INDIANAPOLIS (REUTERS) — The president of the Susan B. Anthony List — an organization which promotes political prolife candidates — has said Carly Fiorina is an "ideal" choice for U.S. Repubican presidential candidate Ted Cruz to select as his vice presidential running mate if he wins the nomination.
Marjorie Dannefenfelser and other conservatives believe Fiorina, 61, a former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive, could help Cruz with women voters.
"She will take Hillary Clinton head-on," Dannenfelser said in a statement.
Cruz made the announcement after losses to front-runner Donald Trump earlier this week.
"She is careful. She is measured. She is serious," Cruz said. "She doesn't get rattled."
Fiorina, 61, dropped her own White House bid in February after a lacklustre seventh-place finish in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary. She endorsed Cruz, a 45-year-old U.S. senator from Texas, a month later and has been a sharp critic on the campaign trail of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Cruz's unusually early announcement of a running mate appeared to be a bid to recover from Tuesday's losses, which moved Trump closer to the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination at the July 18-21 Republican convention in Cleveland. The nominee will face the Democrats' pick in November's general election.
Traditionally, the winners of the Republican and Democratic presidential races announce their running mates in the period between clinching the nomination and the summer national conventions.
But Cruz needs help after Tuesday's drubbing by Trump, 69, in all five Northeastern states that held primary elections: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The choice of Fiorina could offer Cruz a boost in the June 7 primary in California, where in 2010 Fiorina won the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. She was defeated in the subsequent general election by incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer.
'Waste of Time'
In a statement, Trump was scornful of Cruz's decision to pick a running mate, calling it "a pure waste of time" and "a desperate attempt to save a failing campaign by an all-talk, no-action politician."
"Cruz has no path to victory. He is only trying to stay relevant," the New York billionaire and former reality TV star said.
Trump and Fiorina tangled on the campaign trail during her White House race. After Trump insulted her looks in an interview - "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?" - she sternly rebuked him in a debate.
"I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said," Fiorina said last September.
A breast cancer survivor who lost a stepdaughter to drug addiction, Fiorina served as Hewlett-Packard CEO from 1999 to 2005. She was forced to resign amid weak earnings as the company struggled to digest a $19 billion merger with then-rival Compaq Computer Corp.
Her campaign never took off in the original, crowded 17-member Republican presidential field, and she was mostly relegated to the early second-tier debates for low-polling candidates.
If she is nominated, Fiorina would become the third woman to win a major-party vice presidential nomination. She would follow Geraldine Ferraro, who ran with Democrat Walter Mondale in 1984, and Sarah Palin, who ran with Republican John McCain in 2008. Both tickets lost in the general election.
Clinton would be the first woman to be the presidential nominee of a major party.
(Reporting by James Oliphant in Indianapolis and Emily Stephenson, Jeff Mason, Megan Cassella and Alana Wise in Washington; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)