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GOP Senate candidate: I ‘spent most of my career’ outsourcing

Businessman David Perdue (R) said he spent “most of [his] career” outsourcing, comments that may haunt him in his Senate battle against Democrat Michelle Nunn (D).

Perdue’s comments were made in a 2005 legal deposition regarding Pillowtex, a failed textile company where he was CEO for nine months.

{mosads}The businessman was asked to describe his “experience with outsourcing.”

“Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that,” Perdue responded, according to a transcript first obtained by Politico.

He then detailed his career, including stints at Haggar Clothing, Sara Lee and then Gitano. Purdue mostly used the term “sourcing” rather than “outsourcing,” which is focused on creating jobs and moving manufacturing overseas.

“Sourcing was my primary responsibility in both of those locations,” he said of his time in Singapore and Hong Kong working for Sara Lee and Gitano. Perdue said he helped Sara Lee outsource because “you had significant advantages in costs of goods there compared to what Sara Lee was doing domestically.”

Sara Lee has a large number of employees in Georgia.

Perude spokeswoman Megan Whittemore argued that Perdue “was talking about outsourcing operations and products, and not jobs” in the deposition.

Perdue also discussed his tenure at Pillowtex, a North Carolina textile company that was in bankruptcy when he took over in 2002 and folded shortly after he left it in 2003. He said he was brought in to lead “a turnaround strategy around sourcing and marketing.”

Perdue has touted his experience as a “job creator” in his campaign and used his personal wealth to fuel his Senate bid.

Both Nunn and Perdue’s primary opponents, though, have used his business record against him throughout the campaign.

A recent Nunn ad attacked him over Pillowtex, arguing that Perdue profited while the company floundered.

“Thousands lost jobs but Perdue made millions,” a recent Nunn ad said. “David Perdue: his world doesn’t include you.”

“Throughout his career, David took on tough business challenges in an effort to save American companies and jobs,” said Whittlemore. “He also grew companies like Dollar General where he created 20,000 new jobs and opportunities for American workers.”

The deposition indicates Perdue wasn’t given the full picture when he took the job, and wasn’t told about huge unfunded worker pensions. Dollar General offered him a job six months later, which he took in March 2003. Pillowtex closed that July, laying off more than 7,000 workers.

At the time most of the domestic textile industry was on the ropes, struggling to compete with foreign importers.

Perdue has held a small lead over Nunn in most public and private polling. If neither candidate reaches 50 percent in the election, they will face off in an early January runoff.

This story was updated at 3:11 p.m.

Tags 2014 Georgia Senate Race David Perdue Georgia Michelle Nunn Pillowtex Corporation
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