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Jobs Is Top Issue In Final Weekend Of Senate Race

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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Showing that politics and religion often do mix, Sen. Barbara Boxer spent the final Sunday before the election courting black voters Sunday at a church near downtown Los Angeles.

Boxer was introduced to members of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, although neither she nor the other political candidates in attendance spoke.

The senator is seeking her fourth term in the U.S. Senate and faces Republican Carly Fiorina, who spent her morning meeting voters at a restaurant in Palm Desert.

Boxer, who clapped and swayed to the booming sound of the all-men’s choir, is hoping the black community goes to the polls on Tuesday with nearly as much enthusiasm as they did two years ago when Barack Obama was elected president.

Church leaders didn’t endorse any of the candidates, but encouraged the several hundred in the congregation to vote.

One member of the congregation said he had already voted and predicted a good turnout in this year’s midterm election despite reports of voter apathy among Democrats.

“Everybody I’ve run into is still very excited about voting,” said 53-year-old McKinley Perkins, who said he supports Boxer. “She’s been straightforward and consistent with what she’s been doing. Her work has been on target from what I’ve seen.”

Both candidates are spending the final days of the campaign asking supporters to take nothing for granted in the remaining two days before the election because whichever campaign does the best job of getting supporters to the polls should win.

It’s particularly important for Fiorina to keep supporters optimistic because the latest Field Poll showed her trailing by a 49 percent to 41 percent margin.

Fiorina intended to travel to Fresno in the afternoon and the eastern San Francisco Bay area city of Walnut Creek. Boxer, who only had one campaign event on Saturday, is scheduled to greet volunteers in the working class city of El Monte, east of Los Angeles.

The final days of the California Senate race also have been dominated by jobs.

Republican challenger Carly Fiorina is trying to place the burden of the state’s 12.4 percent unemployment rate on three-term Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. Meanwhile, Boxer is fond of reminding voters that the former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive laid off 30,000 workers during her five-and-a-half year tenure at the technology company.

Both candidates seem to think they have the winning hand in this particular debate and are intent on raising it as often as they can over the coming days.

Fiorina is using the jobs debate to make the case that policies promoted by Congress and the Obama administration have created the state’s economic problems. She says in her campaign stops that while California has 2.3 million people out of work, the federal government has added 100,000 “bureaucrats” in the last 12 months and that the federal debt has grown by $2.3 trillion over the past two years.

“When a job gets destroyed, we’re not just destroying a paycheck, we’re destroying someone’s opportunity to live the American Dream, we’re destroying their ability to build a better life for themselves and their families and in many cases we’re undercutting their sense of dignity and self worth,” Fiorina said to supporters in Sacramento.

She also makes the case that the state needs a senator who would be friendlier to the state’s small businesses.

“We are crushing them with a burden of taxation and regulation and uncertainty,” Fiorina told about 250 people in Orange County.

Boxer fixes blame on the administration of former President George W. Bush, and says that she and fellow Democrats are trying to fix the economic problems Republicans created when they controlled the White House and — for most of Bush’s two terms — the Congress. Her latest and perhaps final TV ad of the campaign was released over the weekend and focuses exclusively on Fiorina’s tenure at H-P.

“Carly Fiorina, as CEO she shipped American jobs to China,” the ad states.

In Seal Beach on Saturday, Fiorina supporter Judy Duvall said she shared Fiorina’s emphasis on jobs as the campaign’s top issue. She said she wasn’t bothered by criticism that Hewlett-Packard outsourced jobs to other countries because it was in the best interest of the company and its shareholders at the time.

“Now she will work for us,” Duvall said. “She has seen both sides of the picture.”

Fiorina acknowledges the layoffs, but she also said she increased the number of employees overall. She says the increase was beyond the number added when the company merged with Compaq Computers.

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

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