As per usual, there was a lot more to the story of tonight’s semi-epic debate between U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republican senatorial nominee Carly Fiorina debate than I could fit into the story for tomorrow’s editions, so here’s some of the rest.
Asked about the minor flap in which she had reprimanded a general testifying before Congress to call her “Senator” rather than the military honorific “ma’am,” Boxer said “people absolutely have a right to criticize me for anything I do” but she’d thought it appropriate that they address each other by their proper titles. She said she called the general afterward and asked whether she should apologize, and he said that wasn’t necessary. Fiorina said she was “pleased to hear” that Boxer and the general had that conversation.
The candidates were asked about a federal judge’s decision declaring unconstitutional Proposition 8 of 2008, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, and about inequalities same-sex couples experience under federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Fiorina said she believes marriage is only between a man and a woman, but supports civil unions for same-sex couples; DOMA was passed with bipartisan support, she noted, while “the voters were quite clear about their views” in passing Prop. 8 and to have one judge overturn those views “seems perhaps not appropriate.” Boxer said our system of government relies on the courts acting as a check on legislation, and she believes “people are coming around to see” that marriage equality is a matter of equal civil rights.
Boxer was asked about her reputation as being more partisan and less able to work across the aisle than her fellow California senator, Dianne Feinstein; she replied that she has cosponsored about 500 Republican bills, and worked with Republicans to pass legislation enabling afterschool programs and helping veterans.
“We both need to run on our records and I am proud to run on my record at HP,” Fiorina replied, calling Boxer’s record “long on talk and very short on achievement” because of her partisanship; she noted that climate-change legislation that Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, had idenfitied as a top priority was taken out of her hands and given instead to U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who has more of a reputation for working across the aisle. “I think it’s telling that her bitter partisanship prevented her from getting her top priority accomplished.”
More after the jump…
Fiorina said she opposes abortion choice and would advocate overturning the Roe v. Wade ruling “if there were an opportunity,” as she believes in states’ rights and would leave it to each states’ voters to decide; she said she’s “comfortable with federal funding for adult stem cell research,” but opposes it for research in which embryos are produced for the purpose of being destroyed. Boxer said she favors abortion choice, and that if Fiorina has her way, women would die and doctors would be jailed as happened before the Roe v. Wade ruling.
The candidates were reminded that although President Barack Obama inherited a bad economy, Democrats have controlled Congress for four years while Obama has been in office for almost two and unemployment remains high. “We’re taking responsibility and we’re taking action,” Boxer insisted, citing the recent aid package to states to protect teachers’ jobs as well as a pending bill to give small businesses better access to credit – a bill that needs one more Republican vote to break a GOP filibuster. But “you have to look at history, otherwise you’ll repeat it,” she added, noting the Clinton Administration saw 23 million new jobs and budget surpluses while the Bush Administration saw 1 million new jobs and a $1.3 trillion deficit. “We’re not going to solve it overnight, but job by job by job, we’re going to solve it.”
“Recovery summer has become the summer of despair in California,” Fiorina replied, speaking of small businesses strangled by uncertainty, taxes and over-regulation. The Democrats’ economic stimulus has failed to deliver the hope and help they’d promised, she said, while Boxer has repeatedly voted against balanced-budget amendments and proposals to limit the federal government’s growth.
Some questions were submitted by KTVU viewers and presented in video clips; St. Mary’s College student Alana Armstrong, a Central Valley native, asked about subsidies to major agribusinesses while family farms struggle. Boxer replied that the most recent farm bill finally began to right those wrongs, and that she’s working with Feinstein to ensure that families that continue farming their land shouldn’t be subject to the estate tax when the older generation passes away. Fiorina replied that Boxer’s actions speak louder than her words, noting the Senator has voted against estate-tax relief and “wouldn’t lift a finger” to help relieve the Central Valley’s recent water shortages.
Another viewer, Oakland’s Stacy Holifield, asked about Fiorina’s defense of the right of people on the government’s “no-fly” list to buy firearms; Fiorina said the list “isn’t particularly well-managed,” and “we should not be taking constitutional rights away from citizens and giving constitutional rights to terrorists.” Boxer called Fiorina’s position “shocking.”