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Barbara Boxer Touts Environmental, Economic Record

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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

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SANTA MONICA (AP) — Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer on Saturday stepped up the rhetoric against her Republican rival as she discounted the possibility that a wave of sentiment against Democrats and incumbents is chipping away at her lead.

“I don’t buy into any of these predictions,” she told reporters after a campaign event on the sand of Santa Monica Beach. “Let’s wait and see.”

A 28-year veteran of Capitol Hill, Boxer is battling to win her fourth term in a race against GOP challenger Carly Fiorina, the millionaire former chairwoman and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard.

A survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California showed Boxer’s 7-point lead had shrunk to 5 points from September.

The national Democratic Party is pulling out all stops to boost Boxer.

President Barack Obama campaigned for the senator at a rally at the University of Southern California on Friday. Michelle Obama is slated to appear at another Boxer event in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Fiorina, meanwhile, pumped another $1 million of her personal fortune into her campaign for the final stretch. She has used a total of $6.5 million of her own cash.

Addressing a crowd of cheering supporters, Boxer said she remained confident that when voters compare her long record of protecting California’s environment and economy to Fiorina’s corporate resume of laying off workers and sending jobs over seas, they’ll vote for the incumbent.

“When the people vote, we will win,” she said.

Boxer highlighted her longheld opposition to new oil drilling off the California coast as one of the clear differences between her and Fiorina.

“My opponent says I’m an extreme environmentalist,” Boxer told the throng, many of whom were Sierra Club members. “I do admit I want extremely clean air. I do admit I want extremely clean drinking water.”

Fiorina, who has said she is in favor of letting Californians decide whether to allow increased oil drilling, said Boxer was a “hypocrite” because the senator held stock in energy companies, including Diamond Offshore Drilling, until she came under fire for it in 2000.

Fiorina spokeswoman Andrea Saul labeled Boxer a “career politician” who is “out of touch” from voters’ real concerns: jobs and wasteful government spending.

Boxer was accompanied on the podium by Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver and actors Hector Elizondo, Valerie Harper, Dennis Haysbert and Melissa Fitzgerald.

“If it hadn’t been for Sen. Boxer, there’d be oil rigs right here,” Shriver said, gesturing at the Pacific Ocean.

Referring to Fiorina’s mocking Boxer’s hairdo as “so yesterday,” Boxer said Fiorina’s opposition to abortion and the assault weapon ban as really what was rooted in the past.

“That’s so yesterday,” she said in a mocking tone.

Fiorina has said she would not introduce a bill to overturn pro-choice laws, and would judge any proposed assault weapon ban on its merits while strengthening penalties for gun-related crime.

Boxer noted while her wealthy opponent has relied on $6.5 million of her own money to finance her campaign, Boxer has received grassroots donations as little as $5 and $10.

The Fiorina campaign said the candidate has received more than $4 million in online donations.

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

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