Carly Fiorina opened Thursday night’s undercard Republican debate with a harsh swipe at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. “Unlike another woman in this race, I actually like spending time with my husband,” Fiorina said during her opening statement.
sick burn // Carly Fiorina takes a swipe at Hillary Clinton https://t.co/m2uQndYw28
— Allison Michaels (@AllisonGolds) January 14, 2016
Clinton has recently received criticism over the sexual history of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Republican front-runner Donald Trump has struck out at the former secretary of state for bringing her husband onto the campaign trail, and has accused the former president of having a “terrible record of women abuse.”
If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women's card on me, she's wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2015
In the past, Fiorina has criticized Trump for being sexist when he made comments about her face last fall. But Thursday it appeared she was trying to keep up with the New York billionaire as she lobbed insults straight out of the gate.
Thursday night marked the first Republican presidential debate in 2016, and it also marked a return to the kids’ table for Fiorina, who had been on the prime-time stage for the past four debates. Despite starting her White House bid near the bottom of the pack, Fiorina’s strong performance during the first GOP debate last August catapulted her onto the main stage for the next debate, and she managed to earn enough attention to keep herself there all through the fall.
However, the former Hewlett-Packard executive has failed to stand out as her flashier opponents have vied for attention with Trump. Before Thursday’s debate, Fiorina sat in seventh place in national polls and had been faring worse in some early primary states.
She has weighed in on major controversies throughout the campaign, but her status as an outsider has not won her supporters in the same way that Trump’s has. Trump has often loomed as an important figure in the undercard debates despite not appearing in them, but the low-polling candidates were expected to focus more on specific policy areas such as the economy and immigration in Thursday’s debate. The previous GOP debate hosted by Fox Business Network in November was considered more substantive than some other showdowns, which were criticized by candidates for “gotcha” questions.
As the candidates head into the first nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire in just a few weeks, all three candidates in the undercard debate were likely looking for a big win Thursday night to prove to supporters that they remain viable.