Carly Fiorina Declares '16 Presidential Run

Carly Fiorina launched her bid for the Republican presidential nomination Monday with a series of sharp attacks on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. 

The jabs renewed speculation that Fiorina, who lags badly in polls and is widely seen as a long shot for the GOP nomination, is auditioning for the role of vice president, a position that is synonymous with aggressiveness.

Seeking to position herself as a political outsider, Fiorina drew on her business experience as the former CEO of HP, a role in which she served from 1999 to 2005.

Fiorina has never held elected office. She lost heavily to incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in 2010 and was sidelined by the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008 after she told an interviewer that the GOP nominee “couldn’t run a major corporation.” She was also fired by HP.

Those vulnerabilities leave most people deeply skeptical that the former CEO could claim the nomination this time around. But she has long been seen as a potential running mate for Republicans, who worry about their chances of countering Clinton’s potentially historic candidacy if they run an all-male ticket. 

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said there’s “an added benefit to including Fiorina on the 2016 Republican presidential ticket,” positing she could respond more effectively than most to Clinton and to political attacks from liberals that accuse the GOP of waging a “war on women.”

“Carly Fiorina can help coach the eventual GOP nominee on how to better employ the right tone and rhetoric when talking about women’s issues,” O’Connell said. “That will be key, given that Clinton’s core support is unmarried women under the age of 50.”

In a more striking gaffe, she did not register the domain for the website A progressive union member instead registered the domain and set up a viral website attacking her business record at HP.

“From the sidelines, running for president looks a lot easier than it actually is, and Fiorina’s team just learned that the hard way on Day Number One,” O’Connell said.

Read more from Kevin Cirilli at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy