The result of Tuesday’s primary is an historic U.S. Senate seat run off between two very powerful women. U.S. Senate candidates Carly Fiorina and incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer sat down with KPCC’s Patt Morrison for a postmortem of Tuesday’s primary election and a look ahead to November.
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is a high-powered career woman with a successful yet controversial track record; Sen. Boxer is a career politician who has cultivated both die hard supporters and also dedicated enemies.
Boxer portrays herself as a champion of the people, standing up to big corporate interests while using the arms of government for extensive social assistance; Fiorina is running as a small-government conservative, big on job creation, tough on illegal immigration, and anti-abortion.
It didn’t take long for the mudslinging to begin: just two days after the primary, an open mic caught Fiorina quipping about Boxer’s hair.
From each camp’s perspective, there is plenty more than hair to attack.
From jobs creation, to reproductive choice and voting record, both candidates took some shots at one another when they sat down with Patt.
Boxer was quick to defend her voting record and deny Fiorina’s accusations that she’s a bitter partisan politician.
“She [Fiorina] makes things up," Boxer said.
“I guess that she doesn’t understand that when you’re in the Senate, one Senator can stop everything. We went back to check it and since 1993, I’ve co-sponsored 576 Republican bills.
Both candidates have made jobs their No. 1 campaign priority.
“I want it to be the key issue,” said Boxer, “because I’ve worked so hard with all my heart since this recession started.
"I’ve supported jobs legislation. My opponent opposes it."
Fiorina countered: “You know, I managed HP through the worst technology recession in 25 years and had to make tough choices but i also know that if you make those tough choices well, you come out stronger, and indeed, I created jobs, in California and around the country.”
Fiorina attempted characterize Boxer as a career politician, out of touch with the reality of average people’s experience. “Boxer doesn’t understand is that families and business of all sizes in California rights now are making those same tough choices... What angers people in California is that Washington D.C. and Barbabra Boxer seems incapable of making tough choices: she’s never met a spending bill she didn’t like, she's never met a tax increase she didn't vote for."
“When we have the movie industry moving out of California, when we have hundreds of thousands of farm land in California lying fallow and being destroyed because of an overreaching endangered species act, when we have small businesses going out of business every day, a temporary census job isn’t the solution."
Another issue, which Boxer’s camp has tried to highlight, is Fiorina’s anti-abortion stance.
“That’s the most radical position of any woman in the U.S. Senate, including the Republican women who are not pro-choice,” said Boxer. “Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land since 1973 and you would hope people have moved on. I would hope people would say that decision stands. She hasn't moved on - she wants to overturn it.”
Fiorina stands by her position that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, but suggested that abortion should be a secondary issue in this campaign.
“My husband’s mother was told to abort him she chose not to and of course her son was the joy of her life and the rock of mine ... We may not all agree on the sanctity of life or the importance of choice but what I know about most women is that they’re not single issue voters. Most women care about jobs, most women care about education, most women care about taxation…”
Patt asked about the now famous demon sheep ad.
“Those web videos were a source of amusement for many people but they were entirely factually accurate,” said Fiorina. “Sometimes we’ll use humor to do that but we’ll always stick to the facts.”
Boxer pointed out that her camp has also responded with their own spoof on the demon sheep ad.
Patt also spoke with Fiorina and Boxer about the SEC, federal regulation, the BP crisis and offshore drilling. Listen to the entire interview here.