GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina on Wednesday called Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer a hypocrite for attacking Fiorina over her record of outsourcing as chief of Hewlett-Packard and challenged her to return any campaign contributions she has received from businesses who also outsourced jobs.
Several recent polls show Boxer pulling ahead of Fiorina in the closely watched race after Boxer ran TV ads attacking Fiorina for laying off employees and outsourcing thousands of jobs with she was chief of Hewlett-Packard.
Fiorina responded to those attacks Wednesday at a town hall-style event on the factory floor of a tool manufacturing company. The event was attended by several dozen local small business owners, as well as employees at Aranda Tooling Inc.
"It is the height of hypocrisy for Barbara Boxer to attack me or Aranda or any other struggling business for outsourcing jobs when she has taken tens of thousands in campaign contributions from companies who do the very same thing," she told the group. "Either she doesn't understand what is going on in the economy or she doesn't really care and this is just political-year electioneering and slogans."
Boxer's campaign didn't immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on Fiorina's town hall remarks.
Earlier in the day, however, Boxer appeared on KQED's Forum and said she was "focused like a laser beam" on jobs. The senator noted she has strong business backing from those in the high-tech and alternative energy sectors for her support of green jobs.
She also touted her support of the small business jobs bill, which was recently signed by President Barack Obama to help small businesses create jobs by getting them access to credit, and the HIRE Act, which increased funding to build roads, highways and bridges.
At the town hall, Fiorina said HP and other companies were forced to send jobs overseas because of long-standing policies embraced by Boxer that stifled business growth and made it harder for small businesses to compete.
She reiterated her proposal to create a "Jobs for Americans Zone" as part of her economic growth plan. The idea is to create selected areas throughout the country and give tax breaks at the federal level to lure back manufacturing jobs.
Some of the benefits would include a 10-year tax holiday for facilities moved from overseas and a five-year tax holiday for startups and expansions.
Fiorina also said she would support a two-year payroll break for small businesses and an increase in the tax credit for businesses that engage in research and development.
"There are a whole host of policies that work and the reason that we know they work is because Texas employs them, Oregon employs them, Minnesota employs them, North Carolina employs them and so do places like China and Brazil," she said. "Barbara Boxer has stood in opposition to those policies year after year after year."