Georgia Republican Senate hopeful David Perdue knocked his one of his opponents for having only graduated high school and not college — suggesting the issues facing the country were of too great a magnitude for someone with that background to handle.
Perdue’s remarks in the video, first posted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, were made in January in Bibb County, Georgia.
Perdue was speaking about the national debt when he knocked Karen Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state and another contender for the Republican Senate nomination, for her education background.
“I mean, there’s a high school graduate in this race, OK? I’m sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex,” Perdue said. “There’s only one candidate in this race that’s ever lived outside the United States. How can you bring value to a debate about the economy unless you have any understanding about the free enterprise system and how — what it takes to compete in the global economy?”
Handel has a high school degree, but did not complete college — something she openly admits. According to the biography on her campaign website, Handel “left an abusive home when she was 17, finishing high school and entering the workforce.” Perdue, on the other hand, has a degree in industrial engineering and a masters in operations research from Georgia Tech.
In a statement to the AJC, Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey said Perdue was “simply making the case that he is the most qualified person in this race to help get our economy back on track so that we can start paying down the massive federal debt. His comment was based on facts that are a matter of public record.”
Handel’s campaign pushed back on the remark.
“It is disappointing that David would demean someone who—by no fault of her own—moved out of an abusive home at age 17, and with her own hard work and determination, is the embodiment of the American Dream,” Handel campaign manager Corry Bliss said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller.
“Karen is an example of how, with great perseverance and sheer will, the circumstances under which you grow up do not dictate your ability to succeed,” Bliss added. “While David boasts about all the time he spent living in Europe and Asia, and all of the millions of dollars he intends to spend on this race, this election is about who conservatives can relate to and trust to get results in the United States Senate.”
Handel served as the deputy chief of staff for Perdue’s cousin, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.