Sen. David Perdue says he's upset the media didn't hold Ossoff 'accountable' for humiliating him at their Oct. 28 debate.
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) once again refused this week to attend a debate with Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff prior to the Jan. 5 run-off election.
According to a Newsweek report, Perdue and Ossoff were both asked to attend a Dec. 6 debate at the Atlanta Press Club. Perdue rejected the invitation.
Ossoff's attack on Perdue's record on the pandemic and allegations of insider trading against him — which he has denied — went viral after the last debate between the two men. On Monday, the Georgia senator blamed the media for "fail[ing] to hold him accountable" for what he claimed were repeated "lies" in that debate.
"We've already had two debates in this election," the statement from his campaign read. "In each, Ossoff lied repeatedly, and of course the media failed to hold him accountable. He refused to talk about the issues and could not defend his radical socialist agenda."
He added, "If Ossoff wants to keep lying to Georgians on TV, he will have to use his out-of-state money to pay for it. We're going to take our message about what's at stake if Democrats have total control of Congress directly to the people."
The campaign has offered no further explanation for Perdue's decision to opt out of the event. But it's not the first time the senator has bowed out of a debate with his opponent.
Perdue skipped out on the pair's final debate just days before the election after the video of Ossoff calling him a "crook" at the Oct. 28 debate went viral.
In the video from the event, Ossoff attacked Perdue's botched handling of the pandemic and the widespread accusations of insider trading that have plagued his campaign.
"Perhaps Sen. Perdue would have been able to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic if you hadn't been fending off multiple federal investigations for insider trading," Ossoff said at that time. "It's not just that you're a crook, Senator. It's that you're attacking the health of the people that you represent."
On Sunday night, Ossoff ramped up criticism of Perdue after retweeting a CNN report about Perdue's decision to skip the latest debate.
"David Perdue isn't just a crook — he's a coward too," Ossoff wrote in an accompanying tweet Sunday night.
He also retweeted another announcement about Perdue's failure to attend the December debate.
"Looks like Sen. David Perdue is too much of a coward to debate me again," Ossoff added on Twitter Sunday. "Perdue can’t defend his lies about COVID-19, self-dealing stock trades, his bigotry, or his votes to take away Georgians’ health care. Senator, come on out and try to defend your record. I’m ready to go."
In another tweet, Ossoff referred to his opponent as "David 'empty podium' Perdue."
In a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Press Club also conveyed its disappointment about Perdue's absence.
"The Atlanta Press Club's Loudermilk-Young Debate Series is disappointed that Sen. David Perdue has decided to not participate in his debate. Jon Ossoff has confirmed his participation, so according to our rules, we will proceed with the debate and Sen. Perdue will be represented by an empty podium," the statement read.
But, the statement noted, Perdue could change his mind and attend at any time.
In a tight race that is part of Democrats' only remaining path to flip to the Senate, Ossoff has been hitting the campaign trail hard as he travels across the state speaking and hosting socially distanced meet-and-greets.
Perdue, on the other hand, missed his own campaign rally last week, claiming he was working on coronavirus relief for Georgians. Instead, the senator was spending his time on Capitol Hill ramming through Trump's judicial picks before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.