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Fiorina's Speaking Style Helps Her Stand Out In New Hampshire

Emily Corwin for NHPR
Carly Fiorina, seen speaking with a voter in Wentworth last week, has used her conversational style on the campaign trail to attract bigger crowds.

There’s a constant stream of Republican candidates crisscrossing the Granite State these days. That makes standing out somewhat of a challenge. But Carly Fiorina is one candidate who seems to be headed in the right direction. 

If you've been following Fiorina's New Hampshire campaign over the past few months, you can see the crowds are getting bigger and enthusiastic. What’s the appeal?  Her supporters say she talks clearly, she answers the questions, and she never stumbles.

Fiorina’s oratorical skill made big waves during the GOP debates. She didn’t get to participate in the main event, but everyone agrees she shined during the “happy hour” debate.

On the campaign trail, she mostly skips high- flown political rhetoric. She starts with shrinking government, her belief in peoples’ god given gifts and pretty soon she gets to this:

"I’m going to stop there and answer your questions."

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Carly Fiorina speaks at a Republican party event in N.H. in April, 2015

Her style goes along with her efforts to cast herself as an outsider. She did run for Senate in California, but the former Hewlett Packard CEO has never held political office.

And, according to the head of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa, Donna Hoffman, this is helping her stand out in the crowd.

"Carly Fiorina doesn’t go to the lengths that Donald Trump does," Hoffman said. "She’s a little more measured, she still has a quality about her I think in terms of her communication style that makes her different."

Forthcoming, but rarely off message. Aggressive, but not out of control. It’s a style that plays well on TV. In Wentworth earlier this month, Dick Paquin said he decided on Fiorina over his previous favorite, Rand Paul, while watching TV.

"We saw the interview that Carly had with Chris Matthews and she just cleaned his clock," Paquin said.

Fiorina has tried to sell herself as a take-no-prisoners combatant, telling voters that she "will land every punch" through the campaign.

And talk like that has led to a frequent refrain at Fiorina’s events, as Linda Dupere of Campton demonstrates.

"I’d love to see her debate Hillary (Clinton)," Dupere says.

Of course, as Fiorina herself says, "There’s only one way that’s gonna happen."

She’s gonna need the GOP nomination. And that’s going to take  something more than oratory.

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