Livable wages, health care lectures: The most striking 6th District debate moments

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Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff prepare to debate ahead the June 20 runoff for the 6th Congressional District seat, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

There were plenty of telling exchanges Tuesday during the 6th District’s first and only live televised debate between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff.

There were the “how dare you” moments focused on preexisting conditions, as well as Handel’s infamous dealings with Planned Parenthood as vice president of public policy at the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

And then there were the press release moments: the ones that both campaigns will seize on in the hours ahead as examples of why their opponents are unworthy of elected office.

Handel’s came when Ossoff charged that the former secretary of state “sees fit to impose her own view on Georgians’ health care decisions,” a reference to her stint at Komen and views on abortion. The issue has become one of the race’s starkest dividing lines. 

“She imposed her own views and cut off funding for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood,” Ossoff said.

Handel’s response was swift, emotional yet forceful:

“I have been working on women’s health issues for nearly my entire life,” Handel responded.

“I will not be lectured by you or anyone else,” she added.

Watch it here:

One of Ossoff’s big breaks came later in the evening, when the debate moderator asked both candidates whether they supported raising the minimum wage.

“This is an example of the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative: I do not support a livable wage,” Handel said. “What I support is making sure we have an economy that is robust, with low taxes and less regulation.”

Handel’s point was that with less government intervention, small businesses would be able to create more jobs that were better paying. Democrats were quick to seize on the gaffe.

Within the hour, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was out with a press release with the subject line, ‘Karen “I don’t support a livable wage” Handel Reveals True Colors.’

Read more debate coverage:

6th district candidates debate national issues, avoid Trump

The two ‘how dare you’ moments from last night’s Sixth District debate 

Who won the 6th District debate? A few hot takes

Georgia 6th: Special interests dump cash in race ahead of debate


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