Senator Barbara Boxer and her opponent, Carly Fiorina, met in a debate at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif.. The two candidates sparred over the economy, one another’s records, and a number of other issues such as gay rights and global warming.
According to California Beat, the debate seemed to hinge over which person could best represent California in the Senate: the entrenched, super-partisan, long-serving senator; or the heartless, greedy corporate fat cat. Of course that is how each candidate described the other, demonstrating the classic lines of attack for each party against the other.
Boxer, for example, could not help but mention how Fiorina laid off 30,000 employees at Hewitt Packard, playing the class-warfare card. Fiorina pointed out that was one of the hard decisions many corporate CEOs are faced with in times of economic down turn, and insisted that in the long run she doubled the size of the company, thus adding jobs. Fiorina also suggested that Boxer had been an ineffective senator because of her excessive partisanship.
The contrast between the two candidates could not be more clear on economic issues. Boxer defended the stimulus package, suggesting that it added jobs in California. Fiorina countered that California was still in an economic downturn, with unemployment rising. She suggested that tax cuts and regulatory relief were better solutions to economic malaise.
Fiorina attacked cap-and-trade legislation and advocated research into “clean energy,” including nuclear power. Carly Fiorina did seem to tap dance when she refused to express a position on a California ballot initiative that would suspend global warming legislation until California’s unemployment rate comes down. Barbara Boxer opposes the ballot initiative and supports global warming legislation that limits greenhouse gasses.
Boxer and Fiorina seemed to agree on same-sex marriage, but clashed on abortion (Boxer is pro-choice and Fiorina pro-life) and gun control (Fiorina opposes an assault weapons ban.)
Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina entered the debate roughly neck and neck in the polls. During the debate, Boxer had the disadvantage of having to defend Obama economic policies that have manifestly failed. Fiorina, on the other hand, vigorously defended a more free-market approach to jump-starting the economy. Whether the class-warfare tactics of Barbara Boxer or the economic empowerment counter argument of Carly Fiorina will win the day is as yet uncertain. California is a blue, Democratic-leaning state. On the other hand, California has suffered more than most states under the current economic downturn, and the state that launched the career of Ronald Reagan may be open to solutions other than government-mandated ones.
Clashes about global warming (albeit somewhat important in environmental California), gay rights, abortion, and guns are likely incidental. The primary issues are the economy, the economy, and the economy. And in that, Fiorina has the advantage. But Barbara Boxer is, if nothing else, a tough, even vicious campaigner. She will not go down easy.
Source: Senate candidates Boxer, Fiorina spar in debate, Steven Lao, California Beat, September 1st, 2010