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Fiorina announces support for Proposition 23 to roll back state's global warming law

September 3, 2010 |  1:27 pm

One of the more memorable exchanges in Wednesday night's debate between Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republican challenger Carly Fiorina was Fiorina's refusal to take a position on Proposition 23, which would suspend California's landmark global warming law until unemployment drops to 5.5% or lower for four consecutive quarters.

Fiorina's refusal to take a position Wednesday night puzzled a wide range of political observers on both sides of the ideological aisle. During their broadcast after the debate, conservative talk-show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI-AM (640) slammed her for not making up her mind, even as liberal opponents criticized her as well.

At an event Thursday in Burbank, Fiorina said she still had not made up her mind whether to suspend AB 32, the global-warming measure. But her campaign put out a nuanced statement Friday afternoon, as Fiorina headed out of the country to Israel, that said she supported Prop. 23.

“Proposition 23 is a band-aid fix and an imperfect solution to addressing our nation’s climate and energy challenges. The real solution to these challenges lies not with a single state taking action on its own, but rather with global action," Fiorina said in her statement. "That’s why we need a comprehensive, national energy solution that funds energy R&D and takes advantage of every source of domestic energy we have -– including nuclear, wind and solar -– in an environmentally responsible way. That said, AB 32 is undoubtedly a job killer, and it should be suspended.”

During the debate, Fiorina at first did not directly answer a panelist's question about whether she would vote in favor of Proposition 23, leading the moderator to follow up with a brisk "Yes or No?"

Boxer took the opening to criticize her opponent's reticence and steered her answer back to Fiorina's record as the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, which moved American jobs overseas under her watch. "If you can't take a stand on Prop. 23, I don't know what you will take a stand on," the three-term senator told her rival during the debate at St. Mary's College in Moraga. "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."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman still has not taken a position on Proposition 23 but has said she is leaning toward voting against it. Both Republicans appear to be struggling with conflicting imperatives: Members of their party have generally objected to the global warming measure, while the independent voters who could carry them to victory in November traditionally are supportive of environmental measures.

-- Maeve Reston in Los Angeles

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