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Carly Fiorina dominates the GOP debate—and puts Donald Trump in his place

Carly Fiorina

(Quartz) – Carly Fiorina has justified her spot on the main stage.

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO not only drew bouts of applause during the US Republican debate Wednesday over her stances on foreign policy and defunding Planned Parenthood, but she also took the wind out of Donald Trump.

Fiorina was included in the main debate due to a rise in her poll numbers after her standout performance in the second-tier face-off during the first debate round in July.

While she encountered jabs over her muddled track record as chief of HP—in which she oversaw mass layoffs and earned the moniker “Carly Scissorhands”— she maintained her momentum, with a willingness to interrupt other candidates and debate moderator Jake Tapper.

Here are some of the highlights:

On Iran: “On my first day in office, I’ll make two phone calls. One to my good friend [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to reassure him of US support to Israel. Then I’ll call [Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei] to reassure him that unless Iran opens its nuclear facilities to US inspectors, the US will make it as difficult as possible for Iran to move money around, so that every ally and adversary knows the US is back in the leadership business.”

On defunding Planned Parenthood: “I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ This is about the character of our nation. If we will not stand up and force president Obama to veto this bill, shame on us!”

On Russia: “Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn’t talk to him at all. We’ve talked way too much to him. What I would do immediately, I would begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet. I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland. I would also conduct military exercises in the Baltic states. I’d probably send a few thousand more troops to Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message.”

On immigration: “Immigration reform did not come up in the debate because of Mr. Trump… we have been talking about it for 25 years.”

On Trump’s comment in a Rolling Stone cover story (in which he remarked: “Look at that face! 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?”)

“I think women all over this country heard really clearly what Mr. Trump said.”

On her business record: “I led HP through a very difficult time… yes, we had to make tough choices and tough calls. When you challenge the status quo, you make enemies–Steve Jobs called me to say that the day I got fired.”

The results from Fiorina’s assertive performance were immediate, even as the debate dragged on.

 

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