Why Carly Fiorina is on a media blitz

Washington (CNN)A central theme of Carly Fiorina's nascent campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is that she is uniquely positioned to neutralize the historic potential of Hillary Clinton's 2016 bid.

But first, she has to introduce herself to voters, who in large part don't know who she is.
On the day she announced her candidacy, Fiorina sat for two interviews with ABC's "Good Morning America" in New York. Then she hopped on a phone for a mid-morning press call with 65 journalists. After lunch, she was off to Yahoo News' studio for a live sit-down with anchor Katie Couric, followed by a question-and-answer session using the live-streaming app Periscope. That evening, she joined Megyn Kelly on Fox News.
The next day was no different: Fiorina navigated eight interviews, including Glenn Beck's radio show, CNN and "The Late Show with Seth Meyers." Seven more interviews were scheduled Wednesday, followed by five press availabilities over the weekend in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
    Fiorina's exhaustive schedule is emblematic of candidates who enter the race without a lick of national name ID. For a candidate whose name barely registers in CNN/ORC polls conducted regularly since November, Fiorina — and upstart candidates like her -- must rely on the media's megaphone to get her name heard. Even better-known contenders like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, did a media blitz after announcing their presidential bids.
    "Candidates with lower name identification must jump at virtually every opportunity to garner media coverage," said Republican political consultant Ellen Carmichael, who managed press outreach for Herman Cain's presidential campaign in 2011, a candidate who started out virtually unknown. "For some, this means creating their own news by saying things the media deems controversial. For others, it means answering every media inquiry and agreeing to every interview that comes your way. More established candidates, however, have the luxury of passing on requests."
    That's one luxury that Clinton is enjoying.
    Since her presidential campaign announcement on April 12, Clinton has not held a formal press conference. While on the campaign trail, she has responded — reluctantly at times -- to roughly eight questions from journalists.
    Even that count is a charitable one, given that some responses have been little more than short exclamations, such as, "I'm having a great time, can't look forward any more than I am," which she said in response to a question about her strategy in Iowa. When a reporter in New Hampshire asked about her next stop on the campaign trail, she merely said, "Oh, onward."
    Clinton has been so reclusive in the first weeks of her candidacy that the New York Times started publishing questions their reporters would have asked her that day on the campaign trail if they had had the chance.
    At this early stage in the race, Clinton doesn't need to rely on the media to reach her core supporters. She has a Twitter feed with 3.47 million followers and a new Facebook page that has grown to 800,000 online supporters since her announcement in April. This week her campaign launched a web series called, "The Briefing," which it intends to use to combat what they consider unfriendly media coverage.
    It would be hard to see how any other candidate could take such a brazen go-it-alone approach.
    Of course, Clinton's absence from media interviews does not come without consequence.
    Her lone official challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders, announced his candidacy last week and quickly booked a round of interviews, which led the liberal magazine Mother Jones to post the jabbing headline, "Bernie Sanders Has Already Taken More Press Questions Than Hillary Clinton."
    This is one of the few instances in which die-hard liberal Sanders and conservative Fiorina are in the same boat: The CNN/ORC poll in April found that just 5% of Democratic voters would consider supporting Sanders, compared to 69% for Clinton.
    As the campaign progresses, Clinton will become more available for press questions, Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson told CNN. But as the frontrunner 19 months until the general election, her campaign strategists know that journalists will still continue to cover her regardless of whether she answers questions.
    Her lesser-known opponents—on both sides of the aisle—don't have that benefit.