Hey, I never begrudge anyone for failing. The only people who don't fail are those who never put themselves out to be in a position to fail and that is a lot less admirabe in my opinion than coming off looking foolish.
I can understand that statement, but what I imagine (I don't really know the woman) is that this is not an example of the little engine that could, but an example of a poser... Someone who enjoys pretending to be some romantic concept of a noble idealogue "stateswoman" and when it came to a time for her to actually perform, her fraud was exposed. The same lady trying to make some speech at the local PTA and having the same thing happen would likely be expected to be given a large degree of sympathy and gracious encouragement. But this lady is running for a real office, and it is not at all inappropriate to acknowledge her failure to perform in this venue as evidence of her masquerade, as well as evidence of her inability to perform effectively in the office which she seeks.