Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina said Thursday that she supports the $20 billion fund established to compensate victims of the Gulf oil spill but had harsh words for President Barack Obama's response this week.
During a campaign stop in Sacramento, Fiorina criticized part of Obama's national address on the catastrophe on Tuesday. While the president used most of the address to speak about the devastation, he also urged the nation and Congress to address climate change and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Fiorina, who is trying to unseat Democrat Barbara Boxer of California, said the president should be focused on capping the leak and cleaning up the oil, not working with Boxer on greenhouse gas legislation.
"President Obama's emphasis right now should be on cleaning up the spill, something (Sen.) Dianne Feinstein clearly recognized when she said, 'cap-and-trade legislation isn't going to clean up the spill."' Fiorina said.
Instead, she said the president is planning to meet with Boxer to discuss the climate change bill.
"I think our commander in chief's attention should be devoted exclusively to cleaning up the spill and to making sure that the residents of the Gulf Coast receive the relief that they so desperately need," Fiorina said after her visit to Rex Moore Electrical Contractors and Engineers in Sacramento.
Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski defended the actions. By addressing climate change, the U.S. can reduce carbon pollution and create thousands of jobs in the U.S., she said.
During a Wednesday news conference at the Capitol, Feinstein said she believes legislative work on a climate bill does not distract from cleanup efforts in the Gulf.
"We've got to stop the climate from warming, because it's turning California into a desert state, essentially," she said.
Fiorina continues to support a proposal for a limited expansion of oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast despite the growing unease among California voters. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed off the plan after watching the devastation in the Gulf unfold on television.
Fiorina also disagrees with the president's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf, preferring that states decide whether they want to stop drilling.