Carly Fiorina, visiting “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Monday, said she would be “fine” with a Muslim president, she compared Donald Trump to Russian Leader Vladimir Putin and she sang a verse from a song that she sings to her dog, Snickers.
Reflecting the importance of late-night TV to political campaigns, as she appeared on Fallon, GOP rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was guesting on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was a guest on “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.”
Fresh off what was considered a winning debate performance last week, Fiorina has been rising in polls, No. 2 behind Trump according to a CNN/ORC poll released on Monday.
She drew big laughs from the audience when the topic came to Putin, who she said she had met once at a conference in China.
Asked about the prospect that Trump would meet with Putin when Putin is in New York for the United Nations Summit, Fiorina said, “the two of them have a lot in common,” before adding, “we’ll just leave it at that.”
She also addressed rival Ben Carson’s declaration on Sunday that a Muslim should not be able to be president of the United States. “I think that’s wrong,” she said. “It says in our Constitution that religion cannot be a test for office.” Asked if she would be fine with a Muslim president, she said, “Yes, I would be fine with that.”
Her song was to the tune of “Rock Around the Clock.” “My name is snick and you’re going to have to carry me,” she sang.
On Colbert, Cruz talked about the “exhilarating” experience of running for president.
He said that he has joked with his young daughters that “running for president is real simple — you just have to surgically disconnect your shame sensor, because you spend every single waking moment asking people for money.”
Colbert asked Cruz what question he should ask Trump, who will be his guest on Tuesday, and Cruz, noting that Trump is rich, answered, “Will you possibly consider giving $1 million to our campaign?”
After Cruz talked of the appeal of Ronald Reagan to both far right conservatives and Democrats, Colbert noted that Reagan raised taxes and gave amnesty to undocumented immigrants.
“Neither of those things would allow Reagan to be nominated today,” Colbert said, also pointing out the compromises Reagan made with then-Speaker Tip O’Neill.
Cruz responded that “as I travel the country, I haven’t seen anyone saying, ‘The thing we want of Republicans is to give in more to Barack Obama in the direction we are going.”
But Colbert pressed him on whether he would be willing to compromise.
“Is it possible?”
Cruz answered that he makes a point of not responding in kind to attacks on him.
“When others attack me, I make a point of keeping the focus on substance,” he said.
Colbert also asked him about opposition to gay marriage.
Cruz said that marriage “is a question for the states.”
“I don’t think we should entrust governing our society to five unelected lawyers… If you want to win an issue go to the ballot box.”
Wilmore had a “soul food sitdown” with Sanders, in which he shares a meal with a candidate. “Do you think America is ready for the first socialist president?” asked Wilmore, as he bit into a piece of fried chicken.
“Yeah, I do,” Sanders replied. “Once we understand what Democratic socialism means… what it means is learning from countries like Denmark and Sweden and Finland and Norway. They have free healthcare for all of their people. They have free college education for all of their people.”
Photo: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC