California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina said Sunday she regrets being caught on tape making fun of Sen. Barbara Boxer's hair, but didn't say whether she apologized to the Democratic incumbent.
Fiorina, who last week won the Republican nomination to take on Boxer, said she was quoting a friend when a live microphone captured her saying Boxer's hair is "so yesterday." But she told "Fox News Sunday" that the worst part of the situation is that people are focusing now less on issues and more on trivialities.
"I regret this whole situation. I gave people the opportunity to talk about something petty and superficial. And this is a very serious election year about serious issues," Fiorina said. "You know, what I think I owe the voters is a commitment to stay focused on facts, on issues and on the things that really matter, and I will keep that commitment to the voters."
But while backing off remarks about Boxer's appearance, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO did not retreat from blasting Boxer for being part of a Washington establishment that she says is forcing jobs out of California.
"Barbara Boxer believes the only way to create a job is to tax people and grow government," Fiorina said. "While Barbara Boxer comes to California to tout the impact of the stimulus bill, the reality is that the unemployment situation in California has deteriorated since the passage of the stimulus bill."
California's unemployment rate is 12.6 percent, with 2.3 million Californians out of work. At the same time, Fiorina said, "the federal government is growing its employees at 14.5 percent a year."
Fiorina said taxes are too high and regulations are too "thick." She cited the Endangered Species Act, for instance, for leading to a drought that has forced farmers into bankruptcy.
But Boxer and others point out that as head of Hewlett-Packard, 30,000 Americans lost jobs, and many of them went overseas.
Fiorina countered that on the whole, during her six years as head of HP, she created jobs.
"It is true, I managed Hewlett-Packard through the worst technology recession in 25 years. And in those tough times, we had to make some tough calls," she said. "It is also true that, net-net, we created jobs. We doubled the size of the company from 44 billion to 88 billion. We tripled the rate of innovation to 11 patents a day. We quintupled the cash flow. We improved the profitability in every product segment."
Fiorina also defended her statement that people on the government's no-fly list shouldn't be banned from buying guns. Fiorina said she would support the validity of the no-fly list if it actually included criminals or terror suspects, but in its current messy state it serves little purpose.
"(The late Sen.) Ted Kennedy was on the no-fly list. A 7- year-old boy was on the no-fly list. My wonderful sister-in-law was on the no-fly list. My chief of staff's husband was," she said.
"The truth is the no-fly list, by the government's own admission, is far too broad. So why should a law-abiding U.S. citizen who has the right to bear arms be prevented from doing so because of government incompetence? This is what people are crazed over."
Fiorina also said that she supports Arizona passing its own immigration law because the federal government is not securing the border.
"The Obama administration has de-funded securing the border," she said, adding that if she were in Boxer's seat in the Senate, she would be "figuratively standing on the president's desk and saying, 'Mr. President, the federal government needs to do its job and secure the border.'"
Fiorina added that she will not run away from her belief that abortion should be limited to cases of rape, incest and the mother's health, and said this year's race is not about social issues, it is about jobs and out-of-control government.
"That is why I believe I will win, because Barbara Boxer's track record on jobs is terrible, and she has never met a tax increase she didn't love or a spending bill she didn't approve, unless, of course, it was to fund body armor for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, or give them extended family leave, or any of the things that are necessary to protect our nation."