The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

October 29, 2010
Barbara Boxer takes time to hold forth, and is none too pleased

Sen. Barbara Boxer made amends for dashing away without answering questions on Thursday, by calling The Swarm today with a message for all the anonymous donors who are funding the $12 million-plus on ads bashing her:

"Come out, come out," Boxer said in a telephone interview today.

The bulk of the anti-Boxer ads are being aired the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is under no requirement to disclose donors paying for the commercials.

Several other groups also are airing anonymously funded ads attacking Boxer and, by extension, helping Republican challenger Carly Fiorina. A new Field Poll shows Boxer ahead but not by a wide margin.

Here's what Boxer had to say about the motivation behind the ads:

"The special interests want me out and they've always wanted me out. The polluters? I'm their biggest nightmare.

"They don't want me there. They want people they can control."

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in January permits unions and corporations to spend unlimited sums to fund independent campaign efforts, as Loyola Law School Professor Richard L. Hasen in noted in this Slate article.

Corporations are taking the opportunity to bash Boxer.

"This is the first time they can use all this corporate money against me. They're thrilled that they can attack me without being identified. They should step out and be courageous and identify themselves to me and to the American people."

That's not likely to happen any time soon, as we will explain in more detail in Sunday's Forum.

October 28, 2010
Barbara Boxer bobs, weaves and ducks questions

From Campaigns 101: When you're ahead in the polls, do not engage in any talk that might conceivably trip you up.

Barbara Boxer certainly has studied campaigns during her 28 years in Congress, and long ago learned how to duck a question.

Today, Boxer made a quick stop at and an even quicker exit from a start-up, Clean Energy Systems, in Rancho Cordova. There, she touted clean energy and made-in-America jobs, and took swipes at her opponent, Republican Carly Fiorina.

Boxer had opened her comments by saying how busy she was, and had to dash to the airport, but assured the gathering that she would answer a few questions from reporters about politics.

Sure enough, she completed her remarks, and said if reporters have any political questions, "I'm happy to take them at this time."

Funny thing, though, she didn't pause or look out into the audience. If she had, she might have seen a hand raised, mine. Instead, she seamlessly introduced the next speaker, Obama Administration Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and skittered off to a waiting vehicle so she could zip to the next stop.

If she had deigned to take a question, some wag might have asked: "Given your stated stand in favor of jobs and economy, why is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spending millions to defeat you."

But Boxer long ago learned how to campaign when polls suggest she might eek out a victory.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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