Maine’s tea party-backed governor suggested during a conservative gathering last week that nearly half the state’s residents who could work do not.
Gov. Paul LePage said he had two points to make last week when he was told the gathering in Falmouth, Maine, was about to end.
His first point consisted only of the word “energy,” but then LePage began sketching out a point about “workplace development.”
“About 47 percent of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don’t work,” LePage said.
One woman in the audience loudly called out, “What?”
“About 47 percent,” LePage repeated. “It’s really bad.”
Audience members grumbled and agreed that such a scenario was bad.
But it’s also not accurate.
According to Maine’s Department of Labor, about 65 percent of residents over 15 years old are working or unemployed and actively seeking work.
The remaining 35 percent are nearly all retired or caring for children or other family members, while others are pursuing education or training or have a disability that prevents them from working.
LePage’s comment was remarkably similar to a remark made by 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who suggested 47 percent of Americans were dependent on the government and saw themselves as victims.
Romney’s remarks were recorded on video and are frequently cited as a factor in his eventual defeat by President Barack Obama.
LePage says he plans to run for re-election next year.
Watch a recording of LePage’s remarks uploaded to YouTube by Bangor Daily News:
[Image via YouTube]