Maine governor claims ’47 percent of able-bodied’ Mainers don’t work

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) claimed last week that nearly half of Mainers who are able to work do not do so.

"About 47 percent of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don't work," LePage said at a conservative meeting, according to a recording posted by the Bangor Daily News. "About 47 percent. It's really bad."

The blogger who posted the clip is an employee of the Maine People's Alliance, which is backing LePage's Democratic challenger, Rep. Mike Michaud, in their 2014 matchup.

LePage's 47 percent figure was quickly likened to Mitt Romney's damaging comment during the 2012 presidential campaign that 47 percent of Americans are reliant on government.

It is not clear where LePage is getting such a figure. Maine's unemployment rate is actually below the national unemployment rate. In August, it was 7.0 percent, according to official state labor statistics, with 65.3 percent of all Mainers currently part of the labor force.

LePage is one of the most vulnerable governors in the country in 2014 and is no stranger to controversial statements. Earlier this year, he used a crude metaphor involving Vaseline while denouncing a Democratic lawmaker.

Michaud and independent candidate Eliot Cutler, who finished second to LePage in 2010, are both running.

Michaud responded on his Facebook page:  "Those aren't the Maine workers I know. I worked for 29 years at Great Northern Paper Company, and I know that Maine workers are some of the hardest working in the world. They take pride in their work and they deserve a governor who will take pride in them! It’s time we have a governor who will lift Maine up and be a champion of this state, not put it down with misinformation and attacks."

A LePage adviser has yet to comment.

Updated at 4:33 p.m. to reflect the blogger's affiliation with the Maine People's Alliance. 

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Politics

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Next Story
Juliet Eilperin · October 21, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.