Maine Gov. Paul LePage told a conservative women's group last week that "about 47% of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don’t work.” When questioned by someone in the crowd, LePage repeated the claim.
The recording was obtained by Mike Tipping, communications director for the left-leaning Maine People's Alliance and a blogger for the Bangor Daily News. Tipping has been rolling out excerpts from the recording over the last two weeks.
As Tipping notes:
Currently, around 65% of Mainers over the age of 15 are working or are unemployed and actively seeking work. Of the remaining 35%, almost all are retired, are caring for children or other family members, are pursuing education or training or have a disability that prevents them from working. Only a tiny fraction aren’t working for other reasons. The conservative Heritage Foundation, using U.S. Census data, puts this number at 1.1% nationally.LePage is well-known in Maine for his outrageous off-the-cuff remarks, and is gaining recognition nationally for his inability to filter his comments. Last year, LePage said that "middle management of the state [employees] is about as corrupt as can be" and at the Maine Republican Convetion told able-bodied people to "get off the couch and get yourself a job" (video).
LePage is up for re-election in 2014, and faces two prominent challengers: Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat who represents Maine's 2nd District, and unenrolled Eliot Cutler, who lost to LePage by less than 2% in 2010.