California Republican Senate nominee Carly Fiorina pledged Sunday to scrutinize "hundreds of billions" in government "waste" if elected, but repeatedly declined to name a specific program she would cut to help close the deficit.
Fiorina, who has stressed her fiscal responsibility and business savvy in the race against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, was pressed on "Fox News Sunday" to detail what areas of the federal budget she would target for spending cuts. She called for a ban on earmarks and a program allowing taxpayers to designate part of their income tax toward debt reduction, but mostly described her budget-balancing strategy in broad terms.
Asked what areas of entitlement spending she would target, she called the query a "typical political question."
"Let's start looking at our spending, but let's not just breeze on past the fact that we have hundreds of billions of dollars worth of waste, inefficiency and fraud," Fiorina said.
Fiorina focused instead on tax cuts, saying an extension of the Bush tax cuts as well as a reduction in the United States' 35 percent corporate tax would help grow the economy -- in turn helping address the deficit. Citing the San Francisco Chronicle's recent decision not to endorse either candidate in the Senate contest, Fiorina said Boxer is "too extreme" for her state.
"She is an extreme liberal. She is hyper-partisan," Fiorina said.
On the question of entitlement reform, she said she is "willing to consider any alternative," though she did not offer a proposal.
"What I think we need to do to engage the American people in a conversation about entitlement reform, is to have a bipartisan group of people who come together and put every solution on the table, every alternative on the table," she said, adding: "We cannot continue to just jump over the fact that our government is bloated, wasteful, inefficient, in many cases inept and, frankly, in many cases as well, corrupt."
Boxer is facing an unprecedented challenge for her seat this year. Polls show the incumbent leading by anywhere from 1 to 9 percentage points.