U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer took several jabs at her Republican rival during a campaign stop at a Palo Alto home Wednesday evening where she ended a two-day, nine-city California tour to discuss her job creation plan.

The senator met with supporters at the Harriet Street home and joined speakers including Palo Alto Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa and San Jose Council Member Nora Campos before outlining a plan aimed at creating jobs and turning the economy around. The three main components of the strategy are "making sure California is the hub of clean energy technology," increasing transportation funding and transportation jobs, and ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, she said.

Boxer argued the economic downturn was due to eight years of mismanagement, referring to the Bush administration, and said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act approved last year provided the largest tax cut in the country's history and has helped stop the economic slide.

However, Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard who is challenging the three-term senator for her seat in November, has said Boxer is taking the state toward economic stagnation and has contributed to higher taxes, increased debt and a larger deficit.

Fiorina argued that to create jobs the focus needs to be on supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, and that the state and country should stop creating new regulations such as health care mandates and higher energy costs.


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In an e-mail, Andrea Saul, a press secretary for Fiorina's campaign, said, "While Barbara Boxer parades around California talking about jobs, voters take heed, as this is the same failed senator who promised the $862 billion taxpayer funded stimulus would create 400,000 jobs, yet California has seen over 400,000 jobs lost since its passage. Barbara Boxer has done nothing to create jobs in California, but rather, has spent nearly three decades supporting job-killing policies, including over a trillion dollars in tax hikes, and increasing our national debt to unprecedented levels."

Boxer acknowledged in her Wednesday night appearance that Hewlett-Packard is headquartered in Palo Alto, and she attacked Fiorina's track record at the global computer company, saying Fiorina tripled her salary while laying off numerous workers.

"Carly Fiorina never fought for our families," Boxer said. "She never even tried to."

The senator also took aim at Fiorina's political record: "A lot of people don't know who our opponent is because — guess what? — she never held public office."

Fiorina is not for American jobs, but instead supports corporate breaks and outsourcing, Boxer said.

"You couldn't have two candidates that disagree more on the basic issues of our time," she said.

The Wednesday event was hosted by the Santa Clara County Democratic Party. Attendees in the crowded Palo Alto home included state Assemblyman Paul Fong, San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon, San Jose Vice Mayor Judy Chirco, San Jose Council Member Ash Kalra and Palo Alto Council Member Karen Holman.

During his speech, Espinosa, a former Hewlett-Packard employee, acknowledged he was "speaking to the choir" and said Fiorina will not be an "easy fight." A Reuters poll released last week shows Fiorina trailing Boxer by four points, according to Fiorina's campaign.

E-mail Jesse Dungan at jdungan@dailynewsgroup.com.