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Fiorina seeks independents in new ad by vowing to cross her party 'when it's wrong'

October 12, 2010 | 12:00 am


In her run for the U.S Senate, conservative Republican candidate Carly Fiorina has eschewed the approach of other California Republicans who emphasized moderate positions on controversial topics such as offshore oil drilling and immigration to make inroads with independent and Democratic voters.

But in a pair of new ads airing Tuesday, Fiorina seeks to appeal to those voters by vowing to take on “bickering” in Washington and to cross her party if necessary if she is elected to replace Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is currently leading her in the polls.

The spots, which will replace last week’s somber black-and-white montage that portrayed a desolate and struggling California, attempt to zero in on undecided voters who are frustrated with spending in Washington, the size of the federal deficit, and unsatisfied with the results of the Obama administration’s stimulus legislation.

Like the stylistically simple spots she ran in the final stretch of the primary, the camera shows Fiorina’s supporters and the candidate speaking to the camera before a plain background in succession, sometimes one word at a time. “Everyone is hurting,” the narrator says in one ad, as Fiorina’s supporters follow up with one line each: “Republican. Democrat. Independent. Your party doesn’t matter anymore. It’s fixing this mess,” they say. 

“Boxer’s been there 28 years,” a supporter identified as Charles continues.

 “And look what we’ve got,” another identified as Shahin says.

“When bickering ends, solutions begin,” Fiorina says to the camera. “I’m prepared to oppose my party when it’s wrong. We can change Washington. But first you have to vote to change the people we send there.”

In a second ad, Fiorina renews her commitment to cutting federal spending and banning earmarks, while her supporters question the impact of the Obama administration’s stimulus legislation, one of Fiorina’s central themes on the campaign trail. 

“Millions unemployed,” a supporter states. “Yet Boxer says the stimulus is working?” another asks.  The ads will begin airing Tuesday on broadcast and cable channels statewide, paid for in part by the National Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has put $3 million into Fiorina’s race so far.

With the exception of one positive ad about her record, Boxer has kept her ads tightly focused on Fiorina's record as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, where she presided over some 30,000 layoffs and the relocation of American jobs overseas.

In virtually every campaign appearance, Boxer acknowledges that the state is facing “tough times,” but she has also touted the economic stimulus package as a critical piece of legislation that saved or created jobs, noting that she has met dozens of workers on the campaign trail who have benefited from the bill.

A recent report by the Congressional Budget Office refuted the claims of Fiorina and other Republicans that the stimulus has done “nothing.” An August report found the legislation lowered the nation’s unemployment rate between April and June by as much as 1.8 percentage points and increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million. 

Boxer, who is running for her fourth term, has also rejected Fiorina’s characterizations of out-of-control spending in Washington, noting in a recent debate, for example, that the $1.3 trillion deficit was “inherited from [former President] George [W.] Bush.”

-- Maeve Reston