Ted Cruz Names His Pick For Vice President: Carly Fiorina

Apr 28, 2016
Originally published on April 29, 2016 3:36 pm
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Republican Ted Cruz has a teammate as he campaigns for president today.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

He says Carly Fiorina is his choice for vice president. He named his running mate even though the Republican convention is months away. That's when you'd normally make the choice.

INSKEEP: More significant, he named his running mate even though he is far from winning the presidential nomination. NPR's Don Gonyea reports from Indianapolis.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Ted Cruz needed to shake things up. Donald Trump is on a winning streak and on a plausible path to win the nomination and avoid a contested convention. So Cruz announced his pick for vice president, Carly Fiorina. He says the unusually early selection gives conservative voters certainty, something Cruz says they don't get from Trump.

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TED CRUZ: The voters deserve to know. You deserve to have a candidate who doesn't change as the wind blows in any given moment. You deserve to know exactly where a candidate stands.

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GONYEA: It was a hastily assembled rally in downtown Indianapolis.

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UNIDENTIFIED DEOMNSTRATORS: (Chanting) Carly, Carly, Carly.

GONYEA: Fiorina took the stage as staffers quickly passed out newly printed Cruz-Carly campaign signs.

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CARLY FIORINA: Today I am very proud and very humbled and honored.

GONYEA: And for yesterday, at least, she seemed to set aside any notion of supporting the party nominee if it's Trump.

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FIORINA: He doesn't represent me, and he does not represent my party.

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GONYEA: Fiorina's presidential bid ended in February after dismal showings in Iowa and New Hampshire. A month later, she endorsed Cruz. Her most memorable moments in the campaign were when she took on Trump. There was that time in January when Trump made a comment about the former Hewlett-Packard CEO that was widely interpreted as sexist. Here's CNN's Jake Tapper to Fiorina at a January debate.

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JAKE TAPPER: Quote, "look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that the face of our next president?" Mr. Trump later said he was talking about your persona, not your appearance.

GONYEA: Fiorina's response.

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FIORINA: I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

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GONYEA: Ted Cruz took note. This is the first time since 1976 that a major party candidate has named a running mate so early. Forty years ago, Ronald Reagan was challenging and trailing incumbent President Gerald Ford. The tactic didn't work then. Now Cruz is giving it a go. Watching Fiorina yesterday was 61-year-old Lisa Kobe, a Republican who says she can't vote Trump. She was once a backer of Ohio Governor John Kasich. Now...

LISA KOBE: I love Carly Fiorina, so that has made me very close to considering Cruz.

GONYEA: But other Indiana voters see the move as a last gasp. Fifty-six-year-old Nancy Paul was waiting in line to see Trump at a town hall just blocks from the Cruz-Fiorina event.

NANCY PAUL: I think it's a hail mary. I think it's the last desperate, you now, thing he can think of to possibly do, is name a female running mate just to, hopefully, capture the female vote.

GONYEA: Cruz's only hope is a contested convention. To get that, he needs to beat Trump in more contests. Indiana's primary next Tuesday is crucial. Giving the usual speech and holding the same old events hasn't been working so well. So why not try this, even if the odds remain very long? Don Gonyea, NPR News, Indianapolis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.