(CNSNews.com) - In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, host Chuck Todd tried to portray Republican Carly Fiorina, who has never held elective office, as "a member of the professional political class." He also took several opportunities to quote people who have called Fiorina ignorant and incompetent.
"You're running as a political outsider," Todd told Fiorina at the beginning of Sunday's interview.
"I am a political outsider," Fiorina responded.
Todd noted that over the last seven years, Fiorinia has advised Sen. John McCain; she made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in California; and she worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the fund-raising group for the GOP.
"That sounds like somebody who has wanted to become a member of the professional political class," Todd declared.
"No, I think it sounds like someone who believes this is a citizen government," Fiorina said. "It was always intended to be a citizen government and so citizens have to be engaged in the process of governance and politics.
"We need more citizens in politics. We have too many professional politicians. And the vast majority of American people say, we're delighted you haven't been on the inside in Washington. We're delighted you haven't held elected office before.
"What all those experiences say is, I understand how the process works. That's important. I have relevant experience."
Todd then tried to discredit Fiorina's business record by quoting New York Times columnist Jeffrey Sonnenfeld -- who quoted one of Fiorina's critics, an associate dean at the Yale School of Management. The dean compared Fiorina's leadership of Hewlett Packard to the captain of the doomed cruise ship Costa Concordia, which ran aground with deadly results off the coast of Italy in 2012.
"What do you say to that?" Todd asked Fiorina.
"Well, I was held accountable, absolutely, and stand by my record. It's also true that Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (the New York Times columnist) has been critical of me from the moment I arrived at HP. He's a close adviser of Bill Clinton. I'm not at all surprised. He's been saying that for 15 years. The conventional wisdom is frequently wrong. I will stand by my record," she added.
Todd also asked Fiorina, who has been sharply critical of Hillary Clinton: "Do you still have great admiration and respect for Hillary Clinton?"
Fiorina conceded that Clinton is "hardworking," "intelligent," and 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..."
Todd later seized another opportunity to insult Fiorina, in connection with her views on climate change:
He asked her if climate change has made the California drought, and the resulting wildfires, worse:
"You know, what's also made it worse?" Fiorina asked. "Politicians, liberal politicians who stood up for 40 years as the population of California doubled and said, you cannot build a new reservoir and you cannot build a water conveyance system. And so for 40 years, 70 percent of the rainfall has washed out to sea, that's pretty dumb when you know you're going to have droughts every single year, or every three years, let's say.
Todd, prepared for her answer, then played a video clip of California Gov. Jerry Brown responding to Fiorina's criticism:
"I've never heard of such utter ignorance," Brown said. "Building a dam won't do a damn thing about fires or climate change or the absence of moisture in the ground and vegetation in California. So, I think these people if they want to run for president, better do kind of eighth grade science before they make any more utterances."
"That's a lot of insults," Fiorina replied. "But of course it makes no sense what he just said. It would be helpful if you were fighting fires to have more water. Firefighters in California have difficulty getting enough water now, so they're using other means.
"It would be helpful to agriculture and everything else to have water saved in the good years so that you could use it in the bad years. I'm not denying that California's air is dry. That's obvious. I'm not denying that there is a drought. But there is no denying that politicians have made this problem immeasurably worse."