Carly Fiorina’s victory lap: ‘I am a fighter ... and this is going to be a fight’

On the heels of her strong performance at Wednesday’s primetime Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Calif., Carly Fiorina did a victory lap on the morning talk show circuit Thursday, saying she was ready for a fight.

“I am a fighter,” Fiorina said on CNN’s “New Day,” one of at least six morning talk shows on which she appeared. “This is going to be a fight. If you can’t fight on a debate stage, you can’t stand up and fight for the American people.”

The former Hewlett-Packard chief executive got the biggest applause of the night when she was asked about Donald Trump’s controversial comments in Rolling Stone about her face.

“Look at that face!” Trump was quoted as saying in the magazine. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”

Trump later denied he was referring to her looks.

“I’m talking about persona,” he said.

“I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” Fiorina said during Wednesday’s debate, receiving thunderous applause from the audience inside the Reagan Presidential Library.

“I think she’s got a beautiful face,“ Trump replied. “And I think she’s a beautiful woman.”

Fiorina didn’t flinch.

“It’s still different for women,” she said Thursday. “It’s only a woman whose appearance would be talked about when running for president — never a man. I think that’s what women understand. I think that’s why women understood what Donald Trump said about my face in the first place and also what he said about my face in the second place.”

She added: “The point is, women are half this nation. Women are half the potential of this nation. Still somehow we spend a lot of time talking about women’s appearance instead of their qualifications.”

Immediately after the debate, Trump called Fiorina a “very nice person” and that all the candidates “did very well” despite the three-plus-hour running time, which he said was long.

On that point, Fiorina agreed.

“It was a long debate,“ she said on MSNBC. “And I had to do it in high heels.”

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Fiorina said she was “very satisfied” with her debate performance.

“When I went into that debate, almost half the audience didn’t know my name and didn’t know I was running for president,” she told George Stephanopoulos. “So this was a really important opportunity for me to introduce myself. And I think I did that successfully.”

Another notable moment of the night came when Fiorina opened up about losing a child to drug addiction while discussing marijuana legalization.

“The war on drugs has failed,” she said on CNN Thursday. “We need a different approach. … Two-thirds of the people sitting in jail are there for nonviolent drug-related offenses. It’s not working. We’re not investing enough in this.”

According to Fiorina’s 2015 memoir, her stepdaughter, Lori, died in 2009 after struggling with alcohol, prescription pills and bulimia. She was just 35.

In coping with the loss, Fiorina said on MSNBC, “I learned that love and faith heal all.”

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