Can Debates Keep Carly Fiorina Going?

Carly Fiorina's post-debate surge to the top tier of the Republican presidential field has faded just as quickly as it came.

The former business executive shot to second place after taking Republican front-runner Donald Trump to task and flaunting her foreign policy chops during the CNN debate in mid-September. And her invitation to participate in the second prime-time debate was fueled, in part, by a standout performance in the "happy hour" event preceding the first Republican debate.

But two polls released this week, one showing Fiorina dropping from her post-debate position at 15 percent to seventh place at 4 percentand the other placing her in sixth place behind establishment favorite Jeb Bush, have some strategists wondering whether her inimitable debate performances are evidence she's a one-trick pony.

"It's like once she has these great debates, her campaign isn't able to harness the news cycle and really expand her and make her look presidential," explains Ford O'Connell, a political strategist and former adviser to the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign.

"The worse she does in debates, the worse off her campaign is going to be because that's been her top strength thus far," he told the Washington Examiner. 

Read more from Gabby Morrongiello at The Washington Examiner

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Analysis & Political Strategy