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Fiorina urges San Jose supporters to work 'every single hour of every single day'

October 23, 2010 |  3:59 pm

With a little more than a week to go in her close race against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina made a swing through her old turf in Silicon Valley on Saturday to buck up women supporters who were making calls on her behalf at a Republican Party headquarters in San Jose.

“Things are bad in California: 12.4% unemployment, 20 counties with unemployment above 15% ... and yet people are not hopeless, they are not helpless,” the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive told more than two dozen women who crowded around her during a break from their phone bank lists. “We have the power of our vote. And this time the power of everyone’s vote is going to cause the whole nation to look to California and say ‘Wow’ … the voters of California decided that 28 years of Barbara Boxer was enough.”

“But it won’t happen if we take a single day or a single vote or a single dollar for granted. So we have to work really hard now, every single hour of every single day for the next 10 days. Trust me I will be.”

Touching on the grueling pace of her travels up and down the state in recent days, Fiorina said she’d been reminded of a Johnny Cash song: “I’ve Been Everywhere.”

“That’s kind of how I feel. I open the drapes in a hotel room and I don’t really know where I am actually, but I know what we have to do that day, which is to go out and talk to people about the issues that matter to them,” she said, before promising to tackle job creation, “out of control” spending and an “unaccountable” government in Washington. 

Fiorina has presented herself as a proud conservative Republican since the earliest phase of the race -- espousing views on social issues such as abortion and offshore oil drilling that are at odds with the opinions of most Californians -- but she has sought to broaden her appeal in the final stretch with television ads in which she promises to cross her party if it’s in Californians' interests. 

That message is strikingly different from her cutting tone on the campaign trail, where she has pounded the rate of government spending under the Obama administration, bashing the stimulus program and the healthcare bill as a waste of taxpayer money.

Asked to name any pending Obama administration proposal or Democratic bill that she would back against the will of her party, Fiorina mentioned several votes that had already come and gone -- including one this summer to extend unemployment benefits, which she said she would have supported.

“I would have voted against the bailouts -- those happened in a Republican administration,” she added.
The former business executive also said she stands behind President Obama’s $4.35-billion Race to the Top Initiative: “I think it is a wise move to connect the spending of federal dollars to performance in the classroom.”

States compete for Race to the Top funding, which was set aside in the federal stimulus package that Fiorina opposes.

-- Maeve Reston in San Jose