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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Carly Fiorina in Fla: You know you're dying for me to debate Hillary Clinton



SPRING HILL – Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina got right to the point Wednesday night as she addressed several hundred Republican activists in Hernando County.

“You know in your heart of hearts that you cannot wait to see me debate Hillary Clinton,” Fiorina said, and the crowd roared their approval at the former Fortune 500 CEO who has been a standout in the Republican presidential debates.

As an accomplished and tough woman, Fiorina looks to many Republicans as an ideal candidate to take on Hillary Clinton, but the former Hewlett Packard CEO said she has a different rationale for her candidacy than Clinton.

“She's not really running on her track record, and the positions that she has taken in this campaign are quite recent. But she reminded us over and over and over again in that debate that she's an outsider because she would be the first woman,” Fiorina said of the former secretary of state.

“Let me start by assuring you that I will never ask for your vote because I'm a woman,” said Fiorina, 61. “I'm very proud of being a woman but I'm going to ask for your support because I believe I'm the most qualified candidate to win this job and the most qualified candidate to do this job.”

High profile presidential candidates rarely venture as far from Tampa International Airport as Spring Hill. But the Hernando Republican party presumably had some extra pull since its chairman, Republican state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, is also chairman of the Florida GOP.

“We want to introduce her to as many different people as possible,”  Fiorina spokeswoman Anna Epstein said, explaining why Fiorina agreed to speak in Spring Hill when she had no other fundraising event planned in the area.

Florida’s Republican presidential primary will be March 15, and there is no sign of an organized grass roots campaign for Fiorina in Florida. She spent much of the dinner at the Palace Grand in Spring Hill chatting with Republican state Sen. Wilton Simpson, who is a leading fundraiser for Bush.


A University of North Florida poll of likely Republican voters released this week found that if the election were held today 22 percent would vote for Trump,   19 percent for Ben Carson, 15 percent for Marco Rubio, 9 percent for Jeb Bush, and nearly 7 percent for Ted Cruz and Fiorina.

Fiorina told she has the executive and leadership experience necessary to challenge the status quo in Washington and build up America’s military might to put America “back in the leadership business.”


“I am running for president of the United States ladies and gentleman because I think we have reached a critical point where the possibilities for too many Americans, indeed the potential of this great nation, is being crushed by a government that has grown so big, so powerful, so costly, so inept, so complicated, and yes, so corrupt - and a professional political class that refuses to do anything about it,” she said.



[Last modified: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 8:56pm]


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