Cruz's Dynamic Duo Counter Trump's Women Woes

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 2:15 AM

"What I think is happening with women - as well, frankly, as with men - is the more people look of Donald Trump, the less they love him," Fiorina told NBC News after a campaign stop in Appleton, Wisconsin, on Thursday.

Cruz's Dynamic Duo Counter Trump's Women Woes

— In a week full of headlines emphasizing Donald Trump'south problems attracting the support of women voters, the Ted Cruz campaign turned to its new tandem of Heidi Cruz (the candidate'south wife) and Carly Fiorina (his former primary foe) to present a distinctly different message ahead of Tuesday'south WI primary.

"What I think is happening with women - as well, frankly, as with men - is the more people look of Donald Trump, the less they love him," Fiorina told NBC News after a campaign stop in Appleton, Wisconsin, on Thursday.

Trump'south difficulties in winning over women has been obvious throughout the primary season but new polling from WI indicates he may be headed into trouble in that state'south primary following Tuesday. And the Cruz campaign appears poised to be the beneficiary.

The Marquette Law School poll released this week gives Cruz a ten percentage point overall advantage on Trump in the state - forty % to thirty percent -- but that spread is rooted in the stark gap between the no of men (thirty-five percent) and women (twenty-four percent) who back Trump'south candidacy. Nationally, the picture is even more dim for Trump. An NBC/WSJ poll in March found that seventy % of women among the common electorate keep a negative view of him.

Just this week, Trump made waves for initially advocating "punishment" for women who have abortions should the procedure be banned (as he supports). The candidate later reversed his position to declare physicians, not women, should be the target of punishment in that circumstance. And Trump'south campaign manager was charged with assault for allegedly grabbing a reporter and the candidate faced criticism for a roundtable of national security advisers void of women.

Those obvious stumbles are being met by an intentional advancement by the Cruz campaign to widen its engagement with women. For most of this year, until Fiorina'south endorsement, the campaign had relied nearly entirely on white men as exterior surrogates: Glenn Beck, Phil Robertson, Rick Perry, fmr. Sen. Bob Smith, Bob Vander Plaats, and Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert.

That'south changing. On Wednesday, Cruz hosted a program hailed as a "Women'south Event" that featured his wife, Fiorina and his mother, Eleanor Darragh, in front of several hundred in Madison. "Every issue is a women'south issue," said candidate Cruz, sitting following to the trio.

When Cruz traveled on Wednesday and Thursday to California, standing in his space in WI was the tandem of Heidi Cruz and Carly Fiorina - who embarked on a six-stop tour together on the Cruz bus across Wisconsin, hitting local campaign offices and retail stops at the likes of The Creamery in Der Pere.

"What a team, what a team!" exclaimed Patti Blank, an occupational therapist in Appleton, after Heidi Cruz and Fiorina stopped at her lunch table at Stuc'south Pizza.

Cruz approached Blank, who immediately expressed her concern about Trump'south presence in the race. Cruz, leaning across the table, told her their campaign would continue to focus on a "positive message and treating people well, fairly and with respect - as we've always done. And I think that'll win the hearts of the American people."

Empty responded, referring to Heidi, "You can tell [Ted Cruz] has grand things behind him - and it helps that you're really pretty, too."

After spending the initial months of the campaign primarily helping to construct its fundraising infrastructure, Heidi Cruz has progressively increased her solo efforts on the road, helping to soften the image of her husband.

At a pep rally interior the campaign'south Fond du Lac field office, Cruz called him "the kindest person I know" and suggested, "That'south not really the husband that I married - someone who's really far right."

Just as prevalent on the stump for Cruz is Carly Fiorina, who hears shouts of "VP!" at nearly every rally since her endorsement on March nine.

Fiorina has stepped onto the trace sounding love a vice presidential candidate - using populist-driven riffs while lashing out at Trump ("He'south not an outsider - he's the system!") and praising the "fearless fighter" Cruz who she's "proud" of for "making enemies."

But she's also taken on the role of interjector-in-chief. Standing by Cruz'south side at a press conference earlier this week, a Daily Mail reporter challenged Cruz on unsubstantiated National Enquirer allegations that he was involved in extramarital affairs. But before Cruz could let out a word, Fiorina jumped in - "If I may—"

The reporter responded, "No, I asked the senator that question, Mrs. Fiorina." Fiorina refused to yield, "Well, I'm going to comment, okay." The reporter tersely fired back, "Do you've first hand information of his marriage?"

Not flinching, Fiorina took over the conversation, calling Trump "a serial philanderer" and redirecting the attention to Obama'south foreign policy.

Fiorina told NBC News on Thursday that she feels she can "help him out" during these exchanges.

"Let'south face it - sometimes the questions that the media asks are absurd, and as you've arrive to know me on the campaign trail, I don't shy far from taking it on," Fiorina said. "So there are times when I think someone other than Ted can declare things that he can't say. And in that specific case, it was just an outrageous, absurd question."

It mimicked an exchange just hours earlier interior a Milwaukee pub, where Cruz and Fiorina stopped for lunch. When a National Review reporter inquired about the prospects of Fiorina as his vice presidential pick, Cruz responded for less than twenty seconds - though first offering up that Fiorina would "make an incredible "VP" - before Fiorina stepped in.

"Wisconsin has a really necessary role. Let'south obtain him the nomination first," Fiorina interjected before adding, "The media keeps jumping ahead."

Fiorina'south continued to carry the back-and-forth with the reporter for the following two minutes alongside a quiet Cruz, who, sensing the discussion'south end, then crossed between the two to shake the hands of the restaurant staff.

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