APPLETON, Wisconsin — In a week full of headlines emphasizing Donald Trump’s problems attracting the support of women voters, the Ted Cruz campaign turned to its new tandem of Heidi Cruz (the candidate’s wife) and Carly Fiorina (his former primary foe) to present a distinctly different message ahead of Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary.
“What I think is happening with women – as well, frankly, as with men – is the more people see of Donald Trump, the less they like him,” Fiorina told NBC News after a campaign stop in Appleton, Wisconsin, on Thursday.
Trump’s difficulties in winning over women has been apparent throughout the primary season but new polling from Wisconsin indicates he may be headed into trouble in that state’s primary next Tuesday. And the Cruz campaign appears poised to be the beneficiary.
When Cruz traveled on Wednesday and Thursday to California, standing in his place in Wisconsin 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’s Pizza.
Cruz approached Blank, who immediately expressed her concern about Trump’s 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 will win the hearts of the American people.”
Blank responded, referring to Heidi, “You can tell [Ted Cruz] has great things behind him – and it helps that you’re really pretty, too.”
Fiorina has stepped onto the trail sounding like a vice presidential candidate – using populist-driven riffs while lashing out at Trump (“He’s not an outsider – he is the system!”) and praising the “fearless fighter” Cruz who she is “proud” of for “making enemies.”
But she has also taken on the role of interjector-in-chief. Standing by Cruz’s 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—”
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