Steve Cooley and Kamala Harris duked it out during their first and only debate in the race for California Attorney General. Republican L.A. District Attorney Cooley painted Harris as soft on crime and somewhat of a bleeding heart liberal who's opposed to the death penalty.

Harris, his Democratic counterpart in San Francisco, had Cooley as anti-green and anti-gay (Cooley has said he would defend Prop. 8, something the current A.G., Jerry Brown, has refused to do).

Cooley's introduction of Harris' soft stance on the death penalty, however, seemed to dominate the match and it appeared to put the San Franciscan on the defensive.

The L.A. D.A. pointed to the widow, mother and sister of a slain San Francisco Police Officer, Isaac Espinoza,as supporters in the audience.

“The reality of it is I am personally opposed to the death penalty,” Harris said, “but I will follow the law.”

Harris said Cooley has dragged his feet on endorsing environmental regulations that would make California a greener state. “The next attorney must be vigorous to take on criminals who pollute our environment, and I will do that,” she said.

On Prop. 8, Cooley seemed cornered. “It should be defended by the attorney general whether the attorney general believes in it or not,” he said.

The debate at UC Davis came on a day that the Los Angeles Times endorsed the Angeleno for A.G.

[San Jose Mercury News]

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LA Weekly