Carly Fiorina, just one day after GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz tagged her as his running mate, rejected concerns that the Texas senator's Washington battles are a negative factor in his campaign for higher office
She also pushed Cruz's candidacy as the only path to victory in November for her party, predicting GOP front-runner Donald Trump would be "shellacked" in a general election showdown with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"There are some things that go on in Washington that need to be fought, need to be repealed, need to get undone of, and that's why I'm a conservative," Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who dropped her own bid for the presidency, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program
Her comments came after show co-host Mika Brzezinski, telling Fiorina that she had doubts about a Cruz-Fiorina ticket, questioned the "negative" tone of Fiorina's announcement speech on Wednesday.
"A large chunk of your speech is about fighting and about the value of making enemies," Brzezinski said. "You even say that you make enemies . . . I'm wondering since there's so much negativity in the speech, is that a talent you want to boast for yourself and your candidate?"
Fiorina responded that actually, accomplishments in Washington are part of the problem, including the passage of Obamacare, and "80 percent of Americans now know that the federal government is incompetent and corrupt. And 80 percent of Americans also think we have a professional political class of both parties who cares more about position and power and privilege than getting anything done."
And, she insisted that Trump won't fight the system, because he "is the system."
"He's made his billions buying people like Hillary Clinton off," said Fiorina. "He freely admits it. He has spent his life taking advantage of that system and so has Hillary Clinton. So if you think that system isn't working for you, and it isn't working for the vast majority of Americans as you point out, don't vote for Donald Trump and don't vote for Hillary Clinton as well.
"Now you have a clear choice. Can you vote Cruz/Fiorina or Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. They are two sides of the same coin."
Fiorina said she voted for Cruz about nine weeks ago in Virginia, before she endorsed him, and over the last seven weeks she's gotten to know him and his family. Further, she insisted that it is not too soon for Cruz to make his announcement.
"I think Ted Cruz wants to be sure that the people of Indiana and the people of this nation understand the choice in front of them," said Fiorina. "I think this is a fight for the soul of our party and the future of our nation.
"I'm not afraid of tough fights, I've been in them most of my life. But I do think for some of us principles matter and convictions matter and policies and principles matter."
Fiorina also rejected the idea that a contested convention would be an "untoward or unsavory" way to pick a presidential nominee.
"As in many games, football being one of them, the 5-yard line isn't a touchdown, it's just close. So 1,150 or 1,200 is close but it's not a touchdown," she said of calls to allow Trump to clinch the nomination with a number close to the 1,237 delegates needed.
She predicted that Trump would be "shellacked by Hillary Clinton" if he is the nominee, but asserted that he could lose the nomination if he doesn't get the majority.
"Donald Trump just figured it out, but wow, this system has been in place for a very long time," she said, referring to his claims that he should be named the nominee even if he falls slightly short of the required 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination."We're a republic, actually, not a democracy."
"I think what we need in November is a very clear choice," she said.
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