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Boxer slams Fiorina's record at Hewlett Packard

June 25, 2010 |  7:53 pm

During a visit to a family-owned bakery in Lincoln Heights on Friday, California Sen. Barbara Boxer said it was “bizarre” that her opponent, former Hewlett Packard Co. Chief Executive Carly Fiorina, has argued that her experience dealing with job cuts and outsourcing has prepared her to tackle those issues in Washington.

Fiorina, who laid off some 30,000 workers while she headed HP from 1999 to 2005, told an audience in Beverly Hills earlier this week that her willingness to make difficult choices during her tenure and her knowledge of why many companies are outsourcing jobs would be an asset to voters.

But Boxer scoffed at that notion during her visit to Los Angeles on Friday, arguing that voters would see greater value in her work on legislation such as the Economic Recovery Act, adding that it has helped save thousands of jobs in California.

“She was named one of the worst CEOs of all time and she was fired,” Boxer said. “She fired 30,000 plus workers and shipped their jobs to China. It’s a record that is not a good one….  And I don’t think that people are going to think that’s a qualification.”

Fiorina’s spokeswoman, Julie Soderlund, said Fiorina did what was necessary to ensure the long-term health of her company and was proud of her record.

“She has been very up front about the fact that politics exist in the board just as much as they do in the U.S. Senate,” she said of Fiorina’s dismissal, which the candidate wrote about in her memoirs. 

Faulting Boxer for supporting tax increases and “job-killing legislation,” Soderlund said the California Democrat had been unwilling to make the same kinds of “tough choices” in her handling of taxpayer dollars over more than three decades in politics.

After touring the 38-employee Los Angeles Baking Co. in Lincoln Heights to highlight her plans to help small businesses, Boxer also said she was disappointed that Senate Democrats fell three votes short Thursday of passing legislation that would have reinstated long-term unemployment benefits for Americans who have been out of work for more than six months. The provision would have added about $30 billion to the national debt.

Boxer, who voted to proceed on the measure, said it was “cruel” not to extend that aid for jobless Americans: “I’m hopeful we can come back together,” she said noting that the measure included aid for youth summer jobs and additional tax breaks for small businesses.... We only need three people to change their minds.”

Soderlund said although Fiorina believes some of the programs within the bill are “worthwhile” — including the unemployment benefit extension — she is concerned about its effect on the national debt and would not support the measure unless tax increases are removed and increased spending for unemployment benefits is offset by cuts.

-- Maeve Reston in Los Angeles

twitter.com/LATimesReston

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