Carly Fiorina Didn’t Answer the Best Questions in Her Periscope Chat

Some participants took the opportunity to ask a declared presidential candidate questions very seriously. Others “¦ not so much.

Presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (see here campaigning in Iowa) says she'll use technology like Periscope to get her name out there.
National Journal
Nora Kelly
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Nora Kelly
May 4, 2015, 1:44 p.m.

When newly min­ted pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Carly Fior­ina began her Peri­scope town hall Monday af­ter­noon, she opened her­self up to ques­tion­ing from the Amer­ic­an people on a scale un­seen so far in the 2016 cycle. At one point, the former Hew­lett-Pack­ard CEO had more than 1,000 eye­balls watch­ing her on the feed, some from as far away as France and the Phil­ip­pines.

For those un­fa­mil­i­ar with the little-more-than-a-month-old app: It al­lows for live video stream­ing, and users can make com­ments or ask ques­tions to the video’s own­er in real time. Many of the users watch­ing Fior­ina took a shot at get­ting ser­i­ous policy ques­tions re­layed to her via one of her cam­paign staffers, who ac­ted as the chat’s mod­er­at­or. That was, no doubt, the point: Fior­ina doesn’t have su­per-high name re­cog­ni­tion, and she hopes to use tech like Peri­scope to get her name out there.

Through the more fo­cused ques­tions, the can­did­ate was able to ex­pound on such top­ics as stu­dent loan debt (“We have to have a com­pet­it­ive stu­dent loan in­dustry so you have lots of choices”); her ten­ure as CEO of Hew­lett-Pack­ard (“It takes lead­er­ship to grow a com­pany, it takes lead­er­ship to grow an eco­nomy, it takes lead­er­ship to grow a na­tion”); get­ting young people—Peri­scope’s core demo—in­volved in the polit­ic­al pro­cess (“They dis­en­gage be­cause they think their voice doesn’t count, and of course every­one’s voice counts”); and U.S. ne­go­ti­ations with Ir­an (“I haven’t ne­go­ti­ated a nuc­le­ar deal but I’ve ne­go­ti­ated plenty of deals in my life”).

Oth­er users, however, took a de­cidedly dif­fer­ent ap­proach, hop­ing Fior­ina’s staffer would break and ask something like, “Do you prefer Uber or Ly­ft?” Here, the nine most out-there ques­tions from the chat.

1. Do you con­sider your­self the Amer­ic­an Mar­garet Thatch­er?

2. Are you angry that they didn’t name the prin­cess Carly? (Re­fer­ring to the Brit­ish roy­al fam­ily’s latest ad­di­tion, whose name was an­nounced Monday: Char­lotte Eliza­beth Di­ana.)

3. Where is your jack­et from? It’s a nice col­or.

4. Do you think a hot dog is a sand­wich? (Fior­ina ac­tu­ally answered this one, dur­ing a “rap­id-re­sponse” seg­ment. For the re­cord: “I don’t like hot dogs. I just don’t.”)

5. Thoughts on “Un­break­able Kimmy Schmidt”?

6. Let’s talk print­ers—it’s hor­rible to set up print­ers. (An ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to Fior­ina’s work at HP. Print­ers must have been on some users’ brains: There was at least one oth­er com­plaint about them in the chat.)

7. Did you watch “Mad Men” last night and did you re­late at all?

8. Do you like the New Eng­land Pat­ri­ots?

9. What is this?

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