Chuck Todd to Carly Fiorina: 'Do You Still Have Great Admiration and Respect for Hillary Clinton?'

By Susan Jones | August 24, 2015 | 10:31am EDT
Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks during a reception and panel discussion in Spartanburg, S.C. on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. (AP File Photo)

( - Carly Fiorina joined the Republican presidential race with a jab at the "political class" in general and at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in particular.

So it came as a surprise on Sunday, when Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked Fiorina: "Do you still have great admiration and respect for Hillary Clinton?"

"In many ways, I do," Fiorina responded -- not thrown by Todd's question: "She's a hardworking woman. She's an intelligent woman. She has dedicated herself to public service. It is also true, however, that she is not trustworthy, that she has lied about some key things: Benghazi, her emails, her server--"

"Lying is a big charge," Todd cut in. "Do you know -- why do you know she's lying on Benghazi?"

"Oh, for heaven's sake," Fiorina responded. "The night of the Benghazi attacks, we now know that the State Department and the White House knew this was a purposeful, preplanned terrorist attack. Nevertheless, the next morning she went into the State Department and she addressed the American people and talked about a video that did not represent the values of this nation.

"Several days later she said the same thing over the bodies of the fallen. What she should have said was this was a purposeful terrorist attack and we will seek retribution."

"You believe she purposely lied?" Todd asked.

"Absolutely, I do," she said.

Three weeks after announcing her candidacy in early May, Fiorina unveiled a "Ready to Beat Hillary" website; and she also appeared outside the South Carolina hotel where Clinton was speaking, to contast her own willingness to answer questions with Hillary's reluctance to do so.

Fiorina has argued that only another female Republican candidate will be able to topple the Democrats' claim that Republicans are waging a war on women.

"We need a nominee who isn’t afraid to throw punches," Fiorina told The Washington Times earlier this month, repeating a line she's used in the past.

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