The president of a California manufacturers group on Monday elevated the fight over job-creation in the U.S. Senate race by likening Democrat Barbara Boxer's treatment of businesses to the barbaric behavior of the Huns.

Jack Stewart, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, announced that his group was endorsing Republican candidate Carly Fiorina. He said it was the first time the association representing 30,000 California manufacturing and technology companies has endorsed a federal candidate.

During a stop with Fiorina at Ace Parking in San Diego, Stewart said Boxer has been a disaster during her three terms in the Senate. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also backed Fiorina as she began a two-day tour of California to highlight her business record.

"Today, Barbara Boxer treats business much like the Huns treated the cities of Europe as targets of plunder and pillage," Stewart said. "We need a leader in Washington, D.C., who's going to stand up for the businesses of Californians. And it's not just the businesses you're standing up for; it's the employees you're standing up for."

The Huns, thought to be a confederation of tribes from Europe and central Asia, invaded Europe during the fourth and fifth centuries. Their most feared ruler was Attila the Hun, who ruled during the fifth century and has been nicknamed the "Scourge of God."

Boxer's campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski dismissed the comparison as a way to distract from Fiorina's business record while she led Hewlett-Packard Co. from 1999 to 2005. Boxer visited a Los Angeles elementary school on Monday to praise federal legislation expected to be taken up in the House this week that would help save up to 16,500 teacher jobs in California.

"This is just more over-the-top rhetoric from Fiorina supporters to try to distract voters from Carly Fiorina's dismal record on jobs," Kapolczynski said in a statement. "She laid off 30,000 workers and shipped jobs overseas while taking perks for herself as CEO of Hewlett-Packard."

As California struggles with a 12.3 percent unemployment rate, the Boxer campaign has been promoting clean-technology jobs and federal stimulus spending, while Fiorina's campaign has attacked Boxer for failing to protect small businesses and manufacturing jobs.

Boxer has been endorsed by the heads of Oracle Corp., Cisco Systems and Google, among other technology companies.