Politics & Government

Boxer and Fiorina go to extremes in second debate

PASADENA — The second debate between Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republican challenger Carly Fiorina erupted Wednesday into charges that each candidate was too extreme for California.

The two women took contrasting stands on abortion, health care reform and climate change legislation.

Still, Boxer and Fiorina struck a less combative tone than during their first debate on Sept. 1, when they spoke just a few feet away from each other on stage at St. Mary's College in Moraga.

This time, the candidates debated about 2,600 miles apart, with Boxer in a National Public Radio studio in Washington, D.C., and Fiorina at public radio station KPCC-FM in Pasadena. The debate was broadcast on public radio stations statewide.

Debate moderators Patt Morrison and Gabriel Lerner also frequently interrupted the candidates' attempts to recite talking points and attacks, so much so that some of the afternoon's most animated exchanges were between the candidates and their moderators.

Boxer repeated criticism of Fiorina, which she used to her advantage during the first debate, that the Republican former CEO of tech company Hewlett-Packard had shipped thousands of jobs overseas. Boxer has also highlighted Fiorina's corporate record in her TV commercials.

Recent public opinion polls show Boxer building a slight lead over Fiorina, and the Democrat claims a healthy fundraising advantage over her opponent.

When Lerner asked Boxer on Wednesday to stop talking about Hewlett-Packard, the three-term senator responded, "Wages are set by the private sector. The fact is (Fiorina) is still supporting tax breaks to companies who shift jobs overseas. So this is a very relevant conversation."

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