Karen Handel's comment that she doesn't support a "livable wage" during a debate with Democrat Jon Ossoff on Tuesday night in Georgia later had the Republican backtracking and attempting the clarify the statement.
Handel, the state's former secretary of state, is taking on Ossoff for the U.S. House District 6 seat race left open when Tom Price left to become Secretary of Health and Human Service in the Trump administration.
The exchange in question happened when the candidates were asked if they supported an increase on the minimum wage.
"The minimum wage should be a living wage," Ossoff responded. "I think we raise the index to the cost of living because the cost of living varies widely in urban and rural areas in different states across this country. …"
Handel appeared to try to seize on Ossoff's "living wage" comment in her response to the question, noted the Huffington Post.
"I do not support a livable wage," Handel said in response. "What I support is making sure we have an economy that is robust with low taxes and less regulation, so that those small businesses that would be dramatically hurt if you imposed higher minimum wages on them are able to do what they do best: grow jobs and create good-paying jobs for the people of the Sixth District."
While predictable attacks came from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Party, much of it also came from social media.
Handel clarified the comment with WSB-TV, saying that she opposed the government getting involved in growing salaries.
"I was talking about the mandate," Handel told WSB-TV. "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.”
"I really believe that the solution to helping insure that all hard-working Georgians can make a good salary is not through mandates. My opponent believes that government should mandate and dictate."
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