Ted Cruz picked up some outsider credibility today, just as he will make the argument that he needs to have Donald Trump all to himself in the Republican primaries. Carly Fiorina appeared on the campaign trail in Florida to offer her endorsement while Cruz tries to supplant Marco Rubio on his home turf. Fiorina hailed Cruz’ consistency on conservatism, while slamming Trump as “no different than Hillary Clinton”:
Carly Fiorina endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz at a Miami rally on Wednesday. …
“Ted Cruz has always been a constitutional conservative,” Fiorina said, describing Cruz as “a fearless fighter and reformer.”
Don’t expect reform from Trump, Fiorina warned:
“The truth is that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two sides of the same coin,” Fiorina said Wednesday, ripping the GOP front-runner.
“They aren’t going to reform the system. They are the system.”
It’s an interesting, but not surprising, move from the former GOP presidential candidate. She and Trump ran for the nomination on the same premise — that their business acumen and status as outsiders to the political world qualified them for the position of Chief Executive and positioned them to make wholesale changes to the “establishment.” Fiorina enjoyed one brief bubble in September, but Ben Carson absorbed that support shortly afterward.
However, it was clear that Fiorina had no affinity for Trump from the beginning. She attacked his business record and his habit of making personal insults, which … had zero impact on his candidacy. Trump ripped her record at Hewlett Packard, which seems to have been very effective, given her fade in the fall. Cruz will apparently use her as an attack surrogate anyway:
Mrs. Fiorina stressed Mr. Cruz’s electability, saying he “won, over and over and over again,” Mrs. Fiorina said.
She added: “It is time to unite behind Ted Cruz.”
Mrs. Fiorina hinted that she will serve as a Cruz surrogate attacking Mr. Trump, with whom she tangled in a Republican debate last September.
That makes more sense than having the candidate take on Trump directly. While Cruz has done that in debates lately, Rubio has gone full tilt against Trump. He’s scored hits on Trump, but the results in the primaries and the caucuses suggest that it was Rubio who sustained most of the damage. If Fiorina takes charge of the negative attacks on Trump, perhaps that will leave Cruz to offer the unifying message to supporters of the other non-Trump candidates.
At the very least, the timing is shrewd. Trump won the news cycle last night, but Cruz will probably win it today with this endorsement. That may be enough to get Cruz supporters a morale boost heading into the next Super Tuesday.