Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and presidential hopeful, is targeting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to boost her profile in a crowded Republican field, The Hill
Fiorina, who is expected to announce her bid
on May 4, has taken to emphasizing gender as a main theme of her candidacy, saying Clinton is "not the woman for the White House."
At the same time, it appears that her strategy is to neutralize the issue of gender, arguing that in a contest with two females, attention could be focused on the issues rather than the possibilities of electing the first female president.
"Gender shouldn't be the basis upon which we make that decision," Fiorina said in a recent appearance on "Fox & Friends."
Conservatives and Republicans appear to think that argument is valuable.
"None of the male candidates will get away with directly posing those questions [to Hillary Clinton] about gender: 'Other than gender, what is your rationale?'" Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway told The Hill. "A female messenger can more ably poke holes in the idea that women should vote based upon their gender."
National Review's John Fund also acknowledged that Fiorina was attracting attention because of her gender and professional background, but said that "more and more people are staying to listen because she has something fresh to say," The Hill reported.
Others have said that her presence in the race could help improve perceptions of the Republican Party by demonstrating its inclusiveness.
"When you think about what you saw in the last two elections, and you think Mitt Romney and 'binders full of women,' and all of the discussions that pigeonholed women, Carly Fiorina can only help the Republican party with its huge gender gap," said Michelle Bernard, president and CEO of the Bernard Center, according to The Hill.
Nevertheless, there are doubts about whether Fiorina has the standing to neutralize Clinton, given that her poll numbers are in the single digits, she has never held elective office, and she mounted an unsuccessful bid for Senate against California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010.
"It's true that if there were a female Republican nominee and a female Democratic nominee, that would steal some of Hillary Clinton's thunder. But that's not going to happen," Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, told The Hill.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.