MENLO PARK (AP) — Republican Carly Fiorina said Friday she would be a like-minded colleague of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein if she unseats Sen. Barbara Boxer next week, drawing sharp responses from both Democratic senators as they appeared together at a campaign stop.

“We agree on more issues,” Fiorina said in describing views she shares with Feinstein on water issues, trade and national security.

“On a whole host of issues, Dianne Feinstein and I, I am quite sure, will be very productive colleagues,” Fiorina said during a campaign stop with female supporters at the Sugar Shack candy store in the Silicon Valley city of Menlo Park as the race enters its final weekend. “The record is crystal clear on where Barbara Boxer has been.”

Standing side by side at an event Friday at California State University Northridge, Boxer and Feinstein refuted those claims.

“From day one she’s tried to drive a wedge between Senator Feinstein and I, and Senator Feinstein’s my campaign chairman,” Boxer said of Fiorina’s grab for centrist voters.

Feinstein is a strong supporter of Boxer, a fellow Democrat, and has responded to similar remarks by Fiorina in the past. Feinstein said she differs with Fiorina on many topics, including a woman’s right to choose and offshore oil drilling.

“Those are two huge, seminal issues in this state, where the vote is critical,” said Feinstein “We have to fight to protect our coast, and if one person won’t fight to protect it, it cuts our effectiveness by 50 percent.”

Feinstein said “experience matters” in this year’s elections because when she and Boxer went to the Senate 18 years ago they “were effectively backbenchers” and have since fought their way to leadership roles.

“She has worked her way up in seniority to where she’s got a voice for California,” said Feinstein, to loud applause. “If Barbara’s opponent is elected, my voice is cut in half.”

Fiorina opposes abortion and has said she would support overturning the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision. Fiorina also has said she supports expanded offshore drilling in general, but in California favors allowing voters to decide whether to allow increased drilling along the coast.

Boxer added that she had voted “100 percent alike on every jobs bill” as Feinstein, and that jobs are what will define this election.

“Those jobs bills would have failed if she was in the Senate instead of me because Senator Feinstein would have been the lonely voice in California, her vote would have been nullified by Fiorina’s stand,” said Boxer.

Feinstein is popular in California and is generally regarded as a centrist.

Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., disputed a Field Poll released Friday showing Boxer leading her among likely voters, 49 percent to 41 percent. Fiorina called the Field Poll an “outlier.”

“We have a whole set of internal polls, as well as a whole set of external polls, that say this race is very, very tight,” she said. “It is very, very winnable and that it comes down in many ways to turnout.”

Fiorina said Boxer receiving high-profile help in the campaign’s waning days is a sign that the three-term incumbent is in trouble.

Stevie Wonder and Magic Johnson are doing radio advertisements for her, and President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have campaigned for her.

Fiorina and her supporters gathered Friday in the candy shop, surrounded by a rainbow of colorful treats, oversized edible bears and twirls of licorice. The first-time candidate’s smaller-government, anti-regulation message resonated with many in the crowd.

“We are smart enough to decide for ourselves,” said Sima Shabahang, 77, a registered Republican and retired office manager from Los Altos who emigrated from Iran before the revolution. “That’s why I don’t like big government.”

(© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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