Carly Fiorina seeks foothold in N.H. after losing spot on ABC debate


GOFFSTOWN, N.H. — Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina thinks the game is rigged.

That was her message to potential voters on Saturday when around 100 people gathered at Maple Avenue Elementary School in Goffstown, NH to hear the former CEO of Hewlett Packard speak.

Coming off the heels of ABC’s announcement that she would not be able to participate in the Republican debate that night, Fiorina seemed eager to prove herself to the crowd. “I will never stop fighting and neither can you,” she said. She later joked that ABC might stand for "anyone but Carly."

While she stood in front of a banner that read #LetCarlyDebate, she urged voters to help her fight against her exclusion by using their smartphones and social media.

“Ever since I declared [my candidacy], I’ve been telling you the game is rigged… and if you ever had any doubt, just look at what’s happening on that stage tonight,” she said.

Former New Hampshire state representative Marilinda Garcia, who officially endorsed Fiorina in May, introduced the businesswoman at the town hall.

Garcia told the Daily Pennsylvanian that she decided to support Fiorina because of her experience and her articulation of her ideas. “You can tell she’s not someone who’s stuck on talking points,” she said.

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“She’s a very relatable woman — she’s battled breast cancer, she lost a daughter to substance abuse. So, you know, she talks about empathy a lot and I think that’s really important because she can empathize with people,” Garcia added.

Fiorina presented herself as an alternative to career politicians like Republican Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary Clinton with her strong emphasis on technology and a simplified tax plan.

“As the people of Iowa, you see candidates roll in here every four years. Ask yourself — how many times have you heard the same things over and over again?” she asked the crowd.

Her comments focused specifically on Clinton, who she seemed confident she could beat. “Regardless of whether you’ve decided to support me, you know in your heart of hearts that you can’t wait to watch the debate between me and Hillary Clinton.”

“You know I’m the best debater on this stage and you know that I have been fearless in telling the truth about Mrs. Clinton. She is a liar, she lacks a track record of accomplishment, she’s been wrong on every major foreign policy challenge,” she continued.

Notably missing from her commentary was Republican frontrunner and 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump. Despite her criticisms of other candidates, Fiorina mentioned Trump just once.

“We have to have somebody who understands that leadership is about challenging the system. We’ve gotten loads of people who are the system... We’ve got a crony capitalist named Donald Trump who is the system, too. He’s not going to challenge the system; he’s made billions of dollars buying people inside system,” she said.

After her speech, Fiorina answered questions from the audience spanning topics from religion to national security.

Newton, N.H. native Heather Bell was in the audience with her daughters Morgan and Madison. During the question-and-answer section of the meeting, Fiorina took a question from Morgan, age 12.

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“I just want to say that I think you’re a really respectable and inspirational lady and I just wanted to know what would be the first thing you do as president?” Bell asked.

In her answer, Fiorina doubled down on her strong foreign policy stance in combating national security threats, including ISIS and U.S. relations with Russia.

After the event ended, Heather Bell told the DP that she was impressed with Fiorina’s performance and how she interacted with her daughter.

“It was important for the girls to see her because I think she’s a really positive female role model. I think I knew I was going to be impressed,” she said.

Bell said that it was important to her that her daughters were politically engaged, even at a young age, and mentioned that they planned to attend more events during the weekend.

“They are the next generation, and it’s just so important that they’re knowledgeable and aware,” she said.

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