By Greg Bluestein, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(CNT) City News And Talk #atlanta-ga
Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue inadvertently sparked a movement that benefited his rival’s campaign when he mocked the pronunciation of Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ name.
Perdue delighted the crowd Friday at President Donald Trump’s rally in Macon when he butchered the California senator’s name multiple times, saying: “Kamala? Kamala? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever.”
But the repeated mispronunciation, which his campaign claimed was not purposeful, competed for media attention with Trump’s remarks in Georgia and led to searing criticism on the airwaves and the campaign trail.
By Saturday evening, Democrat Jon Ossoff revealed he raised more than $1 million from at least 42,000 donors from Perdue’s viral moment. And the #MyNameIs hashtag trended on Saturday as social media users shared the meaning of their names — along with criticism of Perdue.
Among the Georgians who penne letters to Perdue panning his remarks was Kumar Krishnan, a Johns Creek resident who sharply reminded the Republican that voters from diverse backgrounds won’t soon forget his comments.
“Need I say, when you insult someone’s identity, you risk alienating many others?”
Top Georgia Democrats joined the fray, while Perdue’s Republican allies largely steered clear of the issue. Stacey Abrams brought it up at a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Fla., accusing Perdue of using “racist tropes.”
It also could generate more media attention on Sunday, when Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff makes stops in Atlanta and Cobb County to stump for Georgia Democrats.
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Perdue, who has served in the U.S. Senate with Harris since 2017, tried to move past the controversy and shift to a favorite attack line at a campaign stop Saturday in Statesboro. He told reporters he meant “absolutely no disrespect” to Joe Biden’s running-mate.
“My role in this is to point out the differences in what their agenda is and what our agenda is,” he said. “A lot of Democrats will do or say anything right now to hide their radical, socialist agenda.”
Though both Democrats and Republicans have mispronounced Harris’ name – the correct way to say it, she says, is “comma-la” like the punctuation mark — critics say the intentional mangling of her name is an effort to portray the senator as un-American.
The fallout, meanwhile, has continued unabated on social media – even damaging innocent bystanders. where critics of the former Fortune 500 chief executive hounded the Twitter account of Perdue Chicken, a poultry giant with no direct ties to the Georgia lawmaker.
“I can assure you that David Perdue has no affiliation with the Perdue brand,” read the company’s responses.