Carly Fiorina released a new campaign ad titled “Faces” on Monday which, while never mentioning Donald Trump by name, springboards off widely reported comments he made and then distanced himself from last week.
Last Wednesday Rolling Stone magazine published a cover story on Trump which quoted his reaction to Carly Fiorina appearing on television. “Look at that face!” Trump exclaimed. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” he added.
Fiorina responded two days later in the opening of her speech to the National Federation of Republican Women. Excerpts from the speech have now been turned into a powerful campaign ad by Carly for America, a PAC supporting her candidacy.
The ad opens with Fiorina’s amplified voice over piano music as she says, “Ladies, look at this face and look at all of your faces.” The bulk of the ad is made up of brief shots of women of different ages and races smiling toward the camera as Fiorina intones, “The face of leadership. The face of leadership in our party, the party of women’s suffrage. The face of leadership in your communities, in your businesses, in your places of work and worship. Ladies, note to Democrat party, we are not a special interest group; we are the majority of the nation.”
The ad concludes on a personal note, one that is most directly responsive to Donald Trump’s comments, “This is the face of a 61- year-old woman and I am proud of every year and every wrinkle.”
Last Thursday, a day after the Rolling Stone story came out, Trump backtracked, telling Fox News he was speaking as an “entertainer.” By Friday he had a new explanation, telling CNN, “I’m not talking about looks. I’m talking about persona.” He repeated that claim on ABC’s The View later in the day.
For Fiorina, who has built her appeal on the clarity and eloquence of her answers in last month’s 2nd tier debate, as well as her willingness to attack Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, reaching out to Republican women turned off by Trump’s comments seems like a sound strategy.
And while the new ad also doesn’t mention Hillary directly, it does target her indirectly with the line about Democrats treating women as a “special interest group.” Hillary has been giving speeches recently (including one today in Cedar Falls, Iowa) under the banner, “Women for Hillary.”