Fiorina to GOP field: 'Game on'

GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina on Sunday delivered a message to the 2016 Republican field: “Game on.”

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The former Hewlett-Packard CEO is being framed as the big winner of the early GOP debate on Thursday. "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace pointed out, however, that while Fiorina's been successful in other candidate forums, it hasn’t translated into voter support.

“Why is this going to be different now?” he asked.

"National polls tend to measure name ID, and so if you look at a number of state polls we’ve been in the top 10 in state polls, but it hasn’t yet translated to top 10 in national polls,” she said, adding that she disagreed with the premise of the question. “I would also remind you that at this time in previous presidential elections the polls and pundits ... said that Jimmy Carter couldn’t win, Ronald Reagan couldn’t win, Bill Clinton couldn’t win and Barack Obama couldn’t win. So the truth is this race has just gotten started, and game on.” 

Fiorina has been publicly critical of the way Donald Trump responded to debate moderator and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly’s questions about the names he’s called women.

“It’s her job to ask tough questions,” Fiorina said. “It’s your job to ask tough questions. It’s a candidate's job to answer those question however they see fit.”

Wallace asked Fiorina, the only woman among the 17 Republican candidates, what she thinks about the conservative group RedState’s decision to disinvite Trump to their gathering this weekend in Atlanta.

"Presidential campaigns are about watching someone under pressure over time,” she told Wallace. “You asked Donald Trump about his record of bankruptcy, but I didn’t notice Donald Trump insulting you for 24 hours. There’s no excuse for this.” 

Fiorina also said she understands where Trump supporters are coming from.

“As I've said many times, Donald Trump taps into an anger. An anger with the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government and the professional political class,” she said. "I agree with that anger. It’s why I’m running for president.”

Wallace also asked Fiorina about Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), who has criticized her for laying off 30,000 people while CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

“You know that if you end up as the Republican nominee, the Democrats are going to put that in every add, ‘She fired 30,000 people,’ it’s exactly the kind of thing that sunk Mitt Romney,” Wallace said.

Fiorina said she’s flattered the head of the DNC would come after her, saying it must mean she's gaining traction.

“But here are the facts," she said. "I led Hewlett-Packard through a very difficult time. The dotcom bust, post 9/11, the worst technology recession in 25 years. I would remind Debbie Wasserman Schultz that it’s taken the NASDAQ 15 years to recover. Sometimes in tough times, tough calls are necessary.”

When asked about being fired from Hewlett-Packard on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday morning, Fiorina said it was the result of challenging the status quo.

“And when you challenge the status quo, when you lead, you make enemies,” she said. “It's a way so few people lead. But guess what? It is the kind of leadership we need now in the Oval Office, because the status quo of Washington, D.C., which has been managed by Democrats and Republicans for way too long, isn't serving this nation any more.”

She said she's happy to be in good company with Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney and Mike Bloomberg, who were also fired for challenging the status quo. 

—This report was updated at 11:45 p.m.