LISTEN: Fiorina On Why She Didn't Always Vote

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Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Carly Fiorina speaks during a town hall meeting at Aranda Tools Inc. during a campaign event on October 6, 2010 in Huntington Beach, California. Fiorina is running against incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Sometimes candidates stumble or don't like it when they're asked tough questions. In a conversation with NPR, Republican Carly Fiorina clearly had her responses thought out and was ready to score points against her opponent.

We in the news media and the blogosphere are quick to react when a candidate can't seem to answer a question her or she should have been prepared for or erupts in anger at the supposed unfairness of it all.

Sometimes, though, it's also interesting to point to answers that have clearly been thought out.

In a conversation earlier today with All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block, Republican Carly Fiorina was ready for some tough questions, had answers at hand and used her responses to try to score points against her opponent. Whether you agree with her or not, the way she spoke was straight out of the textbook for a candidate is supposed to stick to a message.

Fiorina, the Republican nominee for Senate in California, is challenging Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer. Polls signal a tight race.

Here's one example of the give-and-take she had with Melissa. The question was about why Fiorina only voted one out of four times in the past decade and whether voters might wonder, as Melissa said, whether she "has not been engaged as a citizen on very big issues facing your state in the most basic way -- by simply showing up to vote?"

Voters "absolutely" could ask that question, Fiorina said. And, she continued, "I make no excuses for that. I should have voted." But like many people in California, she "felt disengaged."

"Suffice it to say, I'm 'all in' now."

Moments later, she pivoted to point at her opponent. The reason many voters feel disengaged, Fiorina said, is because of politicians such as Boxer "who's been in Washington D.C. 28 years and she hasn't done anything for them."

Take a listen:

Much more from Melissa's conversation with Fiorina will be on today's edition of ATC. They also talked about such issues as off-shore drilling, abortion and job growth. We'll add the as-broadcast (and edited) version later to this post later today. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

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