It seemed like a shame when Carly Fiorina missed the main stage at the first GOP debate—and now, watching her in action in the second debate, we know for a fact it was a shame.

Because though it's highly unlikely that she'll be the Republican nominee for president come 2016, her presence at tonight's second GOP primary debate showed just how archaic some of her opponents are when it comes to dealing with women. If they don't want to actually revoke some of their rights, it became fairly apparent that the remaining one or so on the dais who claim to respect women would prove it by judging a who's-got-the-best-ass competition.

Practically scolded by the likes of Chris Christie for interrupting, Fiorina seemingly fielded the fewest questions about Planned Parenthood and a woman's legal right to get an abortion (for the record, she's for limited rights on that) and, though Donald Trump has had companies go bankrupt under his watch, she was the one grilled about her ouster at Hewlett Packard after spending six years as the Fortune 500 tech company's first-ever female CEO. (Also for the record, her tenure there wasn't anything to write home about.)

Republican Debate, Carly Fiorina

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

But just as the lone woman at the party stuck out the last time for sticking it to the guys (it's nuts that we can't yet take such things for granted these days, but...not yet), Fiorina remained cool and collected while having to be asked yet again about Trump dissing her looks. (Though at least this time she had Rand Paul down the line for solidarity.)

Moderator Jake Tapper asked her again about Trump's comment to Rolling Stone in which he rhetorically asked who would vote for "that face," Trump's insistence that he was referring to Fiorina's "persona" and what she in turn thought of Trump's "persona."

"It's interesting to me," she said calmly. "Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly in what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said."

Trump smiled and, while turning increasingly beet red, offered, "I think she's got a beautiful face and I think she's a beautiful woman."

Trump-Fiorina GOP Debate 2


Well, aside from making Trump actually face one of his female targets after the fact (he hasn't done that Megyn Kelly interview yet...), Fiorina also got the biggest round of applause of the night  for the icy burn.

You'd almost think there were a few women in the audience who would rather that "political correctness" not fall entirely by the wayside...

"For the first time in this campaign, Trump is humbled (by Carly) and looked apologetic and not true to what he believes. Start of the end?" wondered Bill Maher via Twitter. Hmm...probably not, considering how much his super-rude Rosie O'Donnell comment troubled nobody who didn't already dislike him after the first debate.

But while a common question zigzagging through the twitterverse throughout the debate was "who hates women more?" (Fiorina certainly wasn't exempt from that conversation, either) it would seem to be a pretty low-water mark for the whole Republican party if the oblivious conversation about women's rights that went on on that stage doesn't shame the entire operation.

Trump, meanwhile, did say in his throwaway, let's-move-on-to-the-important-stuff manner, "I will take care of women. I respect women."

And while we suspect even he isn't entirely sure what he means by that, we feel that he'd be at least way too busy getting ready of Obamacare and solving ISIS to tangle with women's rights should he be, gulp, elected.

Here's a smattering of the tweets reacting to the women-are-from-Mars-but-men-rule-the-universe vibe in the air during the GOP debate:

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