She said in a statement: "The private sector creates good paying jobs when we have a robust economy with lower taxes and less regulation".
Then a little more than halfway through, while talking about the minimum wage, Handel made the comment about a livable wage.
Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff will meet again Thursday morning for their second and final confirmed showdown ahead of Georgia's 6 District runoff, and both are hoping to energize their supporters while trying to avoid an embarrassing gaffe.
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.
Prodding Ossoff's residence - he and his fiancée live just outside the district while she attends medical school - Handel said: "I've been in Georgia nearly as long as you've been alive". In her own words, Handel, who has enjoyed campaign support from none other than Paul Ryan, stated that she does "not support a livable wage". Republicans already have won special House elections this spring in Kansas and Montana. The comments were made when the Georgia Republican was asked about her position on minimum wage, a subject that has become a hot-button political issue in recent years.
During the debate, Jon Ossoff addressed criticism he has faced for not living in the 6th District himself - he lives near Emory University to support his fiancee, who is in medical school.
Mr Ossoff had said he wants an increased minimum wage plan to be "implemented at a pace" that gives small businesses time to "adjust their business plans".
Ossoff and Handel have tried for weeks to downplay the national significance of their contest, insisting the contest is about Georgia voters.
"Look, if somebody's working a 40-hour workweek, they deserve the kind of standard of living that Americans expect", Mr Ossoff added.
Handel repeatedly cast Ossoff as a tool of "the most liberal elements of the Democratic Party", and mentioned House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, about a dozen times.
Ossoff counters that he's an "independent voice" and will "work with anyone" in Washington. He said it's Handel who is the partisan rubber stamp.
If Ossoff does win the seat, it will send a big message to Republicans in Congress that they should be anxious about Trump. Handel has raised money with Trump.