Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.) and Republican Carly Fiorina faced off in their first debate on Wednesday night in their tough battle for the state's Senate seat. From the outset, the two aggressively attacked each other's records, with economic themes running throughout the debate. Some of the sharpest exchanges occurred on issues like climate change and working across the aisle, and the moderator repeatedly pressed the candidates to answer the questions when they avoided doing so. Some highlights:
IMMIGRATION: Fiorina came out and said that she supports the DREAM Act, which would grant undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents and have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives with a path to legalization and a chance to pursue higher education. "I do no believe that we can punish children who, through no fault of their own, are here living the American dream," said Fiorina, adding that she opposes "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants. Boxer called for comprehensive immigration reform, saying that Fiorina called such legislation a "distraction." She added that the DREAM Act is part of comprehensive reform.
GAY RIGHTS: Fiorina said that marriage is "between a man and a woman," but she supports civil unions for same-sex couples. She cited President Obama in her opposition to marriage equality, saying, "the position I've consistently espoused is consistent with that of our President and a vast majority of senators in the U.S. Senate." She also said she supports the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Boxer said that marriage equality is necessary to equal rights for gay men and women.
ABORTION: The moderator pressed Fiorina on whether or not Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and Fiorina attempted to avoid the question, saying, "If there were an opportunity is not an issue I'm running on, and the reason for that is that I'm a strong believer in states' rights." In a January 2010 radio interview, Fiorina said that she would "absolutely" vote to overturn the Supreme Court case giving women a right to choose.
PARTISANSHIP: Boxer was asked for a time when she disagreed strongly with President Obama and did something about it. The senator said she is a co-sponsor of 500 Republican bills. She also said that President Obama needs an exit strategy from Afghanistan and called on him to appoint Elizabeth Warren "right now" to oversee the new federal consumer protection agency. Fiorina hit Boxer for her "bitter partisanship," saying that she was unable to move a climate bill through her Environment and Public Works Committee.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Fiorina initially avoided answering a reporter's question about her position on Proposition 23, "a measure that would roll back climate change legislation in California until the state's unemployment rate stays at or below 5.5 percent for a year." When pressed, Fiorina said that she has not yet taken a position on it. Boxer responded, "Well if you can't take a stand on Prop. 23, I don't know what you will take a stand on." She added that overturning California's clean energy policies would take away jobs away from the United States.
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