David Perdue speaks during a forum in Atlanta, Jan. 27, 2014.
John Bazemore/AP

Perdue’s concession: ‘I spent most of my career’ outsourcing

Updated
The nation’s jobless rate keeps dropping, but on a state-by-state level, progress can vary quite a bit. Indeed, when it comes to unemployment at the state level, Georgia ranks 50th out of 50 states, which has created at least some appetite for political change in the Peachtree State.
 
But for Senate hopeful David Perdue (R), the challenge is taking advantage of this appetite given his professional background. We learned several months ago about Perdue’s private-sector background, which includes significant job losses through outsourcing, on top of factory closings, consolidations, and reduced work hours at U.S. facilities.
 
The Republican candidate didn’t exactly deny what his business practices had been, and was actually fairly candid about the American job losses he helped orchestrate. Perdue told msnbc’s Benjy Sarlin, “To politicians who have never been in a free enterprise system this sounds really easy. It is anything but easy. It’s very messy.”
 
A new Politico report just made things even messier.
[D]uring a controversial chapter in his record — a nine-month stint in 2002-03 as CEO of failed North Carolina textile manufacturer Pillowtex Corp. — Perdue acknowledged that he was hired, at least in part, to outsource manufacturing jobs from the company. Perdue specialized throughout his career in finding low-cost manufacturing facilities and labor, usually in Asia.
 
During a July 2005 deposition, a transcript of which was provided to POLITICO, Perdue spoke at length about his role in Pillowtex’s collapse, which led to the loss of more than 7,600 jobs. Perdue was asked about his “experience with outsourcing,” and his response was blunt.
 
“Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that,” Perdue said, according to the 186-page transcript of his sworn testimony. The Georgia Republican then listed his career experience, much of which involved outsourcing.
It’s possible, if not likely, that Perdue can offer a defense for his outsourcing background from the perspective of a businessman. His decisions were very likely the result of making tough calls about profit margins and fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders.
 
But as Mitt Romney can probably attest, when Americans – especially those in the state that ranks 50 out of 50 in unemployment – are looking for an economic boost, they may well be reluctant to turn to a guy who “spent most of his career” outsourcing jobs.
 
Indeed, the Democratic plan in Georgia has been to basically run the anti-Romney playbook against Perdue, characterizing him as an out-of-touch and callous elitist.
 
Rachel’s segment on this in August still rings true.
 
Recent polling shows Perdue leading Michelle Nunn (D), but it remains close and revelations like those released today probably won’t help the Republican’s case.
 
The Rachel Maddow Show, 8/28/14, 10:47 PM ET

Middle class voices boost political ad clout

Rick Tyler, former director of the “Winning Our Future” superPAC, talks with Rachel Maddow about the effective use of middle class, working Americans in political advertisements, like those being run by Michelle Nunn against David Perdue in Georgia.

David Perdue and Georgia

Perdue's concession: 'I spent most of my career' outsourcing

Updated