Carly Fiorina says she isn't concerned about being relegated to the undercard stage in Thursday's Republican presidential debate.
"Well, you know, it's interesting, I started this campaign 17 out of 16. Nobody took me seriously. In the latest Fox News poll, I'm number six nationally, so I feel pretty good about where I am and last time I looked, voters decide elections," Fiorina, the former Senate candidate and NRSC vice chair said on Boston Herald Radio's Morning Meeting. "Polls and pundits don't, and in fact. If polls decided elections, we never would have had a Ronald Reagan, and we already would have had a Hillary Clinton. So I'll debate anyone, anytime, anywhere, and I'll look forward to South Carolina."
The comments draw a sharp contrast from her rival, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is boycotting the undercard debate, saying that no one would tell him his campaign is less than "first tier."
"Honestly, people have told me to sit down and be quiet my whole life," Fiorina, continued. "And we have a professional, political establishment in this country. It's why I'm running for president, because I think we have to take our country back. So the establishment and the media and the pollsters have counted me out this whole race, but voters haven't."
"And I just might win this debate too. The voters have never counted me out. And in particular the voters of New Hampshire have never voted me out. That's how you go from 17 to 6, and I'm still climbing. So the people of New Hampshire need to believe what I believe, which is: citizens, citizens determine who wins elections in this country, so the people of New Hampshire should send me out of New Hampshire with the wind at my back."
Fiorina, the former NRSC vice chair, McCain presidential campaign surrogate, and failed Senate candidate, cited the millions of debate viewers as why she made a different decision from Paul.
"Well, I obviously am making a different decision. Look, millions and millions of people are going to tune in to that debate," she said. "And it's an opportunity to continue to carry my message to those millions of people. I started out with 95% of the people in this country not knowing who I was, and it takes a while for people to get to know you and trust you. But the more they hear from me the more they like what I have to say and trust that I'll do what I say. I'm running because I think it's time to take our country back, from the professional political class, from the media, from the establishment, from a government that no longer serves us, but serves and nurtures and protects itself. I think citizens agree with me, 80% agree, actually, that it's time to take our country back."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nathan McDermott is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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