VIDEO: Sen. David Vitter’s Own 47 Percent Moment


Video taken by YouTube user Fireezdragon (Courtney C Horne)

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) appeared at a town hall in a local library in East Baton Rouge Parish on Thursday, where he made some news by saying he favored a complete shutdown of the US government over funding Obamacare.

Near the end of the event, Vitter responded to a audience member’s criticism of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, with a comment of his own that veered awfully close to Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” moment, when he said at a private fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans were Obama-loving government mooches who wouldn’t take responsibility for their lives.

Here’s what Vitter had to say in response to a questioner’s criticism of Obamacare:

The only thing I’d add is, I wish you were right that nobody wants Obamacare; that’s not true. And in fact, the other side, who absolutely wants it, most of whom are getting something for nothing, came out in droves for the last election and our side sat at home.

Vitter didn’t expand on what he meant by “getting something for nothing”—free health care? Free food? Free Obamaphones?—but the gist was clear enough. By “the other side,” he means Obamacare supporters and also those people, most of them Democrats, who voted for President Obama last November. These Obama backers, Vitter seems to say, are mostly deadbeats living off the government.

There’s been plenty written about how accusing Democrats of being government leeches, as Romney and now Vitter have, isn’t fair or accurate. These kinds of comments also ignore the fact that Republicans rely on the welfare state, too. A recent Bloomberg News analysis found that Romney won 213 of the 254 counties in the United States where the number of food stamp recipients doubled from 2007 to 2011.

In Louisiana alone, 914,196 people receive food stamps. That’s 20 percent of the state’s population. Does Sen. Vitter think all of those people are Obama-loving government mooches?

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate