In this photo taken Sept. 26, 2015, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina laughs during an interview in Iowa City, Iowa.
Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP

Carly Fiorina: ‘Dogs never tell me to smile more’

There’s a tried-and-true formula when it comes to making a story go viral online: Take a subject and add adorable animals. This time around, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is the focus, and a pile of puppies — and one very friendly cat — are the bit players.

Fiorina cuddles with a diverse variety of canines in a new video for the website Independent Journal. She comes out strongly as a dog lover, claiming “dogs are you own security detail” and adding that not even President Barack Obama has a cat.

Seasoned on the campaign trail after several months, Fiorina also didn’t miss the chance to jab at Obama by referring to an account in his memoir about eating dog meat while growing up in Indonesia. “You know, President Obama ate one of your cousins. Vote Republican,” Fiorina deadpanned while juggling her squirming companions.

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO also made a reference to criticisms of her appearance — in particular reactions after an early debate that she didn’t smile enough. “Dogs never tell me to smile more,” she said.

At one point, Fiorina offered some insight into her own history with pets. “I always used to eat Milk Bones as a kid. I thought they were very good,” she added, before biting a treat in half to offer her furry friends. The candidate also noted that one pup would certainly be allowed on the couch in her house.

RELATED: Few signs of momentum on the trail for Fiorina

“I think I could use you all for debate prep,” Fiorina said of the uncooperative, rambunctious bunch. “You could be Donald Trump…. You could be Chris Christie.”

Perhaps wary of alienating her cat-loving constituents, the candidate noted that she likes felines, too — just as the cat in her arms wrapped its paw lovingly around her neck.

At the end of the video, Fiorina showed that she’s willing to poke gentle fun at herself.  

“Someone on Twitter said that I reminded them of Cruella de Vil. That is totally unfair,” she murmured to a fluffy white dog. “Although your coat is exceptionally soft.”