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Ed Gillespie Downplays Struggle Of Living On Minimum Wage

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Ed Gillespie on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Ed Gillespie on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Ed Gillespie downplayed the difficulties of living on the minimum wage in a video of the Republican Senate candidate speaking to voters in Virginia Beach.

"A minimum wage job is where you learn to get to work on time. It's where you learn the great feeling at the end of a week of getting that paycheck, of knowing you gave an honest week's work. It's where you learn the social aspects of work," Gillespie said in a video recorded by a Democratic tracker and obtained by the Richmond, Virginia NBC affiliate. "It's where you play on the work softball team or go out for a beer after work."

The former Republican National Committee chairman, who said he didn't support the federal minimum wage, said that most minimum wage workers aren't heads of households. He said lawmakers should "find a way to help" those struggling to make ends meet on a minimum wage salary "without destroying their jobs and the other 97 percent of [non-household-heading] minimum wage earners' jobs as well."

Though few may head households, most minimum wage workers live in households that make less than the national median income, around $50,000 annually.

Gillespie, trailing in the polls against Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, also cited a Congressional Budget Office report that said raising the minimum wage nationwide to $10.10 an hour could result in a loss of 500,000 jobs, though the report has been controversial. A new study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, for instance, shows that states in which the minimum wage increased saw higher job growth.

While many states have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and some cities and companies are raising their minimum wages, an effort to do so nationally has stalled in Congress.

UPDATE: Though Gillespie said in the above clip, "I don't support a federally mandated minimum wage," his campaign contacted HuffPost to say that Gillespie does support it, pointing to a recent MSNBC appearance in which he said he was against repealing federal minimum wage laws. A spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request to explain the inconsistency.

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