Carly Fiorina, the lone Republican female presidential candidate whose poised debate performance earned her the most attention yet of her campaign, said she was "very satisfied" with how she seized her prime-time opportunity.
"When I went in, half the audience had never heard my name and they didn’t know I was running for president,” she told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie on Thursday. “I think I successfully introduced myself to those who did not know me and demonstrated once again that I am the most qualified candidate on that stage to win the job and do the job.”
Fiorina’s debate performance created the loudest buzz on an evening where a crowded field of Republican rivals fought to steal the spotlight. She provided precise, well-versed answers to policy questions but it was her ability to take on Donald Trump that earned her the most points of the night.
The former HP executive, whose prime-time appearance Wednesday marked a graduation from her “kids table” attendance during the first Republican debate last month, drew the loudest response from the crowd when asked to respond to a recent insult Trump made about her looks, specifically, her face.
“I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” Fiorina said during the debate.
Asked again the next morning about her response, she told Guthrie: “Donald Trump says many things. And we all have to live with what we said.”
Fiorina denounced the idea that women are held to the same standard as men.
“Women are still caricatured and scrutinized and criticized differently. And I think it’s only a woman who would be criticized for her appearance while running for the highest office in the land,” she said.
Fiorina said that should she ultimately win the Republican nomination, and run directly against another woman, Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate, gender will have little to do with their qualifications.
“I’m not running for president because I’m a woman. I’ve never been a token in my life,” she said.
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