Carly Fiorina: Why She Keeps Talking About Hot Dogs

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina checks to see if the pork chops are done at the Iowa Pork Producers Association site at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 17, 2015.PlayAl Drago/CQ Roll Call/AP Photo
WATCH Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

In a presidential campaign in which the candidates are constantly peppered with questions on everything from how defeat ISIS to how to reform the tax code, Carly Fiorina is still wrestling with the answer to one of the first questions she ever received as a candidate.

The great hot dog debate, which began during a Periscope town hall on the same day she launched her White House bid in May, has now become a frequent topic of conversation for her on the campaign trail. She’s even taken to posing it to the audiences she speaks to across the country.

“I’ve been asked all sorts of interesting questions over the course of my campaign. I have a reputation for answering any question,” Fiorina said at a recent campaign event in New Hampshire. “So I have to do a little poll here, because one of the questions I was asked on the very first day of my campaign was ‘Is a hot dog a sandwich?’”

When the question was first posed, the Republican presidential contender said that a hot dog does not count as a sandwich. It’s a view she maintains to this day. And she clearly relishes turning the question back on her crowds.

“It’s a burning question on someone’s mind, so what do you think?” she continued, eliciting laughter from the audience. “How many people think a hot dog is a sandwich?”

But there’s much more to the hot dog riff than just mustard on a bun. Fiorina uses it to demonstrate how she does not shy away from answering any question – be it profound or sometimes silly -- in a fashion that she says distinguishes her from career politicians.

“I can’t tell you how many people come up to me at each and every campaign event and tell me ‘Thank you, I’d almost lost hope or they’ll say something even more basic ‘Thank you for answering my question,” Fiorina recently told a gathering in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“What a low bar that is,” she continued, drawing laughter from the audience. “Really, what a low bar it is to say we’re stunned and amazed and grateful that somebody running for president actually talks in common sense and answers a plain question with a plain answer.”

When Fiorina polled a gathering of prospective voters at the New Hampshire home of former Massachusetts’ Sen. Scott Brown last weekend, only a few hands shot up in agreement with the notion that a hot dog qualifies as a sandwich.

“Yeah, see I agree, a hot dog is a unique thing,” Fiorina said, siding with the silent majority. “A hot dog is not a sandwich.”

It was only coincidence that hot dogs were being served in Brown’s yard that day, though Fiorina did not eat one of the hundreds of franks that were grilled for the crowd that overflowed from the yard into the road.

Fiorina does not personally like hot dogs, a fact she herself volunteered back in May. And despite the fact that her rejection of the all-American grilled meat might constitute a political faux pax, it’s also Fiorina’s way of showing she’s not afraid to take a tough stance.

“I just don’t,” Fiorina said during that social media town hall. “I know it’s the all American food, but I just don’t like them."