Rivals pounce on Fiorina’s bankruptcy remark

Everyone’s all up in Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina’s grill today about her comment that California should consider bankruptcy; actually, states can’t declare bankruptcy.

Here’s Fiorina, per the Riverside Press Enterprise yesterday:

Fiorina made a campaign stop at the CalPortland cement plant in Colton. There, she met with more than two dozen local business owners, many in the construction and transportation industries. She fielded questions from them on a host of issues.

One businessman asked her thoughts on whether the state should consider bankruptcy.

“I think it should always be considered,” Fiorina said. “Whether that is the right approach now, I don’t know. I think bankruptcy, as a possibility, at the very least focuses the mind on what has to be done to salvage a situation.”

She tried to walk it back today, talking with the Sac Bee’s Jack Chang:

When asked by The Bee on Wednesday whether she knew states couldn’t declare bankruptcy, Fiorina answered, “Sure, I knew, but what cold comfort is that to all these California voters who may not know that technicality but who are sitting here knowing that by any common-sense definition, this state can’t pay its bills.

“And in fact, the media has described California as bankrupt for months. So I find it interesting that the Democrats are saying legally, it’s not possible. Legally, it’s not possible. But the reality of where we are ought to be focusing people’s minds on what needs to be done.”

When asked what she meant to say the day before, Fiorina answered, “It’s a legal term. It’s also a common sense, everyday term that people use. Morally bankrupt, fiscally bankrupt. In every common sense definition of the word, this state is in serious trouble.”

Her rivals aren’t buying that. Are you?

From James Fisfis, spokesman for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell:

“Carly Fiorina’s claim that bankruptcy ‘should always be considered’ as an option for California is even more bizarre than her ‘demon sheep’ ad. It’s absolutely not an option because it’s not permitted under federal law — which shows a disturbing lack of knowledge for a candidate running for a federal office.”

From Joshua Trevino, spokesman for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore:

“So, to recapitulate:

“1) Carly Fiorina’s mention of a legal impossibility is in fact a mention of a ‘technicality.’
“2) Carly Fiorina’s advocacy of considering an explicit course of action is meant to be understood as a description.
“3) Carly Fiorina says things she professes to have known were untrue when she said them.
“4) Carly Fiorina thinks that people who point out contrary facts are Democrats. (I’ll tell Chuck!)

“Leave aside the troubling nature of an aspirant to federal office dismissing a hypothetical illegality as a ‘technicality.’ Isn’t the bottom line really that Carly Fiorina has a low opinion of the public’s intelligence — and of the intelligence of the media that informs it?”

From California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton:

“Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina suggested that California should keep bankruptcy open as an option. Experts on all sides agree that a state does not have the option to declare bankruptcy.

“Not only does Fiorina’s statement display her ignorance of California and the issues our state faces, but it also sends a message to voters that she’s giving up on the people of California. In the same way that Fiorina thought it too much trouble to vote in the past, she’s now ready to throw in the towel on the state’s economic problems.

“The top of the Republican Senate primary is quickly shaping up to be a contest between a failed CEO looking for a hobby and a man who was the architect of the Schwarzenegger budget disasters that set California on its current course.”


Fiorina, DeVore visit Beck; Campbell not invited

As I’d mentioned yesterday, U.S. Senate GOP primary candidates Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore were both on Fox News personality Glenn Beck’s show yesterday. If you missed it, here ya go:

James Fisfis, communications directror for the campaign of GOP primary frontrunner Tom Campbell, said Campbell wasn’t invited to be on Beck’s show. “If we do receive an invitation, we will accept it.”


For your television viewing pleasure

Republican U.S. Senate candidates Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore will be on Fox News personality Glenn Beck’s show at 2 p.m. today, for a segment live from Los Angeles in which “Glenn explains how he’d fix California’s budget,” according to his Web site. As DeVore campaign spokesman Joshua Trevino suggests: “Just imagine the green room conversation.”

Also, if you’ve not already seen it, Jon Stewart was the guest on Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor” last week, and the uncut interview is available online. (Sorry, Fox doesn’t allow video embeds.)


Carly Fiorina’s Demon Sheep: Day 2

Well, the somewhat unorthodox Web video that U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina launched yesterday to poke holes in rival Tom Campbell’s fiscal-conservatism bona fides has moved fully into the realm of the age-old question, “Are they laughing with her, or are they laughing at her?”

If it was all about attention-getting, then: mission accomplished. It’s getting national exposure through outlets including the New York Times, CBS News, ABC News, Politico, Wonkette and countless others.

But whether that coverage is more about Fiorina’s message (Campbell’s fiscal history) or the medium (a dude in a sheep suit with glowing red eyes)… well, read ‘em and see.

Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund says it’s all good. “Good morning to ewe (sorry, couldn’t resist),” she greeted reporters in an e-mail this morning. “If you didn’t get enough of the demon sheep yesterday, good news, you can buy your very own t-shirt to remember it all by. Check it out here: http://www.cafepress.com/exlg/7055772. Watch out Michael Stars, these are going to be all the rage – and for the low price of $15.99. (note: the campaign has nothing to do with the shirts being created…but we sure are amused by them!)”

“The bottom line is that the facts in the ad are true and the more people who see it (and a lot of people have seen it), no matter their reaction to the wolf in sheep’s clothing (otherwise known as the Demon Sheep – hat tip to Team Campbell again), the more voters will learn that Taxin’ Tom Campbell is a fiscal conservative in name only.”

But a third U.S. Senate candidate, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, snapped into action yesterday by launching his own site, www.demonsheep.org, ostensibly maintained by the SFTEODSFOPD – the Society for the Eradication of Demon Sheep from our Political Discourse.”

And this morning, DeVore spokesman Joshua Trevino is shopping around a story about who greenlit the ad, mocking the Fiorina campaign’s stance that so long as people are talking about the ad in any context, it’s all good.

“This line requires one to believe that the Fiorina campaign deliberately weighed the negatives (expenditure of c.$20,000, swift use by both rival campaigns, global mockery) against the positives (attention) and decided the latter outweighed the former,” Trevino wrote. “Suffice it to say that, first, they didn’t — and second, this is a crisis-communications strategy perfected back in 1985, viz.:”

Trevino then traces some Fiorina campaign staffing history to impute that Fiorina herself might’ve seen and approved the ad before its release. Personally, I’d like to think that candidates see and approve all their ads before they’re released; I’d think it more newsworthy if she hadn’t seen it than if she had.

Assuming any of this is newsworthy in the first place.


Spinning PPIC’s poll on the U.S. Senate race

The Public Policy Institute of California poll released yesterday shows U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., doesn’t have majority support against any of her Republican challengers but leads them all by varying margins.

Former Congressman, state finance director and Cal business school dean Tom Campbell fares best in a head-to-head match-up, with Boxer at 45 percent and Campbell at 41 percent among November’s likely voters. While 79 percent of Democratic likely voters favor Boxer, 84 percent of Republican likely voters favor Campbell; independents are more divided but favor Boxer over Campbell, 42 percent to 37 percent. Boxer has a 14-point lead among female likely voters (50 percent to 36 percent), and Campbell has a 6-point lead among men (46 percent to 40 percent).

Boxer has an eight-point lead over both former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (48 percent to 40 percent) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine (47 percent to 39 percent).

Among likely voters in the GOP primary, Campbell leads at 27 percent, with Fiorina at 16 percent and DeVore at 8 percent. Campbell leads among likely voters with household incomes both below and above $80,000, and among both men and women. This survey of likely voters includes the 12 percent of independent voters who say they will choose to vote on a Republican ballot.

The margin of error for the 1,223 November likely voters is three percentage points, and the margin for the 425 Republican primary likely voters is five points.

Campbell’s camp says their man might be doing better than this poll indicates; they think PPIC’s methodology short-sells older voters, who seem to like Campbell more.

Fiorina’s camp said the poll “confirms yet again that Barbara Boxer is a highly vulnerable incumbent.”

“More and more Californians are disenchanted by her lackluster record and, despite having been in office for 18 years, she is still unable to break the 50 percent threshold in this poll against any Republican candidate. Carly will continue to hold Boxer accountable for her disappointing tenure in the U.S. Senate, and as voters get to know Carly better in the coming months, her name identification will rise – as will her poll numbers. Meanwhile, Tom Campbell’s performance in both the primary and the general election matchups shows his electoral weakness, despite the higher name recognition that comes with having run for office nine times before. Once voters learn about his record championing higher taxes and bigger government, his support will erode quickly.”

DeVore’s campaign manager, Leisa Brug Kline, said it’s “an interesting and welcome poll for several reasons.

“Though there’s a long way to go, Chuck DeVore’s support is quietly building on the enthusiasm and support of Republicans and conservatives across California – and across America,” she said. “It’s useful to note that this poll was conducted in the week before Scott Brown’s upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race – an event that has generated tremendous interest in Chuck DeVore and his message of a winning conservatism in California.”

DeVore campaign communications director Joshua Treviño took the fight more directly to Fiorina:

“As Chuck DeVore’s support steadily grows, Carly Fiorina’s is steadily collapsing. The establishment that supported her is defecting to Campbell, and the conservatives who want the real deal are turning to Chuck. With the margin of error on the PPIC poll, and the identical results on the hypothetical general-election matchup, Fiorina and DeVore are in a de facto tie for second place. Even worse for Carly, Chuck DeVore is at dead parity with her in support from women, a demographic she thought was hers.”

“Carly Fiorina’s inevitability narrative died when Tom Campbell entered the race. Now her electability narrative dies as she can’t do better than Chuck DeVore either against Barbara Boxer, or in appeal to the women’s vote. If these trends continue, we’ll see this primary race end as a real choice between a real liberal in Tom Campbell, and a real conservative in Chuck DeVore.”


Campbell, Fiorina weigh in on deficit panel

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said this morning she opposes the creation of an 18-member “deficit commission” to study ways to both raise revenue and cut spending to get control of the nation’s rapidly expanding deficit – a proposal on which the Senate is expected to vote today.

“We don’t need a commission to study the federal deficit – what we need is a commitment to cut federal spending. We know why we have a deficit: Congress spends too much money, and for the last 26 years, Barbara Boxer has been complicit in perpetuating that system. It’s Congress’ job to address the deficit, and if they can’t – or won’t – then the people need to replace them with leaders who can fix it.”

“Raising revenue is politician’s code for raising taxes. Giving the government more money is in no way a solution to the deficit; in fact, it will only make the deficit worse. What we need is to cut spending and aggressively go after the waste and abuse in the federal budget, and we need leaders who are not afraid to take the steps to do it, rather than create a commission to avoid it.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Congressman, state finance director and Cal business school dean Tom Campbell said yesterday he favors creating the commission, so long as it doesn’t raise taxes.

“America’s economy will continue hurting and Americans will continue losing jobs until real action is taken to cut federal spending and dramatically reduce our nation’s $12 trillion federal deficit. Unless this happens, we will have sold our economic soul to other nations and mortgaged future generations of Americans, jeopardizing our national security and our leadership in the world.

“The proper approach is to get agreement on where to cut federal spending, much the way we approached the closure of military bases.

“I was a Member of Congress when the Base Closure and Realignment Commission was constituted and met. Indeed, I was one of the very few Congressmen to testify in favor of the base closures list, even though it included a base in my district — Moffett Naval Air Station. As difficult as this was, I supported it because I knew our nation’s good compelled that we embrace savings.

“The same approach should be taken to achieve savings more generally, throughout the entire federal budget. The idea of a commission is good. The idea of having it report for an up or down vote to the House and Senate is good. But its focus should be on identifying areas to cut spending. As presently proposed, the Commission goes beyond that, and even points to tax increases as part of the solution. I think that’s entirely wrong-headed.

“The solution to the budget deficit at the federal level is to constrain spending, not increase taxes. We should also re-establish the Gramm Rudman Hollings law that automatically cut federal spending across-the-board if Congress did not meet specific deficit-reduction targets.”

I’ve not heard anything on this from U.S. Senate candidate Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, who I see will be in Oakland for a fundraiser tomorrow night; perhaps he’ll be watching President Obama’s State of the Union address there?

UPDATE @ 12:44 P.M.: The Senate rejected the idea.