During the first debate, that is to say the very first GOP debate this year, Carly Fiorina took a shot at Donald Trump, questioning if any of her other comrades got a call from Bill Clinton before joining the race. That shot went un-responded to by Donald Trump, who appeared later in the day on that same debate stage. Perhaps he did not feel like a swipe from someone so low in the polls warranted a response, or he was too caught up in his battle with Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly at the time to notice.
Oh what a difference a month makes. Fiorina’s numbers have been climbing after an impressive showing at the first debate. She now will be sharing the main stage with Trump and nine others, having earned the right by virtue of last month’s performance. Many Americans have started to take notice of her, and apparently so has Trump. During a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, he made a comment about her looks, suggesting no one would want to vote for her because of them. He denied that he was referring to her looks, but her persona. (uh, right…) To her credit, Carly choose not to respond defensively and suggested merely that it was her rise in the polls that prompted the remark.
That’s not to suggest that Trump has not grown as a candidate, he has. He has at given at least some details on how he will enact some of his policies. He has fleshed out his response to the illegal immigrant question beyond building a wall. He as outlined his tax policy, one that differs from those of most of his rivals in that is not a ‘flat’ or ‘fair’ tax system. He has announced his plan for dealing with ISIS, basically: surround them and take their oil, cut off their major source of revenue. His transformation to a candidate, if not a politician, has made strides.
Fiorina for her part, has kept her focus on the Democrats. Her views on Hillary’s and Obama’s foreign and domestic policy failures are still her bread and butter on the campaign trail. The only difference now is that more people are listening. She’s so fine tuned her anti-Hillary message, one wonders if she will be able to pivot to another opponent should Clinton wind up being indicted or overtaken by one of her political rivals.
Thursday on CNN, there will be another debate, one that will serve as a road mark for the candidates. It will be a chance to see how far these candidates have come and in what ways they have grown and might still need to grow. Donald Trump will be in it for the long-haul and so does it seem with Carly Fiorina. They say leopards don’t change their spots, but will these two see need to change their tactics? For Fiorina, it will be telling if she broadens her attacks, or stays focused on Hillary. For Trump, can he be both statesman and showman? Can the two coexist peacefully on the debate stage? We’ll find out in a few days.