Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina jumped into the race on Monday morning.
In a video posted online, Fiorina immediately painted herself as Hillary Clinton’s chief critic, beginning with a brief clip of the former secretary of state’s own presidential announcement.
“Our founders never intended us to have a professional political class,” she says in the video. “We know the only way to reimagine our government is to reimagine who is leading it. I’m Carly Fiorina and I’m running for president”Fiorina – who first announced her bid on ABC’s “Good Morning America” – will follow her announcement with a social media roll-out and visits to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina later in the week.
Fiorina is a long-shot: she’s never held elected office and when she challenged California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010, she was widely criticized for outsourcing jobs and being fired while at H.P. Her name barely registers in polls and the small, intimate events she hosts in early states pale in comparison to the boisterous rallies Sen. Rand Paul hosted during his roll-out.
But “Carly for President” is already bucking expectations, drawing larger crowds than expected, and building the kind of campaign that just might pack a punch down the line.
“It never occurred to me that there might be another female choice,” Renee Duvall told msnbc in Concord, New Hampshire “I love it! I’m excited about it.”
Fiorina’s criticism of Clinton has been a constant in her campaign so far.
“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe but unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know that flying is an activity not an accomplishment,” she quipped in New Hampshire.
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As a woman, Fiorina is able to attack Clinton in a way other likely and official 2016 candidates can’t without facing sexist backlash.
“I was asked by a television reporter whether a woman’s hormones prevented her from serving in the Oval Office. OK, ladies this is a quiz, can you think of a single instance in which a man’s judgment was clouded by hormones?” Fiorina said to laughs and cheers in Iowa. “Hillary Clinton must not be president of the United States but not because she is a woman. Hillary Clinton cannot be president of the United States because she is not trustworthy.”
Duvall, who spoke with msnbc ahead of a business roundtable with Fiorina, echoed many attendees interviewed by msnbc at her events when she said she didn’t know much about Fiorina, but was excited to learn more.
Fiorina knows this: she’s packing her schedule to the brim with visits to key early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
“I come out and I take as many questions and people have and people leave and they know me. And they go talk to more people,” she told msnbc after a similar event at a local bar in Coralville, Iowa.
Supporters say her political inexperience is definitely a factor, but some say it might even help her candidacy.
“Experience does matter for whatever job your going to have, so it’s weighing that back and forth,” Robert Schimmell told msnbc in Concord, New Hampshire.
“We’ve got a bunch of elected people who aren’t doing anything on both sides of the aisle, so I’d give it a try!” Robert Saylor told msnbc in Waukee, Iowa. “I like that she’s a businesswoman, she’s done a good job at Hewlett Packard and I like businesspeople at the helm. You can take someone who’s been a business person who’s been successful, and they can surround themselves with the generals and the education people.”
It’s a similar idea to how Fiorina articulates her own variety of leadership.
“Leadership is not about position, or power, or title, or perks,” she said in New Hampshire in mid-April. “The highest calling of leadership is to unlock potential in others and to change the order of things for the better.”