:
Walker announced his intention to end federal employee unions as president in a guest HotAir column earlier today.