If you’ve followed any of the stump speeches of the 15 Republican candidates still standing in the race for the presidential nomination, you know that everyone of them spends considerable time criticizing what they call the fecklessness of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton‘s foreign policy.
So in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris apparently committed by the Islamic State on Friday, most of the candidates who appeared at the Republican Party of Florida’s Sunshine Summit on Saturday in Orlando had a target rich environment in which to attack.
Speaking in her staccato style that has won her acclaim on the campaign trail, Carly Fiorina delivered an intense message of U.S. exceptionalism and boasted extensively about her credentials to lead the nation (and the world) in the continuing war on Islamic terrorism.
“Our most pressing and immediate national security challenge is radical Islamic terrorism around the world, and here at home, both lone wolves, and packs of wolves,” Fiorina said to a cheering crowd. “ISIS must be confronted and it must be destroyed and we must call it what it is.”
“No, Mrs. Clinton. No, Mr. Obama. Climate change is not our most pressing national security challenge,” she commanded, again to whoops and cheers throughout the hotel ballroom. No candidate on Saturday elicited such enthusiasm.
Listing important European and Middle Eastern allies by name who she says are fighting ISIS on the ground, Fiorina promised it would be a new day for them if she was elected president.
“All, every single one of them has asked the United States of America for support. For weapons. For material. For intelligence sharing. Mostly, this administration has said no. I. Will. Say. Yes.”
As the former head of Hewlett-Packard has said in the debates and on the campaign trail, her first two phone calls would be to “my good friend, Bibi Netanyahu,” to tell him that the U.S. will standby Israel always and forever. Her second call will be to the Supreme Leader of Iran (who she said may not take the call). He’ll get the message, she says, which is to say, new president, new nuclear deal.
That wasn’t the end of her boasting about her national security cred.
“I understand the world, and who’s in it. I have operated around the world for decades. In business, in charity, and in policy. I have held the highest security clearances available to a civilian. I have advised the CIA, the NSA, departments of Defense, Secretary of State, Homeland Security. We need a president who will speak. He will see. Who will act on the truth. She must understand,” as the crowd erupted. “She must understand how truly exceptional this nation is, and call evil by its name.”
“Others will not call it Islamic terrorism, ” she added. “I will, and I have the courage to lead.”
She concluded by invoking Margaret Thatcher‘s comment that she wasn’t ready to manage the decline of a great nation. “We’ve been managing the decline of this great nation for far. Too. Long. Now.”
All in all, it was another impressive performance. Yet so far, the robust fundraising and poll numbers haven’t followed suit.