Carly Fiorina comes out of the gate swinging at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Will Carly Fiorina Boost Ted Cruz?
Will Carly Fiorina Boost Ted Cruz?

Clinton-Trump 2016? Might as well be, if you ask Carly Fiorina.

Freshly minted Republican vice presidential candidate Fiorina came roaring off the blocks Thursday with a twofer slam at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

"I put them in the same category, because they are in the same category. They agree on many things," Fiorina said a day after she officially teamed up with presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.

"They are two sides of the same coin: Hillary Clinton has made her millions selling access and influence, and Donald Trump has made his billions buying people like Hillary Clinton off," the former Hewlett-Packard CEO said on Fox News' Fox & Friends.

"So, if you want to have a nominee who's actually a conservative and who will fight the system, now you have a real clear choice."

Cruz held a joint rally with Fiorina on Wednesday, just ahead of the mission-critical Indiana primary and a day after Trump cleaned his clock in five Northeast Republican state contests.

The calculation: Choosing Fiorina ostensibly serves a few purposes for Cruz in his uphill battle to wrest the GOP nomination from frontrunner Trump and get to the big November dance with Clinton.

See photos of Fiorina and Cruz from Wednesday's announcement:

She's got a track record of standing up to Trump, she's a political outsider (not for lack of trying, though) and as a woman, she can both attempt to appeal to other women and take on Clinton directly, insulating Cruz from accusations of "mansplaining" the election.

At the same time, Fiorina was never a GOP primary A-lister in her own right, raising questions about how much firepower she brings to the Cruz Crew.

Fiorina endorsed Cruz in February after ending her own failed bid for the presidency — and on Thursday, she tried to spin away some of the rhetorical grenades she previously launched at her new running mate.

"In the heat of a political campaign, sometimes you say things that turn out not to be true," the former tech boss said.

Originally published