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September 01, 2010

California Senate Debate: Fiorina vs. Boxer

Above the Post Recap & Review:

That went pretty well. Fiorina made a good introduction to the people of California. Unfortunately, this won't make a big dent in the polls; there was no knock-out punch from either candidate. Mostly because Fiorina didn't try and because Boxer, though she was picking at Fiorina's HP days like mad, couldn't land a solid hit.

Things I didn't know about Fiorina before the debate: She supports the DREAM Act, but not "amnesty." She wants to repeal Roe v. Wade and return to a state-by-state, "let the voters decide" approach to abortion. She wants to repeal DADT. She refused to take a stand on Prop 23, which would overturn California's greenhouse gas emissions scheme.

As I wrote on twitter, she will have made progress with Latinos and independents. But she will lose ground with women. Boxer is going to exploit the heck out of that with paid media in the next two months. Boxer is going to need somebody to turn out to vote, since Democratic voters are generally going to be demoralized, and it's going to be the feminist dog whistle all the way.

I'm disappointed that Fiorina let so many opportunities to hit back on jobs go by. She had a tendency to get caught up in the weeds, drifting around the general area of the issue and spitting out plenty of factoids, but never just spelling it out. Well, okay, she spelled it out once when she said "cut the regulations, cut the taxes and jobs will come." But then she got tangled in talk about "TARP Jr." and "TARP Sr." that probably lost a lot of viewers. And she never came back to that simple message: "you want jobs to come back to California? Cut taxes, cut regulation." My impression was that she was over-prepared on this and thought she had to regurgitate every last factoid she'd memorized. It was the wrong approach.

On the other hand, Boxer certainly said nothing to recommend herself for another six years. She said what Democrats have always said: raise taxes, ban guns, bailouts for teachers, and money for green jobs. Nothing that would really give the idea that she has a plan to salvage the California economy. When it came to economics, she only attacked Fiorina for her time at HP and reminisced about the "good old days" when President Clinton ran a surplus. (Unmentioned by Boxer, of course, is that during those good old days, there was a Republican Congress.)

Also Boxer might have hurt herself with some independents because she lectured patronizingly that sometimes it's right for judges to overturn the will of the people. It did not make for pleasant television.

Finally, though she probably hoped to lay the "Ma'am" fiasco to rest, I doubt her answer will satisfy everyone. Boxer said it was a formal hearing and she wanted the general to call her by her formal title. Fiorina did the classy thing and let it go.

All in all, a wash, I think. But it's the opening gambit for the next series of paid media attacks. Boxer has hardly begun on that front. Fiorina now has to shift from her primary election strategy to the general election.

Original Post is Tucked Below:

At 7pm Pacific, Carly Fiorina will face Barbara Boxer for a 60-minute televised debate. If you're interested, it will be on C-SPAN, the Chronicle's website, or watch it below the fold (assuming this gizmo plays when the debate starts).

I'll be live-tweeting the debate at @gabrielmalor.

While we're waiting for that to get kicking, Barbara Boxer's foot-in-mouth fib about Condi Rice is recounted in the arch-conservative pages of...the San Francisco Chronicle???

digg this
posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:58 PM

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