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Ted Cruz names Carly Fiorina as running mate

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, in a last-ditch bid to slow front-runner Donald Trump’s momentum, on Wednesday named former business executive Carly Fiorina to be his vice presidential running mate if he wins the nomination.

After suffering a series of crushing losses to Trump in nominating contests on Tuesday, Cruz praised Fiorina as a principled fighter for conservative values who knew how to create jobs and would be a valuable ally on the campaign trail.

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“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 lackluster 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.

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The choice of Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard Co chief executive who, like Trump, has never held elective office, could help Cruz with women voters, a group that Trump has had difficulty winning over to his outsider campaign.

It also 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’

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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.

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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.

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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.

Some conservatives applauded the choice. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which works to elect political candidates who oppose abortion rights, said Fiorina was the “ideal” choice.

“She will take Hillary Clinton head-on,” Dannenfelser said in a statement.

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.

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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)


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Elections 2016

Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines

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Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.

"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.

More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.

At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.

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Elections 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy

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In a progressive welcoming move, Chief Justice John Roberts issued his New Year's Eve annual report urging his fellow federal judges to stand up for democracy.

"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."

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Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why

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According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.

As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."

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