Carly Fiorina

July 20th, 2010, 3:24 pm · posted by Dena Bunis, Washington Bureau Chief

Republican Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina has changed her mind, saying on a San Francisco radio show Tuesday morning that she would have voted yes on the unemployment benefits extension bill that was cleared Tuesday afternoon for a full Senate vote with just two GOP lawmakers voting yes.

“I probably would have voted for this extension,” Fiorina said on KGO radio. “But I tell you what, I think that it is absolutely appropriate for people to stand on their desks and say when is it that we’re finally going to do what needs to be done and cut government spending.”

Fiorina is locked in a tight race with Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. A Rasmussen survey taken on July 12 had Boxer leading Fiorina 49 percent to 42 percent with a 4.5 percent margin of error. The latest Field Poll, taken between June 22 and July 5, had Boxer up 47 percent to 44 percent. That poll had a 3.2 percent margin of error.

Fiorina, who said in late June and on July 1 that she wouldn’t vote to spend more money on expanding such benefits unless spending was cut in order to pay for it, said three times during this short interview that unemployment benefits need to be extended.

Boxer has been beating up on her GOP opponent for opposing the extension. Boxer has made repeated speeches on the Senate floor calling on Republicans to relent and support the extension. “She’s not for American jobs. She won’t help the jobless,” Boxer said earlier this month.

The jobless benefits extension passed with just two Republicans- Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins agreeing to end a filibuster and make way for passage of the bill. Asked on the radio show if she knows that she would be bucking her own political party by saying she’d have voted yes, Fiorina said the “GOP isn’t going to send me to Washington D.C., the people of California are. The people of California want a little bit of practical problem solving and some common sense.”

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