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Obama would destroy economy, Lingle says


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POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gov. Linda Lingle, who leaves this week for a second round of campaigning for the Republican presidential ticket, says the economic plans of Democratic candidate Barack Obama “;would devastate our economy.”;

Lingle, who introduced Gov. Sarah Palin at the GOP national convention and is a strong defender of the Republican vice presidential pick, has high praise for the Alaska leader.

Speaking to Star-Bulletin editors and reporters last week, Lingle called Palin “;intelligent, fearless and genuine.”;

“;That is why she has connected to people as she has. It is the most amazing phenomenon to watch. ... She is a very down-to-earth person,”; Lingle said.

Asked about Palin's comment that Obama “;has been palling around with terrorists,”; in reference to Obama knowing William Ayers, a 1960s radical in the Weather Underground, Lingle said it is important.

“;Talking about who a person associates with is certainly appropriate for a campaign,”; Lingle said.

“;I think who you associate with is valid,”; she added, noting that Republican candidate John McCain “;drew a distinction”; between criticism of Obama and Ayers and the controversy with Obama's former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Obama was a child when the Weather Underground was active, and the Illinois U.S. senator has denounced Ayers' previous radical activities.

On the economy, an early pledge by Obama to consider tax increases only on anyone making at least $250,000 also concerns Lingle. She said that could hurt small-business owners in Hawaii.

“;We are a state of small businesses. He calls them rich. In Hawaii we have 22,000 business that would fall in this category,”; Lingle said.

Hawaii's first Republican governor in 40 years also criticized Obama for not suspending his campaign when McCain suspended his to vote on the economic bailout bill in Washington earlier this month.

“;Obama should have done this when the crisis developed,”; Lingle said. “;Only in government can you be seen as erratic when you make good, quick decisions.”;

Obama had called McCain “;erratic”; in part for temporarily halting his campaign while going to Washington to vote.

Local Obama state coordinator Andy Winer said yesterday that Lingle should not be on the national campaign trail.

“;At a time when Hawaii is facing a significant budgetary and economic crisis, Gov. Lingle should be at home working with business and political leaders to address our economic problems instead of spending significant time out of state campaigning,”; Winer said.

Today, Lingle is in Denver for the ceremony for the striking of the first Hawaii quarter, featuring the statue of King Kamehameha, but will later hit the campaign trail for McCain.

Lingle is expected to make three campaign appearances for McCain and Palin in Las Vegas tomorrow before flying to Cincinnati for a debate with Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Lingle and Boxer will participate in the Jewish Community Relations Council presidential forum Thursday.

Lingle is then expected to return to Honolulu, but her office says she might make another national campaign trip before the Nov. 4 general election.