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A week after he said he'd "outsourced" numerous products and services as a business executive — and one day after he denied ever having outsourced a job — Georgia Republican Senate candidate David Perdue called the issue a "distraction" Monday and refused to answer NBC News' questions about the apparent contradiction.
Perdue has been hammered by his Democratic opponent, Michelle Nunn, for alleged outsourcing at Dollar General Corp., where he was chief executive until 2007.
"A lot of people are critical about this outsourcing idea, but the issue is, at Dollar General, for example, we created almost 20,000 jobs in a very short period of time, and we outsourced all of the products and services we sold in the stores," Perdue told NBC News last week. In a debate with Nunn on Sunday morning, he flatly said, "No," when he was asked whether he'd ever outsourced a single job.
Perdue canceled an interview Monday with NBC News, citing a schedule logjam. But reporters were able to reach him at an airport hangar in Atlanta after a campaign event Monday night.
"What this is is another distraction to the people of Georgia away from the critical issue, and that is that the ... policies of this administration are not producing jobs here at home," Perdue said as he headed for a car.
Asked three times by NBC News whether he had ever outsourced jobs, Perdue refused to answer, saying only that he was "energized" by the support he'd received during the campaign,
Then he got into the car and was driven off.