At the end of her a powerful performance at the 5 p.m. Fox News Republican debate on Thursday, businesswoman Carly Fiorina declared, "Hillary Clinton lies about Benghazi, she lies about emails. She is still defending Planned Parenthood. And she is still her party's frontrunner."
In an interview after the debate, MSNBC's Chris Matthews questioned how Fiorina expected to debate someone she considers a liar. "Do you just begin a debate with, 'I don't believe a word you say?'" he asked, according to Real Clear Politics.
"First I was very specific about the subjects about which I think she has lied," Fiorina countered. "I didn't say she lied about everything. I was very specific. Very fact-based, actually. You are the one who has made a generalized comment now about her. Not me. Secondly, I will debate her."
When Chris Matthew attempted to interrupt her, Fiorina held her own.
"Excuse me," she interjected. "Benghazi, email and server. I will debate her on the issues facing this nation. I will debate her on her positions."
Fiorina then listed the topics Clinton has supported and with which she takes issue, including defending Planned Parenthood, her claim to be a champion of the middle class and what Fiorina sees as a questionable choice to declare victory in Iraq in 2011, among others.
"That's how I'll debate her," she concluded. "On the issues."
No matter her stance on these issues, it's encouraging to see a female candidate refuse to apologize for her views or statements and to make that position clearly known in the media. Considering that women are still severely underrepresented in the political arena, and the demonstrated importance of strong representation in encouraging other women to run, Fiorina's commitment to demanding others take her seriously as a candidate is certainly commendable.
America is clearly taking note of Fiorina's strength, too, as she was the most searched early debate candidate during the event, according to Google Trends. And Matthews is no exception.
"I see why you stood out tonight," he conceded.
And it seems Fiorina will continue to do so long after tonight.