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Jon Ossoff, a Democrat running against Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks during a rally on Nov. 15, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. (AP) Jon Ossoff, a Democrat running against Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks during a rally on Nov. 15, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. (AP)

Jon Ossoff, a Democrat running against Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., speaks during a rally on Nov. 15, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher November 20, 2020

David Perdue opposes Biden but didn’t say he’d do everything to ensure he fails

If Your Time is short

  • Perdue hasn’t made any specific comments about Biden or wanting to see him fail.  

  • The Perdue statements cited by Ossoff’s campaign are about blocking the Democratic agenda, which Perdue has called extreme.

  • Perdue has said he would help block the Democratic agenda and suggested he would force negotiation.

Jon Ossoff, the Democrat challenging Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., went extreme in describing Perdue’s opposition to President-elect Joe Biden.

The documentary filmmaker faces the first-term senator in one of the two Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia that will decide which party controls the Senate.

Ossoff made his attack in a TV ad released Nov. 17 that raises the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Look, the only way to beat this virus is to give our new president the chance to succeed. I'll work with Joe Biden to empower the medical experts to rush economic relief for families and small businesses and invest in infrastructure to jump start our economy," he said, looking into the camera. "But David Perdue says he'll do everything in his power to make sure Joe Biden fails, just like he tried to do with President Obama."

Perdue and Georgia’s other senator, Republican Kelly Loeffler, who faces Democratic pastor Raphael Warnock, are portraying themselves as a "last line of defense" against Democrats.

We did not find evidence that Perdue has gone as far in his public statements as Ossoff claims, although Perdue clearly is campaigning as a candidate who can block the Democratic agenda.

RELATED: PolitiFact fact-checks and articles about the Georgia runoffs

An Ossoff news release announcing the ad, referring to the attack on Perdue, links to an Atlanta Journal Constitution news story. The story is about a Nov. 13 campaign appearance by Perdue and Loeffler, which the newspaper said was Perdue’s first of the runoff campaign. 

The story’s headline, quoting Loeffler, said: "‘We are the firewall.’ Senate Republicans prepare to make a stand in Georgia." But the story does not quote Perdue making any comment about Biden. 

When we contacted Ossoff’s campaign, spokeswoman Miryam Lipper said, "Perdue says and implies on a regular basis that he needs to be a block on the Democratic agenda." 

She cited three recent statements by Perdue:

  • The Georgia Senate seats serve as "the last line of defense against this liberal socialist agenda the Democrats will perpetrate."

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  • Ossoff and two other Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, "want to radically change our country. Sign up now to help (Loeffler) and I stop their dangerous agenda!"

  • "The Democrats want total control so they can force their dangerous agenda through Congress with no negotiation. I need your help to stop them." 

None of the statements mentions Biden.

"To our knowledge, Senator Perdue has not made any comments about a potential Biden presidency, or how he would react to it in any context," Perdue campaign spokesman John Burke told us.

Perdue has focused his criticism on other Democratic leaders, including Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of New York.

"Their plan?" a Perdue video says. "Increase taxes. Defund the police. Pass the Green New Deal. Open the borders. .... Eliminate private health insurance….. And pack the Supreme Court."

Biden does not support defunding the police, open borders, or eliminating private insurance. He’s also expressed reservations about the Green New Deal and packing the Supreme Court,. He’s said he would increase taxes only on the wealthy. 

At the same time, it’s clear Perdue would be part of Republican efforts to thwart Biden’s agenda.

If Ossoff or Warnock loses, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell would continue as Senate majority leader and "likely would prevent many of Biden's legislative priorities from enactment and block his judicial nominees from confirmation," said Zachary Peskowitz, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. 

But if Ossoff and Warnock win, creating a 50-50 split, he said, the prospects for Biden's priorities "would improve dramatically" because Kamala Harris, as vice president, could break tie votes in the Senate.

Our ruling

Ossoff claimed that Perdue "says he'll do everything in his power to make sure Joe Biden fails."

We found no record of Perdue making such remarks about Biden. Perdue is campaigning as a final block against the Democrats’ agenda, but Perdue has focused on others in the Democratic Party such as Schumer and Ocasio-Cortez.

We rate Ossoff’s claim Mostly False.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.

Our Sources

YouTube, Jon Ossoff "Succeed" ad, Nov. 17, 2020

Jon Ossoff campaign, news release, Nov. 17, 2020

Email, Jon Ossoff campaign spokeswoman Miryam Lipper, Nov. 18, 2020

Email, David Perdue campaign spokesman John Burke, Nov. 18, 2020

David Perdue campaign, video, Nov. 13, 2020

Email, Zachary Peskowitz, political scientist at Emory University, Nov. 19, 2020

CNN, "Georgia Sen. David Perdue declines to debate opponent ahead of January 5 runoff," Nov. 15, 2020, updated Nov. 16, 2020

Twitter, David Perdue tweet, Nov. 17, 2020

Twitter, David Perdue tweet, Nov. 15, 2020

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David Perdue opposes Biden but didn’t say he’d do everything to ensure he fails

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