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Carly Fiorina terrifies me
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By Andrea Peyser
September 18, 2015

Carly Fiorina terrifies me

Carly Fiorina scares the stuffing out of me.

She lost me at the word “fetus.’’

On the campaign trail and on the debate stage, the lone female candidate among the 16 contenders for the Republican presidential nomination exudes a level of superhuman control posing as gravitas.

Every hair is locked in place. No skirt crease is offline. Every word emanating from Fiorina’s sculpted lips is delivered in practiced, soothing tones, her head tilted to an ­unthreatening 10-degree angle.

During Wednesday night’s second televised GOP debate, Fiorina’s improved poll numbers won her a promotion from the earlier Happy Hour gabfest to become one of 11 contestants, including front-runner Donald Trump, to hit the stage for the prime-time debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

She knew she had to distinguish herself or fade away.

She far from faded.

“I’d like to link these two issues, both of which are incredibly important, Iran and Planned Parenthood,” the ousted chief executive officer of tech giant Hewlett-Packard said in breakneck fashion.

“One has something to do with the defense of the security of this nation,’’ she said.

“The other has to do with the defense of the character of this nation.”

With that, Fiorina compared Iran, a nation whose coming nuclear deal with the United States threatens the safety of Israel and our nation, to Planned Parenthood, an outfit that provides abortions that, last I checked, are legal throughout this country.

Then she mentioned one in a series of heavily edited videos made by an anti-abortion group, evidently the one in which an undercover activist is seen talking with a former employee of a tissue procurement company. The former tissue procurer describes seeing a fetus inside a Planned Parenthood clinic that, she says, appears to be moving.

Fiorina’s body quivered and her voice shook with rage.

“As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape — I dare, Hillary Clinton, ­Barack Obama, to watch these tapes,’’ she railed. “Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.

“This is about the character of this nation!” she said to hearty applause.

There’s one problem. A video showing a fully formed fetus on a table may have been a figment of Fiorina’s fevered imagination. Each video made by an anti-abortion group, The Center for Medical Progress, merely shows people talking. Confronted with a report to that effect posted on Vox.com by a woman who watched all 12 hours of video, Fiorina said Thursday on ABC News, “Rest assured, I have seen the images that I talked about last night.’’

Further, Planned Parenthood officials have denied profiting from the sale of fetal parts, insisting that employees collect only reasonable and legal fees for the procurement, transportation and storage of tissue used for research. Clearly, one doesn’t have to like Planned Parenthood. None of the GOP candidates does.

Fiorina, 61, is not averse to playing the chick card when it suits her. CNN debate moderator Jake Tapper confronted her with Trump’s words, as quoted in Rolling Stone magazine: “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?’’ (Trump later said he was referring to her persona, not her appearance.)

“I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,’’ she replied crisply.

To that, Trump, 69, perhaps trying to put a lid on the sad contretemps, said, “I think she has a very beautiful face, and she’s a beautiful woman.’’

Declared the debate’s victor by several pundits, Fiorina said on the MSNBC program “Morning Joe,” “It was a long debate, and I tell you what, I had to do it in high heels.’’

Full disclosure: I support abortion rights, as do more than half of Americans — though many of us are ­unhappy about the 1.06 million procedures performed in this country in 2011, the last year in which abortions were counted (though the preg­nancy termination rate has declined sharply in recent years).

Every abortion is a tragedy. But to score points by pushing a tale that, I believe, was not just fabricated but gross is unseemly.

Carly Fiorina has gone too far.

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