Eager to make the most of the state's deep blue tilt, Democrats are already tying Lingle to Sarah Palin -- whom Lingle introduced at the 2008 Republican National Convention -- and George W. Bush. For her own part, Lingle said the attacks are "ineffective, cookie-cutter kinds of attacks," noting that in past campaigns, she has been compared to national figures including Bush and Newt Gingrich. When asked specifically whether she would have voted for House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's budget proposal that was put to a vote in Congress earlier this year, Lingle did not provide a straight yes or no answer, saying that she has not read the bill. "I haven't read Paul Ryan's bill, but I can tell you as an individual, I don't spend money I don't have," she said. While she was critical of the president's overall approach to jobs, she said she has not read the jobs proposal Obama is trying to get passed in Congress right now. When pressed about her position on the debt compromise that passed and was signed into law over the summer, Lingle said she would have voted to raise the debt ceiling at that time. One thing working in Lingle's favor: Hawaii is not a straight ticket voting state, meaning voters cannot just make one mark on the ballot to vote for every candidate of a party. But that's no comfort for Republicans who know that the eventual Democratic nominee will get the full-fledged support of national Democrats, including the president himself. And while Democrats are tying Lingle to Republican figures from outside Hawaii, she may have to worry more about how her local record is perceived, as she left office with a less than stellar approval rating.
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