ATLANTA  Presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina blasted fellow Republican Donald Trump Tuesday for lacking leadership or a plan for confronting ISIS. Most establishment Republicans are criticizing Trump for saying he would prohibit Muslims from immigrating to he United States this week. Fiorina called his comment a gift to Democrats because it turns off most voters and disguises his lack of preparation.  “The pattern of Donald Trump is he never tells you what he is going to do. What he does is say something outrageous to grab the spotlight,” she said. “He insults people, but a leader doesn’t try to make people small. Donald Trump is not really a leader either.”

As one of the three Republican candidates who have never held elective office, Fiorina hopes to capitalize on voter dissatisfaction with veteran politicians. She isn’t shy about tossing a few brickbats at the outsider who is leading in most polls, Trump. She said he chose to make a comment about Muslim immigrants to steal attention from Ted Cruz who had had a good week on the campaign trail. But the reality television star never provides specifics about his plans because, she said, he isn’t savvy enough. “I learned a long time ago if someone can’t explain something, they don’t understand it,” she said. Tuesdays speech at Georgia Tech was Fiorinas first campaign appearance in Georgia. But she has collected dozens of endorsements from Peach State politicians, mostly around metro Atlanta. Monday, she sent reporters an updated list that includes 33 new names to bring her Georgia leadership list to 51. Among them are former 10th District congressional candidate Donna Sheldon of Dacula and state Rep. Valarie Clark of Lawrenceville.

Fiorina, a former chief executive of computer company Hewlett-Packard, is still introducing herself to Georgia voters who hadnt seen her as a Fox News commentator and didn’t follow her campaign to unseat California’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010. Fiorina won the Republican nomination but failed to defeat the veteran incumbent in a race that gained national attention. Before that, Fiorina chaired President George W. Bush’s external advisory board for the Central Intelligence Agency, and she was an advisor to John McCain when he ran for president in 2008.

Drawing from her background in business and intelligence, she has won respect from political observers during the televised debates with informed, coherent responses. She styles herself as the most potent answer to Democrat Hillary Clintons march to the White House because she would blockClinton’s appeal to voters who want to put a woman in the Oval Office. “If she faces me, it will be about merit. It will not be about her gender,” Fiorina said. Coincidentally, Clinton also chose a college campus for her first Georgia rally this fall.

The crowds packed the auditorium at Clark Atlanta College, and police turned away more than 100 students once capacity was reached. Briefly over the summer, Fiorinas candidacy rose to double digits in polls, putting her among the top one-third of the crowded primary. Since then, she has slid to around 3 percent, back among the bottom third of the Republican pack. In a response to a question from one of the 140 in the audience, she said she has gained the same standing as Jeb Bush after he has spent $50 million on ads while she has yet to spend a dime. “We have just come to the end of the beginning. I know it seems like this campaign has gone on forever, but we are just now starting the elimination round,” she said. “When that is over, I will be one of the ones still standing.”

Also stumping in Georgia was another Republican outsider, neurosurgeon Ben Carson. He has been to Georgia several times for party functions and even topped the straw poll conducted during the Georgia National Fair in October.

Follow Walter Jones on Twitter @MorrisNews and Facebook or contact him at Walter Jones Director Morris News Service (404) 783-8509

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