Opinion Brief

Will 'hair-gate' sink Carly Fiorina?

The GOP Senate candidate says the uproar over her dissing of Sen. Barbara Boxer's hairdo has become a distraction in their Senate campaign. Should Fiorina just apologize?

Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina is expressing "regret" for the brouhaha over her gossipy insult of Sen. Barbara Boxer's hair — but she isn't apologizing. (Watch Fiorina's gaffe.) It all started last week when Fiorina, preparing for a TV interview and unaware that her microphone was turned on, said Boxer's hair style is "soooooo yesterday." Fiorina says her gaffe gave people an "opportunity to talk about something petty and superficial," rather than the serious issues at stake in her bid to take Boxer's California Senate seat. But unscripted comments have sunk candidacies before. How much will "hair-gate" hurt Fiorina? (Watch Nancy Pelosi weigh in on the hair jab)

Oops, she's done it again: Carly Fiorina is "no stranger to open microphones," says Bonnie Erbe in U.S. News. In fact, she was "booted from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign for being, well, too honest in live interviews" about McCain's and Sarah Palin's qualifications. If she doesn't check into "'open microphone' camp" soon, "Boxer will waltz to victory in November."
"Carly Fiorina's big mouth could cost her a Senate seat"

The gaffe humanizes Fiorina: "Does anybody really care what Carly Fiorina thinks of Barbara Boxer's hair?" asks the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. "Almost certainly not." Even as an "oops" moment, her "snarky critique" was pretty tame. Pundits jumped on it as a sign of her "mean spirit," but we enjoyed the too-brief moment of "authenticity," especially from a candidate who relies on TV ads to "avoid the risks of spontaneity."
"An authentic moment in politics"

This reveals a real character flaw: It may be no big deal that Fiorina "has repeatedly embarrassed herself since going into politics," says Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic, but her "inability to say 'I'm sorry' is a moral failing." What has she to lose but pride? By refusing to clear the air, Fiorina is leaving the impression she thinks "voters are too stupid to realize" she's only human.
"Why is it so hard to say 'My bad'?"

Fiorina should make lemonade from this lemon: If the media continues to fixate on her "unscripted critique," says Matthew Dallek in the New York Daily News, Fiorina should "transform her acidic remark about her opponent's hair style into something positive." Fiorina lost her own hair while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, and if she pledges to become a leading Senate voice for cancer research, this could turn into "Fiorina's moment."
"How Carly Fiorina can cure her hot-mic 'hair' gaffe"

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