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Carly Fiorina: Don’t Underestimate Donald Trump

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Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. (WHO-HD)

WASHINGTON  — Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said Wednesday that newly-minted candidate Donald Trump is “hitting on issues that Americans care about” and should not be dismissed.

Fiorina also played up her brief stint as a real estate secretary and downplayed her personal wealth in a primary where your net financial worth is a buzzing campaign issue.

“I think they are open to someone with experience such as myself who know what it means to get a bureaucracy under control,” Fiorina said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day”.

The former Hewlett Packard CEO entered the Republican field last month as something of an underdog, polling in the single digits, according to the RealClearPolitics tally of national polls.

But Fiorina, who is the only woman running in the pack of a dozen Republicans, has found early excitement among party activists in states like Iowa, with her fiery speeches.

Trump delivered a flashy a entrance speech Tuesday, punctuated by his claim that he was worth $8.7 billion (roughly double the Forbes estimate of his value).

Fiorina, who pegs her own personal wealth at $59 million, said that her start as a secretary at a small real estate firm is informing her run for president. She said that federal tax breaks were designed to help the wealthy and powerful in the U.S.

“The wealthy, the well connected. All those tax credits and deductions — I can take them. But, the secretary that I used to be, working in the 9 person real estate firm– those deductions don’t help her and they don’t help the 9 person real estate firm,” she said.

Fiorina worked as a receptionist briefly for a California real estate firm after graduating from Stanford University but dropping out of UCLA law school.

Personal wealth took on an unexpected twist recently after a New York Times investigation revealed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s personal financial woes after he received an $800,000 to write his 2012 book. He used the money to pay down $100,000 in student loan debt, but he also used it to buy an $80,000 boat.

Rubio supporters quickly pivoted and argued that puts him in more in line with the average voter than all the other candidates, who are largely made up of millionaires and one billionaire.