Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina’s hastily arranged press conference outside a South Carolina Marriott Hotel where Hillary Clinton was speaking backfired on the former Hewlett-Packard Executive. Fiorina scheduled a press conference where Clinton was speaking so that Fiorina could continue her string of negative attacks against Hillary.
Bashing Hillary Clinton has been the dominant theme of Fiorina’s presidential campaign, but Fiorina’s stunt fell apart as she became irritated with reporters and fumbled her answers to a brief series of questions. After eleven minutes of fielding questions, Fiorina abruptly ended the press conference.
While it was obvious to reporters that Fiorina chose to hold her press conference to intentionally needle Hillary Clinton, Fiorina ended up on the defensive with reporters. Fiorina’s attempts to take barbs at Clinton fell apart when a reporter questioned her about appearing at a Clinton Global Initiative event in Denver in 2014. Fiorina tried to deflect by feebly responding:
Last year we didn’t know all the things that we now know about the Clinton Foundation.
When a reporter asked her if she was appearing at the hotel because Hillary Clinton was there, Fiorina improbably answered:
I planned this trip many, many weeks ago, so perhaps she’s following me. I have never been following Mrs. Clinton.
Understandably, reporters seemed unconvinced that Hillary Clinton was visiting South Carolina to follow Carly Fiorina, who is barely registering 1 percent of the vote in GOP primary polls. After struggling to answer several questions, a flustered Fiorina chastised reporters, saying:
I hope you will continue to be as aggressive with Mrs. Clinton, wherever she is.
Shortly thereafter, a Fiorina aide cut off the press conference just 11 minutes after it had begun. Carly Fiorina’s campaign lacks a defining message. While she is happy to play the GOP’s female “attack dog” who will go after Hillary Clinton, her inept campaign is reminiscent of her failed 2010 Senate campaign against Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.
The failed press conference also serves as a reminder that Fiorina poorly managed Hewlett-Packard during her tenure as its CEO. While a single botched press event is rarely a make or break moment for a fledgling presidential campaign, Fiorina’s consistent record of failure is highlighted by her inability to gracefully handle some fairly predictable reporter questions. With her press conference so poorly mismanaged, Fiorina has once again demonstrated her lack of leadership ability.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.