Could Carly Fiorina solve Republicans' women problem? Many in the party, which has had trouble appealing to female voters, think so after the former CEO's strong performance in this week's GOP debate, the New York Times reports. “Many Republicans will see her, even if she’s not the nominee, as that magic key that can unlock the gender gap,” the president of a Republican consulting firm tells the Times. The Washington Post—noting that Fiorina scored points with women by calling out Donald Trump during the debate—observes that she may be "part of the answer to the GOP’s difficulties appealing to female voters." The Times has a similar take, writing that she's emerging as a "credible antidote to the gender gap and the Democrats' claims of a Republican 'war on women.'"
That's something the GOP needs right now, as congressional Republicans are threatening to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding and seeking to ban abortion at 20 weeks, the Times reports. And Hillary Clinton's fading popularity with women may leave the door open for Republicans to steal some of those votes. “If she’s not on the ticket, they would be foolish not to offer her a key role in the next administration,” the president of Concerned Women for America tells the Times. The Post reports that one big question will be how she stands up to the closer scrutiny sure to come, pointing out that Google searches about her firing at Hewlett-Packard spiked when the issue arose during the debate. And the Times notes that during her losing 2010 Senate race against Barbara Boxer, she got only 39% of women's votes. (Read more Carly Fiorina stories.)