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Velvet gloves in debate by California's GOP candidates in governor's race

Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman skip lightly over solutions to state's finances.

March 16, 2010|By Cathleen Decker and Seema Mehta

The candidates similarly tussled over whose position was best on immigration and global warming. In both cases, Poizner tacked rightward and Whitman allowed for some nuance.

Poizner blamed the state's anti-global-warming measure (AB 32) for escalating California's jobless rate -- even though much of the law was not in effect when the unemployment rate took off. He said he would take the measure off the table until joblessness eased dramatically and for an extended time. He said he would impose a "dedicated dispute resolution system" to push through manufacturing projects in one year or less.

Whitman countered that she wanted a one-year moratorium on all new regulations, not just AB 32, and said regulations should be streamlined so approvals could be had in two months.

"Let's stop the madness and streamline the regulations we have," she said, asserting that California needed to control the market in green technology.

Poizner has been sharply conservative on the issue of immigration lately, and Monday was no exception. Drawing a distinction between legal and illegal immigration, he blamed the latter for crowded emergency rooms and schools in which teachers are "overwhelmed."

"The fact is we have to stop illegal immigration. The only way to do it is turn the magnets off," he said, referring to allowing undocumented children to attend school and receive benefits.

"Steve's done a complete about-face from where he was in 2004," Whitman responded, referring to his support then for a path to legal status for undocumented workers.

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