Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel are locked in a tight battle to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who represented Georgia's 6th district before being appointed to President Trump's Cabinet.
Handel and Ossoff appeared in a televised debate Tuesday, and the debate had a few defining moments. But depending on which side of the aisle you're on — and which social media accounts you follow — you might think either candidate won one particular exchange.
Handel sought to stump Ossoff by asking him who he plans to vote for in the upcoming special election on June 20. It sounds like a simple question on its surface, but Ossoff doesn't have a simple answer because, well, he can't actually vote for himself. That's because he doesn't live in Georgia's 6th district but instead lives a few miles away. (Worth noting: It's not actually a legal requirement in Georgia that members of Congress live in the district they represent — just within the state.)
In the past, Ossoff has struggled to answer questions about running outside his home district. And if you subscribed to conservative social media feeds Tuesday, you might have come out of it thinking he was flustered and unable to answer. A short video made the rounds on Twitter, seemingly showing Ossoff looking down, forlornly, not speaking.
And in that form, it's an effective meme — a video that seems to definitely show that Ossoff can't justify running in the 6th district, and can't even come up with response. Conservatives reacted gleefully. One Twitter user remarked, “Tfw you get called out for not living in the district you're running in and you have NO ANSWER.”
Tfw you get called out for not living in the district you're running in and you have NO ANSWER pic.twitter.com/k0fDnQbDqn
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) June 7, 2017
But if you instead subscribed to liberal-leaning social media feeds, you would have seen a different story. A longer cut of the moment in question shows Ossoff looking down to take notes, with a notepad on his lectern, seemingly formulating his answer before speaking. He reacts somewhat dismissively to Handel's question, casting it as petty and unimportant, then goes on to say that he was “born and raised in Georgia,” unlike Handel, who was born in D.C. Finally, he turns Handel's argument around on her, saying she should be focused on political issues.
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) June 7, 2017
Another user turned Ossoff's dismissive reaction into a meme:
Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo (who has engaged in other liberal causes) even weighed in, saying, “Well spoken!” in response to Ossoff's answer.
How do we rise up above pettiness and actually help people that are really concerned. https://t.co/hAT31jxlmG
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) June 7, 2017
So who really won the exchange? In this case, it seems to depend on whose social media feeds you follow.