Los Angeles Times: Boxer attacks Fiorina’s pro-oil drilling stance in Santa Barbara

Reporting from Santa Barbara — With images of the Gulf Coast oil spill still fresh in voters’ minds, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer campaigned in Santa Barbara on Wednesday, arguing that Carly Fiorina’s support for additional oil drilling off California’s coast could threaten the jobs of nearly 400,000 workers whose livelihoods depend on the coastal economy.

Deliberately making an economic argument as well as an environmental one, Boxer spoke before a backdrop of blue and yellow kayaks at a small adventure touring company where the owner introduced her by asking the audience to imagine how their lives would change if “the devastation in the Gulf Coast were happening here.”

“We’re not going to have ‘drill, baby, drill’ off the coast,” Boxer told the small crowd, using a phrase popularized by former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2008 when gas prices had shot up to nearly $5 a gallon. “For people in this state that love their environment, that love their coast, that love their ocean, that really appreciate the 400,000 jobs that are coastal-related, this race is very pivotal.”

The three-term senator called her Republican rival’s openness to offshore drilling “a direct attack on our $23-billion coastal economy” and said the last California senator to take a pro-drilling stance was S.I. Hayakawa. “That was 28 years ago, OK? We cannot go back to that yesterday.”

In making her case in Santa Barbara, where an oil platform blowout in 1969 slicked 35 miles of coastline with black goo, Boxer was attempting to strike an emotional chord with coastal voters while portraying her opponent as out of touch. Fiorina, working the other side of the environmental issue, has been making a similar effort recently by campaigning in the Central Valley among voters who blame environmental restrictions on irrigation for the poor farm economy.

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