Apparently backing out of political debates after a humiliating performance is a theme in 2020.
This week, Georgia Senator David Perdue went up against his opponent, John Ossoff, in the candidates' second debate and thoroughly got his you-know-what handed to him. In a response reminiscent of an Aaron Sorkin scene, Ossoff used his time with the mic to drag the senator for his COVID-19 response and federal investigations for insider trading.
"It's not just that you're a crook, Senator," Ossoff said. "It's that you're attacking the health of the people you represent. You did say COVID-19 was no deadlier than the flu. You did say there would be no significant uptick in cases. All the while, you were looking after your own assets and your own portfolio. And you did vote four times to end protections for pre-existing conditions."
"And the legislation that you tout‚—the Protect Act" Ossoff went on, "it includes loopholes that specifically allow insurance companies to deny policies to Georgians with pre-existing conditions."
"Can you look down the camera and tell the people of this state why you voted four times to allow insurance companies to deny us health coverage because we may suffer from diabetes or heart disease or asthma or have cancer in remission?" he added.
Senator Perdue been real quiet since he got dragged for mocking @KamalaHarris’ name. He literally said 😶😶😶😶. https://t.co/Nxk1MBTt4C— Meena Harris (@Meena Harris) 1603942411.0
It's clear from the uncomfortable shifting and "Oh crap" look on his face that Perdue understood how deep the doo-doo was that he was standing in. But it's really Ossoff's pauses that hit the sweet spot, as he took his time and let those pesky ol' facts sink in for the viewers at home.
This wasn't the only clip of Perdue being dunked in his own self-made stew at the second debate. Ossoff also called him out for behaving "beneath the office of a U.S. senator" for his anti-semitic and anti-Muslim attacks on him. (Ossoff is Jewish, not Muslim, but that didn't stop Perdue from hitting both of those targets, in addition to an anti-Chinese attack. It was like a xenophobic trifecta.)
"First, you were lengthening my nose in attack ads to remind everybody that I'm Jewish," Ossoff said. "Then, when that didn't work you started calling me some kind of Islamic terrorist. And then when that didn't work, you started calling me a Chinese communist. It's ridiculous. And you shouldn't do everything your handlers in Washington tell you to do because you'll lose your soul along the way, Senator."
Sen. David Perdue is a man without vision or integrity. Instead of leading and inspiring, he stoops to mocking th… https://t.co/VVs5zA66UI— Jon Ossoff (@Jon Ossoff) 1603931180.0
As a reminder, Perdue was the senator who has worked with Kamala Harris in the Senate since 2017, and has even served on committees with her, and yet acted as if he didn't know how to pronounce her name in a campaign speech. "Ka-MAL-a, Ka-MAL-a or Kamala, Kamala, Ka-mala, -mala, -mala, I don't know, whatever," he said, to laughter from the crowd.
Perdue apparently wasn't thrilled with being repeatedly skewered on television and backed out of the third debate the very next day.
BREAKING: Senator Perdue just cancelled our final debate. At last night's debate, millions saw that Perdue had no… https://t.co/B9GSBrFrW9— Jon Ossoff (@Jon Ossoff) 1604006826.0
So what will the senator will be doing instead? He'll be joining Donald Trump at one of his rallies, of course. After all, the best way to prove to your constituents that you really do care about their health is to participate in a potential superspreader event in the midst of an uncontrolled novel virus pandemic.
Gotta say, the guy does stay on brand.
Ossoff and Perdue are statistically tied in the race for the Senate, with both Senate seats in tight competition this election. Once a Republican stronghold, Georgia appears to be shifting as more voters head to the polls than ever before.
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