At the second debate among the U.S. Republic Party`s presidential candidates just a week ago, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina stood out among 11 contenders. According to a poll conducted after the debate by polling agency Morning Consult, 29 percent of those surveyed said Fiorina was the winner, while Donald Trump plunged to the second with 24 percent. Fiorina, who was just one of the candidates in the first debate a month ago, has emerged as a strong GOP presidential contender.
Ironically, it was Trump who brought the luck to Fiorina. Commenting on Fiorina`s physical appearance, he said, "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?" Despite his reputation for making controversial remarks, his disparaging remarks about a woman`s appearance backfired strongly. Fiorina appealed to many woman voters suffering from complexes about their appearances by saying, "Look at this face. This is the face of a 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle." It was how Fiorina responded. During her time in the male-dominated information-technology industry, her male colleagues scheduled a meeting at a strip club. She did not avoid such a situation.
A graduate from Stanford University, she dropped out of a law school and started her career as a secretary, before becoming the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. After serving at AT&T and Lucent Technology, she took the helms of HP for five years and six months. The 2001 HP-Compaq Computers merger was the biggest event of her career. Although the merged HP became larger in size, its stock prices declines. Eventually, she was kicked out of the company. In her autobiography entitled "Tough Choices," she said of the decision: " after a lifetime of fears I was not afraid. I had done what I thought was right."
Despite controversies over her competence as a CEO, Fiorina has yet to be tested as a politician. Her campaign pledges are ambiguous. Instead, she is using the strategy of appealing to voters` emotions with the story of losing her daughter, Lori Ann, to alcohol addiction in 2009. Although Lori Ann was Fiorina`s stepdaughter, she was as good as Fiorina`s biological daughter. It is uncertain whether her strategy of diluting the image as a tough CEO with her family history of losing a child and how long her popularity will last. Still, if the U.S. presidential election is held in a race between two women, Clinton vs. Fiorina, it will likely become one of the greatest political events.