This was the only debate between Carly Fiorina and Barbara Boxer in their 2010 Senate race in California. It was held at Saint Mary's College of California.
MODERATOR: Good evening. I'm Randy Shandobil, the political editor for KTUV Television. Before welcoming the candidates, let me introduce you to the journalists who will be asking tonight's questions. Carla Marinucci is the San Francisco Chronicle's senior political reporter. Scott Schafer is the host of KQED Public Radio's The California Report, and Pilar Marrero is the senior political reporter for La Opinion. We will also be taking some questions from KTUV viewers. Now it's time to introduce the candidates. Please welcome Sen. Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina. Thank you, both for joining us. Democrat Barbara Boxer is a three-term United States senator. She has served in the Senate since 1993. Before that she served in the House of Representatives for ten years. Republican Carly Fiorina is running for elected office for the first time. Her background is in business. Fiorina served for six years as the Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard. Thank you, both for joining us tonight. So let's get started. Now before tonight's debate, your campaigns participated in a coin toss to see who would get to answer first on the opening remarks. Senator you won but chose to let Carly Fiorina go first so, Ms. Fiorina, you have 90 seconds.
FIORINA: Thank you so much, and please call me Carly. It's great to be with all of you here. Thank you for letting us into your homes this evening. You know, I have lived the American Dream. I started out like most Americans do in a small business. I typed, I filed, I answered the phones for a little nine-person company about an hour from where we are tonight. My husband started out driving a tow truck for the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am running for public office now because I, like so many of you, think our country is headed in the wrong direction. I think the American Dream is too hard for too many people. Frank and I are worried that our two granddaughters won't have the same opportunities that we have had. I've never run for public office before, but I think our Founding Fathers intended ours to be a citizen government. I think it's what of, by, and for the people means. I have created jobs. I have cut spending. I have solved problems. I think we need some common sense and some practical problem-solving ability in Washington D.C. Barbara Boxer has been in Washington D.C. for 28 long years, and though she may say many things tonight, her track record, her long track record in Washington D.C. is consistent and clear, and the results of her policies are devastating for this state. In the last 20 months alone, our unemployment rate has grown from 10.2% to 12.3%. Our debt has grown from $10.8 trillion to $13 trillion on its way to $20 trillion. Barbara Boxer may say she is fighting for Californians, but the truth is, she is fighting hardest for another six years in Washington D.C.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Sen. Barbara Boxer. You get 90 seconds now.
BOXER: Thank you very much, everybody. It's wonderful to be here. Thanks to the sponsors. Thanks to the good people of California who have put their faith in me. Because of that, I have been able to enact 1000 provisions. For our children, the first ever after-school program. For our veterans, the first ever comprehensive casualty care center in California for our wounded warriors. We've doubled the transportation funding. That means thousands of jobs, and jobs are my focus. That's why I'm working to make California the hub of the new clean energy economy. That's why I'm working to make sure small business gets access to credit, and that's why I'm working to stop tax breaks to companies who ship jobs overseas. When I talk about shipping jobs overseas, I'm reminded of my opponent. When she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard, before she was terminated actually, she shipped 30,000 jobs overseas. Think of it. That's the size of Foster City. Through all that pain, what did she do to show any sacrifice? She took $100 million. So that reminds me of Wall Street. That's what happened on Wall Street. Bonuses at the top. Pain for everybody else. I want to see the words "made in America" again. I ask for your vote. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Now to the questions, but first, a few guidelines. You'll both get up to 90 seconds to answer a question. The other candidate will have up to 60 seconds for a rebuttal. One note, we've got lots of questions tonight so I'm sure our audience at home would appreciate brief, concise answers. So if it's possible to answer a question under 90 seconds, I'm sure no one would complain. Carla, you have the first question.
MARINUCCI: Ms. Fiorina, let's get to the economy. You supported tax cuts for business and for the wealthiest Americans because they "pay for themselves by creating jobs," but you've opposed two recent jobs bills, one a teachers' jobs bill which would bring 16,000 jobs to California, the other a small business jobs bill which is actually supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. How do you justify immediate help for the wealthiest Americans but not for average Californians who might be out of a job and listening to this debate tonight?
FIORINA: You know, I think first we need to start by describing what the 2001-2003 tax cuts really were—tax cuts that are going to expire in January. The vast majority of that tax relief went to middle class Americans. In fact, if those tax cuts are not extended, the average Californian family will pay up to $1600 more in taxes. It's also true that small business owners in particular are struggling under the weight of businesses. Sen. Boxer has voted against small business tax relief each and every time. The death tax will skyrocket to 55% on January 1. We have 88,000 farms in this great state, most of them family-owned. To create jobs, we need to make sure that, in particular, our small businesses, our family-owned businesses, our innovators and our entrepreneurs are freed from strangling regulation and freed from taxation. I think in the middle of a terrible recession…. This is the worst economic crisis since 1979 and since 1929 in this state. Just think about it. We have 12 metropolitan areas with unemployment above 15%. We have 23 counties with unemployment above 15%. Meanwhile in the last 20 months, the federal government spending has increased 10% each year and federal government employees have increased 14.5% over the last 2 years.
MODERATOR: Sen. Boxer, you have 60 seconds to reply.
BOXER: I would like to go back to the question because it's very important. We had 16,500+ teachers get pink slips in the mail. They were going to not be in the classroom when our children are there. What is more important than our children? I'm a product of public schools, 95% of our people go to public schools, the kids go to public schools. This was a bill that was paid for. Do you know that my opponent actually called that bill, where we saved these teachers' jobs, she called the bill a disgrace. She called it disgraceful. Now, I'll tell you why I don't think she likes it, because we paid for that bill. It was deficit neutral because we paid for it by stopping some tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas. Every time you really get past the surface, you see my opponent fighting for the billionaires, for the millionaires, for the companies who ship jobs overseas. She even opposes the small business legislation that most everybody supports, that we give tax breaks to small businesses.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Senator. Scott, you have the next question, and it's for Sen. Boxer.
SHAFER: Thank you. Sen. Boxer, last night President Obama officially ended the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. During the course of that war, more than 4400 Americans died and tens of thousands came home with physical and mental disabilities. My question is, do you think the war was worth the cost? And going forward in Afghanistan, what criteria will you use to say enough is enough, it's time to bring our troops home?
BOXER: Well, I'm very happy that our combat troops are coming back from Iraq. I was one of about 23 that did not vote for that war. I did, in fact, support the troops. I voted for 85% of all the spending bills that we had even though I had disagreements on that war. When I opposed any of those bills, it was because it wasn't good enough for our wounded warriors. So I am so glad that they are coming back. I think the reason that we are at this point is because America finally said, through our President, this is a date we're coming home. Say to the Iraqis, you have to step up to the plate and defend your own nation. I believe in nation helping, not nation building. I feel the same way in Afghanistan. I did vote to go after Osama Bin Laden, and George W. Bush turned away from it and went into Iraq. I do support the President trying to see that we can train the Afghan people to, again, defend themselves. But I do want to see more timelines drawn there. I think it's important to send that signal. This is a timeframe. I'm on a Feingold bill which you can read which essentially says give us a time table, give us the conditions in which we can bring our troops home. I think we're on that track. I support beginning the withdrawal by 2011, but I'm happy that our troops are coming home. They are the bravest. They are the greatest, and now we have to take care of them. They have some terrible injuries and wounds. I just went to that comprehensive casualty care center, and they are doing miraculous things there.
MODERATOR: Senator, I'm sorry, your time is up.
BOXER: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Apparently the lights are not working, but a real quick follow-up before we go to your answer. If the President doesn't come up with a written timeline, as you've suggested he do, will you call him out on that as you did President Bush? You were very critical of President Bush for not having a firm timeline, and you haven't been as critical of President Obama.
BOXER: Well, actually, I've already stated it publicly that I'm on the Feingold bill which will require the President to do that. Because I don't think this is a matter of partisanship. It's a matter of our troops. It's a matter of—we need to rebuild America. We're in a tough time and so I think we can help Afghanistan and help Iraq, but we need to rebuild our country.
MODERATOR: Okay. Ms. Fiorina, your reply.
FIORINA: You know, Sen. Boxer's last two answers are a perfect illustration of her rhetoric versus the reality, so let's look at the reality of her record supporting our men and women in uniform. She voted against body armor. She voted against support for brain trauma and post-traumatic stress syndrome. She voted against extended family leave for their families. And in fact, the vote that she cast so upset then-Sen. Joe Biden that he said, "This is a political vote, nothing is worth…" in that case, his son's life. As regards to the two bills that she talked about earlier—the truth is, the small business bill that she supported could have been a great bill, but they threw in there TARP Junior—the opportunity for the federal government to take equity positions in community banks. We all know how well that worked out with TARP Senior. It didn't work so well. It didn't get credit flowing again. As for the teachers bill, we are playing political football with taxpayer money. In fact, Sacramento and Washington, D.C. have been fighting over who gets to spend that money and the vast majority of teachers won't be employed until 2012 and some of it may just go to reducing the deficit.
MODERATOR: Time is up. Pilar, you have the next question, and it's for Carly Fiorina.
MARRERO: Yes, thank you very much. Ms. Fiorina, every year 65,000 young men and women graduate from high school in the U.S. and have a hard time furthering their education or even finding a job because they were brought here illegally when they were children. They are undocumented through no fault of their own. Would you have them continue to live in this limbo? Would you send them all back to countries they don't remember, they don't really know, or would you consider supporting legislation that helps them in the long path to citizenship if they study and meet certain goals?
FIORINA: You know, I believe that the 21st century is the century of brain power and innovation. We need to cultivate all the brain power we can by making sure that people are well-educated here. Yes, I would support the Dream Act because I do not believe that we can punish children, who through no fault of their own are here trying to live the American Dream. Now let me very quickly say, I do not support amnesty for those who have come here illegally. I believe the federal government must secure the border and it has not done its job. I believe, as well, that the federal government has to come up with a guest worker program that works. Sen. Boxer has vilified the people of Arizona even though the federal government isn't doing its job, and at a critical moment in 2007 when a guest worker program was on the table, she was the deciding vote that killed the guest worker program and, in essence, destroyed a compromise on comprehensive immigration reform. When she voted for the Dorgan amendment, which killed that guest worker program, her comment was that immigrants represent a cheap source of labor that threatens the American worker. You see, if you look at Sen. Boxer's long track record of 28 years in Washington, D.C., you will see this: She is for more taxes, she is for more spending, she is for more regulation, and she is also for big government and elite extreme environment groups.
MODERATOR: Senator, your reply.
BOXER: Well first, I have to say that I'm very proud of my record for veterans. That's why I am the bipartisan—I'm the co-chair of the bipartisan Military Families Caucus and I have a record which won me an award from doctors who were trying to find better treatments for burn victims. I got the first funding for traumatic brain injury, and my husband served in the military so I love the military in a very personal way. Now, what I want to say about immigration is this: My opponent called comprehensive immigration reform a distraction. Imagine, a distraction. We have 11 million people here who are living in the shadows. And here's where we stand. Under the law—since my opponent feels we shouldn't deal with this issue—they would have to be deported. We just had a recent study from U.S.C and several other very important institutions that said the way to get this economy going again is to go with comprehensive immigration reform. Now the Dream Act is—
MODERATOR: Senator, I'm sorry, your time is up.
BOXER: The Dream Act is part of that.
MODERATOR: Over the past few weeks, viewers and readers have been sending in questions they would like to hear the candidates answer. So right now, we are going to shift gears just a little bit and hear a couple of those questions. The first question comes from Tim Tam. Mr. Tam is a Democrat and he lives in Oakland.
TAM: Sen. Boxer, you've been staying in the office three terms. Why don't you let other people try?
MODERATOR: That question was you've been in office three terms, why not give other folks a chance.
BOXER: I did hear it.
MODERATOR: It's the first time we've tried it, so….
BOXER: Well, my answer is, every election is a chance. That's what America is about. You know, I have to say this, our founders decided to put the power in the hands of the people, and the people have to vote. Now, I have been so fortunate. I'm a first-generation American on my mother's side. My mother never graduated from high school. She had to work to support the family. I'm in the United States Senate. Why? Because I fight for people. Because I fight for the dream. But, of course, every time I run I have a tough fight on my hands, and people are going to decide if they want to have me back or if they want to elect someone who made her name as a CEO in Hewlett-Packard laying thousands and thousands of workers off, shipping their jobs overseas, making no sacrifice while she was doing it, taking $100 million. I don't think we need those Wall Street values right now. So every race I run in, there is a clear choice. There's a clear choice here on jobs. There's a clear choice on the issue of offshore oil drilling. There is a clear choice on the issue of a woman's right to choose and many other areas that I think we'll get to tonight.
MODERATOR: Ms. Fiorina, your reply.
FIORINA: Well, you know, I think it's a good question and Sen. Boxer is right. Ultimately the choice is up to voters, but I think one of the things that voters believe is that results count. In her 18 years in the Senate, Sen. Boxer has four bills with her name on them, four pieces of legislation. That is far below the record or even the average. Those four bills include naming a river in Virginia, naming a courthouse, renaming a post office, and bringing some federal dollars back to the Bay area after the earthquake. It is all well and good for Sen. Boxer to continue to miss-characterize my record. I would remind her that it was she who voted for the Wall Street bailout. It is she who has taken many contributions from Wall Street executives, and I would remind her as well that when you lead a business, whether it is a 9-person business or a 150,000 people, you sometimes have to make the agonizing choice to lose some jobs to save more. What enrages people in California as they see people making those tough choices absolutely every day and stores shuttering -
MODERATOR: Time is up.
FIORINA: - is federal government employees growing at 14.5%.
MODERATOR: I'm sorry, time is up. Our next viewer question is for Ms. Fiorina. It comes from a peninsula Republican, Tom Watson. Mr. Watson is a retired employee from Hewlett-Packard and he has a question regarding the outsourcing of jobs at HP. Let's listen.
WATSON: Carly, while you were at HP, you sent thousands of jobs offshore. In defense of your actions, you coined the phrase, "right shoring." Also, in a keynote speech in 2004 you said, "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore." Do you still feel that way? What are your plans to create jobs in California?
FIORINA: This is the 21st century. Any job can go anywhere. What worries me deeply is the jobs we lose now may not come back and so we have to fight for every job. The truth is that California has higher than average unemployment rate because we are destroying jobs and others are fighting harder for our jobs. Texas is fighting harder for our jobs, North Carolina is, so is Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, China, India, Russia, Poland. I know precisely why those jobs go, and I'll tell you why. Because China, for example, like Texas, like Brazil, gives companies huge tax credits, they help them cut through regulation, they reward R&D, they provide access to credit. That's what we need to do. I've proposed a two-year payroll tax holiday for every small business that will hire an unemployed worker. I've proposed five-year tax holidays for new businesses that will locate here to use the power of the federal government to create special economic zones—just as the Chinese have— to help companies cut through regulation. Instead of bailing out General Motors, let us give them the incentives to bring their plants back home and to hire American workers and let us decide that in this country we are going to be, once again, number one in innovation. We have fallen to 17th in the world. We have to fight for innovation, and that means we have to be number one in the world in terms of the incentives we provide for R&D. We can grow our economy again, but it means we have to fight for private sector jobs, and frankly, I don't think there are enough people in Washington who even understand why private sector jobs are created.
MODERATOR: Let me ask you a real quick follow-up before we go to the senator, connected to HP. You've in the past said school teachers should have their pay connected to their performance. School scores down, they should face the consequences. When you were at HP and the board of directors forced you to resign in part because of the stock market dropping with regard to HP, you got a severance of $21 million so some people might say, "Gee, shouldn't CEOs have the same standards as school teachers?" on that regard?
FIORINA: Absolutely they should. In fact, during my time at Hewlett-Packard, I ripped up my employment contract and put my pay up for shareholder vote. Every dollar that I earned at Hewlett-Packard was voted on by shareholders and every dollar was tied very specifically to performance. Just to review, in the six years that I managed Hewlett-Packard during the worst technology recession in 25 years, we doubled the size of the company to $88 billion, we tripled the rate of innovation to 11 patents a day, we quintupled the cash flow, we improved the profitability in every product line -
MODERATOR: Thank you.
FIORINA: - in fact, our stock outperformed the Peer index by 23%.
MODERATOR: Thank you, we have to move on. Senator, your reply.
BOXER: Yes, I think we're entitled to our opinion but not entitled to our facts. The facts are that there was a $21 million severance check. My understanding is it was taken after my opponent was fired. The stock went down more than 50%, so if she's calling for accountability of the teachers, there ought to be accountability with CEOs. I think it's really simple, but I think the viewer who asked the question hit on something very important. I think it is this: if ever we needed a United States senator from California to fight for American jobs, it's now. My opponent, we know that she shipped jobs overseas, thousands of them. We know she fired workers, tens of thousands of them. We also know she has opposed every jobs bill that we voted on. The Hire Act, which gave a tax holiday to business people if they hired an unemployed person—she opposed that. She opposed the teachers, bringing back 16,500 teachers into the classroom—she opposed that. She opposed Wall Street reform.
MODERATOR: Sorry, Senator, time is up, but you get the next question, and it's from Carla Marinucci.
BOXER: All right.
MARINUCCI: Senator, many of our readers at SFGate.com asked us to ask you this, it regards one of the very often repeated clips on the Internet in which you chided Brigadier General Michael Walsh. He appeared before you in committee. He addressed you as ma'am, and you told him you should be called senator because you worked hard to get that title. A lot of the readers said they thought it showed you had gotten out of touch after three terms in Washington, high-handed. Why did you make that comment to the Brigadier General and is their criticism fair?
BOXER: Well, people absolutely have a right to criticize me for anything I do. I don't take issue with it. But in that particular moment, we were having a lot of back and forth. This was a formal hearing. So I made the call that I should call the general, general and it would be better if he called me by my formal title instead of sir and ma'am—general and senator. That's what it was. Afterwards, I called the general and I said, "Do I owe you an apology? Did I upset you?" He said, "No, not at all." We work very well together. We're working very well together. He's working on Army Corps of Engineer projects right now as we speak. After the BP spill, he is helping us with our flood control in Sacramento. So that is what that was about.
MODERATOR: Ms. Fiorina.
FIORINA: Well, I'm certainly pleased to hear that Sen. Boxer called the general and asked if she needed to apologize, and I take him at his word if he indicates that he wasn't offended. I absolutely agree with Sen. Boxer that we're not entitled to our own facts. I think it's actually a shame that Barbara Boxer would use Hewlett-Packard, a treasure of California, one of the great companies in the world, whose employees work very hard and whose shareholders have benefited greatly from both my time at CEO and all the hard work of the employees that I had the privilege to lead. I think it's a shame that she would use that company as a political football. I understand she's going to mischaracterize my record and my severance package, but I think it's a shame that she would use the company in that way. As for her reference to Wall Street reform, let's just talk about Wall Street reform for a second. You know, the Wall Street crisis hits and it turns out there are 20 agencies that were asleep at the switch, but what this Wall Street reform bill did in essence was say, never mind those 20 agencies, never mind Fanny and Freddy that were part of the problem. What we are going to do is -
MODERATOR: Ms. Fiorina…
FIORINA: - is create a brand new agency with a bunch of new federal government bureaucrats.
MODERATOR: I'm sorry, time is up. I noticed that both of you are kind of drifting off the question to answer something you'd like to answer. I understand this is frustrating for you at times, but if you could answer the question directly that would be great. Scott, you have a question for Ms. Fiorina.
SHAFER: Thank you. Ms. Fiorina, you supported Proposition 8 and say that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. Domestic partnerships and civil unions are not recognized by the federal government and the Defense of Marriage Act means that committed gay and lesbian couples are denied more than a thousand federal rights that heterosexual couples get, like benefits from Social Security when a spouse dies. My question is this, should federal law be changed to allow for equal legal status for same sex couples and if not, why not?
FIORINA: I do believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but I also have been consistent and clear that I support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. The Defense of Marriage Act had broad bipartisan support and actually the position that I have consistently espoused is consistent with that of our President and the vast majority of senators in the U.S. Senate. I think what we now are seeing on Proposition 8 is that the voters were quite clear about their views on this. This is now going through a legal process. Whatever your views about gay marriage, I think many of us would conclude that when voters have such a clear decision, for that decision to be overturned by a single judge seems perhaps not appropriate, and so this is now the beginning of what will be a long legal process. I support very much the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. I know that the military is getting ready to release its report on the best way to execute that decision.
MODERATOR: Sen. Boxer, your reply.
BOXER: Yes, you know we do have courts that check the legislature and the legislature checks the president. That is what our Constitution says. So yes, a lot of the laws that we pass may well go through that test. Now, if you read Ron George's decision on this—by the way, a Republican who was appointed to the state of California bench—he is clear. He says the only way to get equal rights to gays and lesbians is to say that there should be marriage equality. It is a very straightforward decision because, as you said, the only way to get the rights that married couples have is to go for marriage equality. I think, and I'm glad to say, I believe that people are coming around to see it. I also would just say that, in terms of what we heard about the fact that I shouldn't talk about my opponent's days at HP, she's running on her record as the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, so what she did there counts, and I'm going to keep on telling the truth about it.
MODERATOR: And I'm going to keep on watching the clock. I'm sorry, time is up. Pilar, you have the next question.
MARRERO: Yes, and it's for the senator. Senator, in news stories and the polls it appears that voters and analysts tend to look at Sen. Feinstein and the California senator who can work with the other side of the aisle and you as the more partisan senator. Can you think of a time that you disagreed strongly with President Obama on something and you did something about it?
BOXER: Well, yes, I actually can. First, let me just say that I am a cosponsor on 500 Republican bills, and I could give you a list of things I worked with my colleagues. The after-school bill was done with a Republican colleague and many of the work, a lot of the work I've done for veterans has been done with Republican colleagues. With President Obama, at this particular point I do think we need an exit strategy from Afghanistan. I do believe it is very important. So that is one clear example. I also, if I were him, I would appoint Elizabeth Warren right now to head that new consumer agency that is going to be looking over credit cards because, as you know, people don't read all that fine print and we need to have somebody looking over the shoulder of the banks. My opponent opposed that Wall Street reform. It sets up that consumer protection agency. For the first time, you'll be able to have someone looking out for you, make sure you don't get—I don't want to use that word—make sure that you get treated fairly on your mortgage and you get treated fairly on your credit cards.
MODERATOR: Senator, thank you. Ms. Fiorina, your reply.
FIORINA: I think the senator is right. We both need to run on our records, and I am proud to run on my record at Hewlett-Packard and I think the senator must run on her record. The truth is, her record is long on talk and very short on achievement. The reason it is short on achievement is because she is one of the most bitterly partisan members of the U.S. Senate. That is why after 18 long years in the Senate and 28 years in Washington D.C. she only has four relatively insignificant bills with her name on them. The truth is, her signature piece of legislation as the chairman of Environment and Public Works, she could not shepherd that to a conclusion. That bill was taken away from her and given to John Kerry because it was believed that he had a better chance of getting bipartisan support. I don't happen to support her cap-and-trade bill. It has been called the most expensive piece of regulation and legislation in U.S. history. But nevertheless, I think it's telling that her bitter partisanship prevented her from getting her top priority accomplished in the U.S. Senate.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Carla, you have the next question.
MARINUCCI: Ms. Fiorina, you're pro-life and you have said you would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if given the opportunity, and you believe that life begins at conception. Does that mean you would also seek to deny funding to institutions which are engaged in embryonic stem cell research?
FIORINA: Well, I am pro-life. I am pro-life because of my personal experiences. My husband's mother was told to abort him. She did not. Her health was threatened as a result. She lived a ripe old age to 98 and my husband, obviously, is the rock of my life. I recognize that not everyone agrees with me on this, and I recognize as well that the most important issue right now in this election is the creation of jobs and getting our government under control. But with regards to your very specific question, I am comfortable with federal funding for adult stem cell research which shows more promise according to many scientists, and I've also been very clear in saying if embryos were going to be destroyed in any event, that I have no trouble with research. It is when embryos are produced for the purposes of destruction, for the purposes of stem cell research, that I have a great deal of difficulty, and I think the judge's ruling that recently came out basically suggested that we don't have clear enough guidelines about whether embryos are being produced for destruction. Sen. Boxer voted against a ban on human cloning so we know where she stands on this issue. Her positions on these issues are extreme. She has said that she doesn't think a baby has rights until it leaves the hospital. So, I think the judge has said that we need to have some clarity about these rules to ensure that embryos are not being destroyed.
MODERATOR: But, before the senator gets a chance to reply, real quick, I just want to make sure that Carla's, the premise of her question correct. You do suggest that we overturn Roe v. Wade?
FIORINA: If there were an opportunity. It's not an issue that I'm running on. By the way, the reason for that is because I'm a strong believer in states' rights. I think voters have to make some of these very difficult decisions. I am prepared to trust the voters' judgment on offshore drilling. I am prepared to trust the voters' judgment on -
MODERATOR: I asked about abortion.
FIORINA: - the right to choose, and the Californians have made their decisions on those issues.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Senator, your rebuttal.
BOXER: Yes, I mean, I respect everybody's personal view and everybody has a story as to why they come to a certain position. I respect it. That's why I'm pro-choice. I let people decide. But what the people of California have to understand is that if my opponent's views prevailed, women and doctors would be criminals. They would go to jail. And women would die like they did before Roe . Wade. So this isn't about my opponent's personal view or my personal view. It is about the women and the families of our state and of our country. Now my opponent says that I passed four bills. She keeps saying that, well first she said three and now she's made it four. The fact is, 1000 Boxer provisions have been enacted. We have a list of these and we have a hundred of them up on barbaraboxer.com for you to see. As a matter of fact, I am very proud of those provisions. Now under the way she is counting bills, McCain-Feingold neither of them would have gotten credit for the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform because I don't know whether my opponent is trying to confuse people, but the fact of the matter is the way a bill becomes a law has many, many tracks. It could be straightforward of a bill with your name on it or—
MODERATOR: I hate to be a broken record, but time is up.
BOXER: - it could be an amendment, it could be other things.
MODERATOR: Sorry, Senator.
BOXER: It's okay.
MODERATOR: Scott, you have the next question.
SHAFER: Sen. Boxer, there is no question that President Obama inherited a terrible economy and Democrats often blame the current troubles on his predecessor, and yet, Democrats have controlled Congress for almost four years. President Obama is nearing the halfway point in his first term, and the unemployment rate is stuck above 9% and there are signs of the economy slowing down again. At what point should Democrats stop blaming President Bush and start taking full responsibility for the economy?
BOXER: We're taking responsibility and we're taking action. I talked about a number of those things that we have already done—making sure teachers stay in the classroom, making sure that small businesses get access to credit. All we need is one Republican to get that bill done when we get back, and I think we are going to get one Republican and then we can create 500 to 1000 to a million new jobs. But you know, I feel that you have to look at history; otherwise, you will repeat it. So, let me tell you, I served for eight years with Bill Clinton and I supported every budget and every economic policy. We created 23 million new jobs net, and not only did we balance the budget, but we created a surplus. Then I served eight years with George W. Bush. I did not support his priorities and his budgets. We wound up with a $1.3 trillion deficit after those eight years, and the worst job creation record since Herbert Hoover. One million new jobs compared to 23 million. So, yes, we didn't get here overnight and we're not going to solve it overnight but job by job by job we are going to solve it. There is a man out here in the audience, I don't want to embarrass him, Jay Smith if he's out there, who is working because of the Economic Recovery Act. On Doyle Drive, 2000 workers working because of the Economic Recovery Act. So, yes, we are taking responsibility, but people in this country and my state have to get the whole picture.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Ms. Fiorina, your reply.
FIORINA: Recovery summer has become the summer of despair in California. In the last 20 months, our unemployment rate has gone up from 10.2% to 12.3%. I have talked with small business owners up and down the state, and they are being strangled by too much cost, too much uncertainty, too much regulation. Barbara Boxer is promising numbers and jobs now. When she voted for that stimulus bill that has manifestly failed, she said that it would bring help and hope and 400,000 jobs to this state, and we now have 2.3 million people out of work. As for fiscal discipline, why is it that she has voted six times against a balanced budget amendment, including during President Clinton's time? Why is it that she has voted six times to increase the debt ceiling in the last 20 months alone? Why is it that she has voted four times against a relatively modest bipartisan proposal to slow the rate of increase in federal government spending to 1.5%? Her record is crystal clear.
MODERATOR: Time is up again. Pilar, you have the next question.
MARRERO: Yes, and it's for Ms. Fiorina. Your campaign put out an ad some time ago that seemed to equate global warming with the weather. You have also said that you think AB32, the anti-global warming measure in California, is a job killer and should be suspended. There is a proposition now on the ballot in California, Prop 23, that would do just that. I'm not sure you have taken a position on that so I have a double question. What is your position on Prop 23 and do you think global warming is real or is it just a problem with the weather?
FIORINA: You know, the ad that you are referring to was really talking about national security and what are our priorities for national security. I think that is a very legitimate question to be asked of Sen. Boxer who has been campaigning since 1992 on cutting our military budget in half, who believes that terrorists should be given the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. That is what that ad was about. We should always have the courage to examine the science, but all scientists agree on this: the only way to impact global warming is to act globally. A state acting alone will make no difference. What we need in this country, a priority of mine if I am fortunate enough to gain the confidence of the voters of California, will be a national and comprehensive energy bill. That means that AB32 would be superseded. It should be. It would have been superseded by Barbara Boxer's cap-and-trade bill, but her bill was completely the wrong track. It would have cost us trillions of dollars in lost economic output, millions of jobs, it doesn't do enough to fund energy R&D. What we need to do in a comprehensive energy policy, is fund energy R&D, we need to give more federal funding to Lawrence Livermore, for example, we need to give more to Berkeley. We also need to take advantage in an environmentally responsible way of every resource of energy we have including nuclear, wind, solar. And we have to acknowledge that we cannot put bills in place that punish excessively energy-intensive industries like farming, like manufacturing, and like small business owners.
MODERATOR: Time is up, but you didn't answer part of Pilar's question, which is do you support Prop 23 which would suspend AB32?
FIORINA: My focus is on a national energy policy.
MODERATOR: Yes or No?
FIORINA: Because that why—
MODERATOR: Just answer—do you support it?
FIORINA: I have not taken a position on it yet because I think what we are doing —there is no question in my mind and there is no question in people who have studied AB32 that AB32 is at the very least in the short term a job killer so why would we go forward? But, what we need is national energy policy.
MODERATOR: Sen. Boxer?
BOXER: Well, if you can't take a stand on Prop 23, I don't what you will take a stand on. This is a crucial bill and I'll tell you the reason why. If we overturn California's clean energy policies, that's going to mean that China takes the lead away from us with solar, that Germany takes the lead away from us with wind, but I guess my opponent is kind of used to creating jobs in China and other places. I want those jobs created here in America. I want to see the words "made in America" again. This is the way we're going to do it. The whole world is going green. I know that my opponent has gotten huge support from the coal companies, from big oil. They are hoping that I don't make it. I am asking the people of this state who care about these issues to really take note because if my opponent gets there, California is done for in terms of its lead on clean energy. No bill I ever wrote ever superseded California's clean energy laws because I honor those laws, and they are creating jobs now.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Time is up. Okay, I think now would be a good time to go back to a couple questions from viewers, and this next question is for Sen. Boxer. It comes from Alana Armstrong. She is an undergraduate student here at Saint Mary's College. She is not a Democrat and not a Republican. She refers to herself as an independent.
AMRSTRONG: Growing up on a small farm in the central valley, one thing that has always shocked me is that the largest and wealthiest agribusiness interests collect 74% of the farm subsidies while small family farms are unable to compete. What have you done in the U.S. Senate to rectify this inequity?
BOXER: Yes, well for the first time, finally, in the last farm bill we— working together with my colleague, Sen. Feinstein—we were able to get the first recognition that our specialty crops need to take a place in the farm bill. We grow 300 different products in our state, and for the first time, we were able to do that. Now I think there are very big subsidies going to ethanol, going to corn that don't make any sense and I fought hard to change those, but I really think there is a change. We have, in fact, limited some of the subsidies. We have said that if you are a great big giant farm and you're not a family farm, you are not going to get these subsidies. And I will tell you something else Sen. Feinstein and I are doing. We want to make sure that the estate tax does not kick in for a family farm where the family continues the farming. If you are a huge farm, that is a different story and you're an agribusiness that's different, but if you really are a family farm then you shouldn't have to pay that estate tax because we want to encourage those farms to continue.
MODERATOR: Ms. Fiorina, your reply.
FIORINA: You know, it's a lot of great words, but in the real world actions speak louder than words. Sen. Boxer has voted against death tax relief 18 times. Her track record is very clear. While our 88,000 farms here in California, most of them family owned, struggled with water, with a lack of water, Sen. Boxer refused to lift a finger. As chairwoman of Environment and Public Works, she could have put out an amendment forward to waive a biological assessment to turn the water back on in our Central Valley—she refused. When a colleague put that amendment forward, she voted against it. When Sen. Feinstein stepped forward to put an amendment on the table that would have waived that assessment to provide needed water, she pressured her colleague to drop that amendment. Here is the truth. Central Valley struggles with record unemployment. They need water. Sen. Barbara Boxer, the chairwoman of Environment and Public Works, has stood in their way and she has over and over again refused to give them death tax relief.
MODERATOR: Time is up. Our next viewer question, and this is for you, Carly Fiorina. It comes from Tracy Holifield, a Democrat from Oakland. I think it has to do with guns and airplanes, something you talked about in a primary debate.
HOLIFIELD: I read earlier that you are in favor of the people on the no-fly list to have guns. I'm a resident of Oakland, and that doesn't sit well with me at all. Please explain your stance.
FIORINA: Well, I know it sounds so strange, but let's talk about the no-fly list for a moment. My sister-in-law was on the no-fly list. My friend of 20 years' husband was on the no-fly list. Edward Kennedy was on the no-fly list. The no-fly list isn't particularly well-managed. People who shouldn't be on it are on it and people who should be on it, like the Christmas Day bomber who almost made it out of the country, wasn't on it. Here's the truth: we should not be taking constitutional rights away from citizens and at the same time giving constitutional rights to terrorists. That's exactly what Barbara Boxer is in favor of doing. Barbara Boxer agrees that the vast majority of crimes committed with a gun are committed by criminals who have broken laws to acquire their gun. So let us prosecute those laws. Let us prosecute those criminals, but let us not deny law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights and instead give constitutional rights to terrorists as Sen. Boxer would like to do.
MODERATOR: Senator, your reply.
BOXER: It's hard to know how exactly to start, but let me say this. It's shocking to me that my opponent would say if you are on that no-fly list, there's only a few thousand, I'm sure that if your sister wanted a gun they would look and they would see she could have that if, in fact, she lived in California she'd have to go to the local sheriff. But it seems to be as someone who authored a bill with a Republican colleague which became the law that it says pilots who are trained have a right to carry a gun in the cockpit because there is so much concern by the pilots that they be able to take action. That is where you want to have a gun on the airplane, not giving it to people who are on the terrorist watch list. When I saw my opponent say that, I was watching it, it was in a debate, and Tom Campbell, who she was running against in the primary, he doesn't get very excited and for the first time in my life I saw him get excited when she said this, and he said, "Oh, my goodness." And that was, for him, really getting excited. So, I think that is so out of step, it is so out of touch and having that kind of view in the United States Senate just is going to harm us. It is going to make us less safe, that's what it's going to do.
MODERATOR: Unbelievably, we're out of time for full questions with full answers, but just let me ask something real quick, if you could answer quickly and, Senator, you get a quick rebuttal. If I understand correctly, that you're also for allowing the assault weapons ban to disappear. Is that correct?
FIORINA: I think it's crystal clear that we have loads of laws and most of the time criminals are breaking those laws and we are curtailing citizens' lawful rights to carry guns. The assault weapons ban is extremely arbitrary in what qualifies as an assault weapon, and let me just say that Sen. Boxer, I don't know, perhaps she's truly confused or perhaps she's just trying to create rhetoric—
MODERATOR: I'm sorry, but we're—
FIORINA: - but the no-fly list and the terrorist watch list are quite different things.
MODERATOR: We're really tight. I want to make sure the senator has time for a quick response.
BOXER: Yes, the assault weapons ban has been in place in California since the 1980s so to go back to that dangerous yesterday makes no sense at all. It has bipartisan support, and also, my colleague, Sen. Feinstein, has worked so hard to get that assault weapon ban to be in place nationally. I have been her strong supporter in that, and I hope I can go back because we want to have our streets safe.
MODERATOR: Okay, we're now going to shift to closing statements, and Ms. Fiorina, you go first. You get two minutes.
FIORINA: Thank you so much for the privilege, truly, to be here and to have a great debate with you, Sen. Boxer. I have traveled up and down this wonderful state, and I have been struck by her beauty and by the spirit of Californians. But I must say, I am also struck by the anger, the frustration, and yes, even the fear. I remember meeting the immigrant who had built his small business from the ground up only to see it ruined with too much taxation and too much regulation, and I remember him looking at me and saying, "This is not the country I came to. My own government is destroying my livelihood." I remember speaking to the city councilman who talked about his struggles to keep his community together while they struggled with almost 40% unemployment. I remember, as well, the woman who looked me in the eye and grasped by my hand and said, "I have never voted before, but I am voting for you because I am afraid for my children's future. Promise me this: when you get to Washington you will not forget us." We can turn our nation around. We can get it back on the right track. We can get our state on the right track. We can grow our economy. We can control government spending, but to do all these things, we must start by changing the people we send to Washington. I ask for your support. I ask for your vote, and I pledge to you this: I will go to the U.S. Senate and I will fight for the millions of Californians who love their country, who go about their business, who pay their dues, who serve their communities. You don't ask for frills or favors, you give a lot, you expect little. You are asking for one simple thing now: that we take our government back, make it listen, and make it work.
MODERATOR: Senator, you now get two minutes for a closing statement.
BOXER: Thank you so much, everyone, for this opportunity. I think you've seen here, this is a very clear choice, and I am going to run through some of those choices. This election is between someone who is fighting for jobs day in and day out—jobs right here in America—versus someone who, when she had the chance, laid off 30,000 workers and shipped jobs to China. This election is about someone who is working hard so that we can see the words "made in America" again versus someone who was proud of her time at HP when she stamped made in China, made in India on her products. This is a choice, a clear choice. It's between someone who is fighting for taxes for the middle class and small business versus someone who is fighting for the wealthy, wealthy few, the billionaires, the CEOs. This is a big difference in clean energy. One of us is fighting hard to make California the hub of the new clean energy economy and the millions of jobs that go with it. The other is being supported by big oil and big coal. This is a choice between two people who differ on a woman's right to choose. I've worked my whole life to protect a woman's privacy and her health. My opponent would turn that woman into a criminal. This is a very clear choice between someone who has fought all her life to protect our coasts and the 400,000 jobs that rely on a beautiful coast—the fisherman, the tourist industry, the recreation industry—and my opponent does not support the Boxer-Feinstein legislation to permanently protect that coast. Finally, this is a choice, a choice between a candidate who fought really hard for Wall Street reform to end that mess over there and someone who opposes that reform, and I think, frankly, acted just like a Wall Street CEO. What do I mean by that? Destroying jobs for Americans and taking it for yourself. I hope we don't go back to that.
MODERATOR: Senator, I'm sorry, time is up. So thank you both. Thank you, Sen. Boxer and thank you, Carly Fiorina. We all apologize for not getting to more questions. We certainly would have liked to, but hopefully what we've talked about tonight will help people here and help viewers and listeners at home make informed decisions on what they should do on Election Day, November 2. So thanks to our panel of journalists, and I would like to thank everyone her at Saint Mary's College for hosting this debate. So, on behalf of KTUV Television and The San Francisco Chronicle and KQED News, thanks for joining us and good night.