Uncategorized Hirono, Lingle differ on value of the president’s jobs initiative By Derrick DePledge Oct. 23, 2012 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! FL MORRIS / firstname.lastname@example.org Moderator Keahi Tucker of Hawaii News Now, left, addressed former Gov. Linda Lingle and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono on Monday prior to their debate at the HNN studios in Kalihi.FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARADVERTISER.COM Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono said Monday that she supports President Barack Obama’s jobs initiative to help spur economic recovery, but former Gov. Linda Lingle said it would further expand the national debt. In their final U.S. Senate debate before the November election, Hirono said Obama’s plan would put people to work repairing the nation’s highways, harbors and other infrastructure but has been blocked by Republicans. "This is a bill that the Republicans in the Senate have held back for over a year," Hirono, a Democrat, said at the one-hour forum sponsored by Hawaii News Now and the Star-Advertiser. Lingle, a Republican, said Obama’s jobs initiative would add another half-trillion dollars to the nation’s $16 trillion debt. "That’s just not fair to the younger generations," she said. "It’s really theft from the next generation when you spend money today that is not going to benefit them, but they are going to have to pay for it." While the debate focused on the economy, tax policy, Medicare and other issues that have separated the candidates during the campaign, it also brought out a few topics that had not been fully discussed at previous forums. Lingle said she personally believes marriage should be between a man and a woman but favors putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot for Hawaii voters to decide. She took a similar position as governor when she vetoed a civil-unions bill in 2010. "It’s something that I’ve wrestled with — President Obama has wrestled with it. I would certainly support putting this constitutional amendment on the ballot," she said. Hirono said that "marriage equality is a constitutional right." She said it was insensitive for Lingle to invite gay and lesbian leaders to the state Capitol on the day she announced her veto of the civil-unions bill. "They thought that she was going to sign that bill into law, and instead, right in front of them — the very group that had worked so hard to pass this legislation — she vetoed that bill," she said. "I thought that was extremely insensitive and disrespectful of their position." Hirono said the nation needs to wean itself off fossil fuels and questioned investments in "clean coal" technology to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants. "The national Republicans — and I know that my opponent is on the page with them — would just continue to drill, baby, drill," she said. Lingle, who as governor helped to develop the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuel, said the nation should look at options such as clean coal, natural gas and oil drilling. Lingle supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, which Hirono opposes. "She doesn’t support the development of America’s own resources," Lingle said. "This is going to be critically important for us going forward, because as the cost of energy rises, it tends to dampen any economic growth that we can have as a nation. And we especially need it now during this period of recovery." Asked for a political hero they admire, Hirono named President Franklin Roosevelt, while Lingle cited President Abraham Lincoln. Asked what they admire in each other, they both noted that they each care for elderly parents — Hirono’s mother, Lingle’s father. Lingle acknowledged that she misspoke in a May 2002 speech to the state GOP convention when she described President George W. Bush as the "greatest president." Lingle, who had denied ever making the remark at a debate last week, said she meant to say at the time that Bush was a "great president" for his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The debate, moderated by Hawaii News Now’s Keahi Tucker, was the fifth between Hirono and Lingle. Following the themes of the previous four forums, Hirono depicted Lingle as another Republican vote in the Senate who would obstruct the Hawaii-born Obama and remove U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Lingle dismissed Hirono as a risky choice with no record of accomplishment or leadership. "Congresswoman Hirono has used the word ‘Republican’ more than 100 times in our previous debates because she thinks that’s reason enough to elect her over me," Lingle said. "Her strategy shows a lack of respect for the voters of Hawaii. "You know me. I’m the same independent person you twice elected governor." But Hirono said Lingle has proved to be a "cheerleader" for more conservative national Republicans. She said the Hawaii Senate campaign has national importance because the political control of the Senate is in the balance. "That is what is at stake in this election," she said. "It is bigger than just me and Linda Lingle. It is about the direction of our country."