PALO ALTO, Calif.—Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., visited Hewlett Packard's headquarters and spoke to corporate executives, workers, and media in Palo Alto, California, on Tuesday, hailing innovation and technology in Silicon Valley, and offering brief remarks about the Democratic Party's prospects this fall, both in the presidential race and in Senate contests.
Sen. Boxer entered the room packed with over 200 Hewlett Packard employees and members of the media and was about 30 minutes late for her scheduled time to speak, due to a prior prolonged meeting with the company's corporate executives.
"I am thrilled to be here; every time I come home, I don't want to go back to Washington, but I have to," said Boxer.
Sen. Boxer, 67, has been aggressively campaigning and raising money in anticipation of a tough reelection bid in 2010 when the senator next faces California voters.
The reelection campaign could pit Boxer against California's political star-power governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, term-limited out of the governor's office in the same year, if he opts to challenge her.
In order to gain an early edge, Boxer isn't relying on money and fundraisers alone, but also on individual supporters whose contributions could be significant for the primary and general elections.
Sen. Boxer was first elected in 1992, and is known for her outspoken liberalism which garnered her support in her home state-she was able to win reelection in 2004.
At Hewlett Packard headquarters Senator Boxer touched upon several urgent issues including global warming, worker laws, and California's stalled budget process.
Responding to a question from the audience on how the U.S. government plans to deal with current layoffs and job cuts as a result of an unbalanced budget, Boxer referred to the exceedingly great spending of the current administration in Iraq.
"It's $5,000 per second. Before I layoff a postman or other government employees, I want to bring the money home," Boxer said, gesturing in front of the audience crowding the corporate hall.
When questioned about the GOP vice presidential pick Sarah Palin, Senator Boxer enumerated what seemed to be carefully scripted items regarding the Republican Party choice.
"She [Sarah Palin] considers it criminal if a woman chooses to end her pregnancy. She does not think insurance companies should cover birth control; this is a very right wing position. She is ethically challenged. She is under investigation by the Alaska state legislature for interfering in trying to get someone fired. When she was the mayor of this small town, she left the town in debt, $5,000 per capita," said Boxer, describing the Republican vice presidential choice.
Boxer continued with a few remarks to the Hewlett Packard corporate staff.
"You have to be proud; Silicon Valley continues to be the world leader in innovation and technology; it is about the people behind these walls in these beautiful offices; it is about true commitment to excellence and for that we are grateful and of course we have seen such an amazing evolution in technology."
Boxer concluded: "I am excited about the future, and you are the future, the ones here and around the world, and I will work with you to make sure this company stays in the position it has been-a real world leader."
Now as Barbara Boxer prepares to seek reelection to a fourth term, the California Senator may run against Gov. Schwarzenegger for a seat in the Senate. So far, Gov. Schwarzenegger has done nothing to dissuade speculation that he'd like to be a U.S. Senator. Boxer's victory over Schwarzenegger almost certainly won't be aided by a big Democratic year this fall. The election of a Democratic president and robust Democratic majorities in both chambers would make Republican Party gains in the 2010 midterm elections likely.