Mitt Romney looking for two women in his binders to beat Hillary in 2016
Mitt Romney speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

On the day Hillary Clinton formally launched her presidential campaign with a rally on Roosevelt Island in New York City, and gave a speech laden with promises and appeals on women’s rights and other progressive causes, failed 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney told a GOP gathering his party could have an all-woman ticket in 2016.

Speaking at his own closed-to-the-press conference in Park City, Utah , Romney reportedly praised the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, a declared candidate for the GOP nomination, and said he would not be surprised if the Republicans turned out to be “the party that has two women on the ticket”.

Fiorina, who has never held office and is widely criticised for her record while in charge of HP, is lagging in polls concerning a Republican field that could reach 16 candidates and in which she is the only woman. As such, she is in danger of missing out on the first Republican debate , which will be hosted by Fox News in Cleveland on 6 August and will only include the top 10 candidates at the time.

On current polling that would include – should he announce on 16 June that he is in fact running – the property mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump.

On Saturday, evincing thinking contrary to a common theory that Fiorina may eventually pitch for a vice-presidential role with the Republican nominee, Romney suggested that New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte would make a good running mate for Fiorina.

Fiorina, who was one of six Republican hopefuls to appear at Romney’s event, has made attacking Clinton her key campaign strategy, last month going so far as to stage a press conference outside one of the former secretary of state’s own campaign appearances, in South Carolina .

Last week, Fiorina told the Guardian about her foreign policy credentials, and said she “knows more world leaders on the stage” than any of her Republican competitors.

Senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham and three Republican governors – Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of New Jersey and John Kasich of Ohio – also attended the Romney event. © Guardian News and Media 2015