PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Michael Steele, a former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, reacted to the announcement that Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is naming former Hewlitt-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate in his race for the White House. The move is seen as a play to bolster support for a campaign that would need a convention floor fight to win the nomination away from current Republican front runner Donald Trump.
Steele explained to Rich Zeoli that Fiorina’s role will be to help limit the number of convention delegates Trump amasses in the upcoming primaries.
“I love Carly. I think she was a very strong candidate. Unfortunately, she got stuck in the vortex of the way the system played out early on. She will bring a lot to bear for a Ted Cruz candidacy if he makes it to the nomination, but that’s not the purpose now. The purpose now is to have Carly Fiorina become the pit bull that doesn’t nip at, but actually tries to take huge chunks out of Donald Trump’s ankles on his way to Indiana. This is about Indiana and then California.”
Ultimately, however, he thinks this move comes after the point when it could’ve made a difference in the race.
“I just happen to think it’s a little too late. I think it becomes a distraction. I think it splits the focus a little bit. No one is really interested in Carly Fiorina attacking Donald Trump as much as they’re more interested in the top tier exchange, Trump to Cruz, Cruz to Trump. It’ll be an interesting dynamic to see how they play that out.”
Steele also thinks it could present problems for the Cruz campaign, if the messaging between him and Fiorina is ever confused.
“The question becomes what is the value added in announcing your running mate now? There can be some downside limitations that come with that, particularly if they say something that’s not in line with what the candidate is talking about or all of the back channel political stuff that you don’t really see and hear that bubbles up and, at some point, when it becomes a festering sore for the campaign. It’s going to be interesting to watch but I get that it’s a short term political play.”