Fiorina starts U.S. Senate Campaign

November 6, 2009 7:21:57 PM PST
Next year's race for the U.S. Senate is already shaping up to be a fight over jobs. Former Hewlett Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina is challenging incumbent Barbara Boxer.

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With the national unemployment rate surging unexpectedly today to more than 10 percent, the two candidates are trading some ugly accusations.

Rising unemployment, fueled by the loss of 190,000 jobs last month, is making job creation a hot campaign issue.

Fiorina made her first Bay Area campaign speech as a Republican candidate to unseat Sen. Boxer.

Addressing the Tri-Valley Business Council, Fiorina said Boxer's bill to reduce greenhouse gases is bad for the economy.

"This bill is a job killer. It's a job killer for small businesses, it is a job killer for farmers," said Fiorina.

Sen. Boxer has long argued the opposite.

"This bill in fact will lead us to a strong economy with the creation of millions of new jobs, new technologies," said Sen. Boxer.

Who is right? Factcheck.org analyzed the bill on the Hill. It discovered the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office thinks it will slow down job growth, even though it might create jobs in the short term to build wind turbines and other energy-generating devices.

With jobs a major issue, Fiorina's bid for the Senate has raised questions about her own six-year record at HP from 1999 to 2005.

Democratic party leaders are quick to blast the number of HP employees Fiorina laid off.

"She fired 28,000 people when she was head of her company and lost a lot of stock money and was voted one of the worst CEO's in the country. So she ought to know about what kills jobs," said State Democratic Chairman John Burton.

In fact, Fiorina has said she laid off tens of thousands of people as a result of its 2002 acquisition of Compaq Computer. Published reports say HP laid off 6,000 employees in 2001 and 18,000 in 2003.

ABC7 asked her about those layoffs and she has a different story.

"We did create jobs over the course of my tenure. Clearly we went through some tough times during the worst technology recession in 25 years, and during tough times, you have to make some tough choices," she said.

The Fiorina campaign staff points out HP had 64,000 more employees worldwide in 2005, the year she was fired, compared to 1999 when she started.

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