During a Tuesday night debate, Georgia Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel made a controversial comment about minimum wage, a comment that almost immediately went viral. In her own words, Handel, who has enjoyed campaign support from none other than Paul Ryan, stated that she does “not support a livable wage.” The comments were made when the Georgia Republican was asked about her position on minimum wage, a subject that has become a hot-button political issue in recent years.
As CNN reports, Karen Handel described her stance on a livable wage as one of the fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives, adding that she simply does not support legislation that forces employers to adhere to a government-mandated minimum wage.
“This is an example of a fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative. I do not support a livable wage.”
The Georgia Republican went on to say that she has a completely different idea regarding how to ensure a thriving American (or at least Georgian) economy. Not surprisingly, Handel’s economic Utopia is one that is lax when it comes to government oversight and regulation, not to mention that the Republican candidate wants to see those taxes kept low.
“[I want] an economy that is robust with low taxes and regulation.”
While Karen Handel attempted to soften the blow of her initial comment about not supporting a livable wage with a disclaimer involving less taxes and regulation, her words quickly went viral.
After her comments went viral, Democrats from Georgia and across the country were quick to pounce on Handel’s ideology. Not to mention sharing the debate clip of the Republican candidate openly saying the seemingly damning words “I do not support a livable wage” far and wide. The organization Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee cited Karen Handel’s comments in widely circulated email sent out to their followers on Wednesday.
“Even after 15 years running for office, Karen Handel couldn’t resist admitting she’s against a livable wage.”
The U.S. Democratic Party took to Twitter to call out Handel, calling her scathing wage-related debate response “indefensible.” According to Tom Perez, the DNC chairman, the Georgia Republican’s words have definitively proven that Karen Handle “has no business being in Congress.”
During the debate, Karen Handel’s opponent, Democrat Jon Ossoff, had a completely different answer to the minimum wage question.
“Someone working full time should earn a decent standard of living.”
He even took to Twitter to rub his Karen Handel’s viral debate gaffe in her metaphorical face, attempting to gain as much political traction as possible from her viral blunder, reports Talking Points Memo.
As WSBTV 2 reports, congressional candidate Karen Handel has attempted to do some damage control in the wake of the controversy her “livable wage” comment has caused. The Georgia Republican spoke with a local reporter outside her campaign headquarters late Wednesday afternoon, and there Handel attempted to clarify what she meant when she said that she doesn’t support a livable wage.
According to Handel, she didn’t mean that she opposes her constituents earning a livable wage. Rather, Karen Handel explained that she doesn’t want to see wages lifted by way of government mandates. In clarifying her earlier comments, Handel tried to make it clear that it was the government mandate that she opposed, not the dollar amount of any minimum wage.
“I was talking about the mandate. My opponent believes that having more federal government mandates is what will grow salaries. What I believe is the solution for all working Georgians to be able to earn a better salary.”
In responding to his opponent’s explanation for her earlier comments, Jon Ossoff says that he is hopeful that Handel’s original words during the debate clearly illustrated the difference between her political ideology and his own.
Back in April, Ossoff nearly won the Georgia congressional special election outright. He managed to snag 48.1 percent of the vote, just shy of the 50 percent he needed to take the seat in the traditionally Republican-controlled district — a seat ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich held for two decades.
Currently, Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel and her Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff are polling nearly neck-and-neck for the seat, with the special election scheduled for June 20.
[Featured Image by David Goldman/AP Images]