POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 5, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 10:25 p.m. HST, Oct 21, 2010
A television ad for Charles Djou that features a video clip of Colleen Hanabusa saying, "I can tell you right now, in government I don't think there's waste, per se," is drawing criticism that her comment is being taken out of context.
The video clip was from one of the first candidate forums in the 1st Congressional District special election before the primary. The forum was sponsored by Smart Business Hawaii, the small-business interest group founded by state Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai), and also featured Charles Djou and Ed Case.
Hanabusa's comment elicited guffaws from the crowd, but she went on to clarify that she was talking about the state budget.
"I think Gov. Lingle, seriously, Gov. Lingle has cut that budget as much as she can. She has cut it," Hanabusa said. "You've got a Republican governor -- believe me, this is an opportunity of a lifetime -- to come in here and cut government. I'm talking about the state. We don't have any more to cut."
'OUT OF CONTROL'» Paid for by: Djou for Hawaii
» Where it's running: Local TV; started Sunday
» Claims: State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua) does not believe there is waste in government, based on a comment from a January candidate forum: "I can tell you right now, in government I don't think there's waste, per se."
Djou spoke next but did not criticize her comment at the time.
"You're not going to hear anybody on this panel, nor, I would imagine, you're ever going to find a politician argue: I am pro government waste. I like government waste. I think that's a good idea," he said. "My philosophy always is: The best way to ensure that there isn't money for government to waste is to make sure they don't get the money in the first place."
Hanabusa's campaign is calling the Djou ad "deceptive" and "a clumsy attempt to mislead the public with a quote taken grossly out of context."
"Sen. Hanabusa was talking about the state budget, and followed up her statement by defending Gov. Lingle -- a Republican -- for her budget cuts," campaign spokesman Richard Rapoza said. "We want this campaign to be about real issues and fair comparisons, not cheap shots."
Djou's campaign is standing by the ad, saying the quote is being referenced in the same way it was reported by news media at the time. In a statement, Djou noted that Case also attacked Hanabusa along similar lines.
"The voters of Hawaii know that government at all levels needs to be reformed to be more responsible, efficient and accountable," Djou said. "I believe that city, state and federal government can all be more efficient. This is something my opponent does not understand. She wrongly believes that government is as efficient as it's going to get."