Well, the first round of the Republican Presidential Debates is in the books and, as expected, it was filled with some fireworks and strong rhetoric, and helped each candidate differentiate each other a bit from the next in an overcrowded field.
What was unexpected was that there was no real victor in the “Prime Time” debate among the top 10 candidates, but there was a clear winner in the earlier “Happy Hour” debate between the seven candidates that didn’t make the main stage cut. And the one that stood out the most was none other than former HP Chief Executive Carly Fiorina, according to early online polls, political pundits and social media feedback. Note: The VAR Guy is in no way endorsing any candidate.
However, that said, like it or not Fiorina is not going away anytime soon and will be a force to be reckoned with—and by all accounts will make the top-tier cut the next time around. Here are some of headlines after her debate performance.
CNN Politics: "Carly Fiorina shines in first GOP debate"
Washington Post: “Fiorina shines in happy hour debate. By a lot”
Fox News: “Did Carly Fiorina win the early republican debate?”
New York Post: “Trump-bashing Fiorina impresses in ‘Happy Hour’ debate”
So with all the collective political savvy of her Republican primary competitors such as Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and the others, it was Fiorina who impressed the most. I guess running one of the largest technology companies in the world during difficult economic times is good training ground. Fox News journalists, while complimented for their tough and pointed questions, have nothing on tech journalists, as Fiorina came prepared and was not rattled.
She wasn’t afraid to take on GOP front runner Donald Trump—although to be fair, Trump was not on the same stage at the time as he was part of the “Prime Time” debate. However, having covered Fiorina while she was CEO of HP, I do not think she would have changed a word.
Fiorina made some strong statements. But for anyone that knows, or has followed Fiorina, this kind of stance and performance from her is expected. As CEO of HP from 1999-2005, she became the first woman to lead one of the top 20 U.S. companies. She oversaw one of the largest mergers in high-tech history when HP bought Compaq in 2002. And although 30,000 American people were laid off mainly because of that deal, HP gained market share and ended up with more employees worldwide that each company had separately just three years later. During that time, Fiorina boldly represented HP and the company’s direction and decisions.
However, the massive stock market crash of 2008-2009 took its toll on many companies and boards of directors forced change. HP was no different and Fiorina resigned from the helm at HP. Fiorina took a lot of heat during her tenure at HP, but her legacy is largely positive. Hindsight being 20-20, most realize she led HP during one of the most difficult periods in the technology industry’s history.
So will she get the opportunity to run the United States during what will surely be a tumultuous time? Who knows? The road to the White House is a long way away and even if she becomes the Republican nominee, she will have to get past the Democratic juggernaut.
One thing is certain, however, and that is Fiorina so far is still standing.
Knock 'em alive!