Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Tuesday that he agrees with Maine Gov. Paul LePage's (R) suggestion earlier this week that any unemployed welfare recipient who is "able-bodied" needs to "get off the couch" and get a job.
"If folks are just, you know, on the welfare ride for the sake of [the] welfare ride, you bet. You know, Governor LePage has got it spot on," Perry told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren, after saying that governors needed to implement the proper policies to stimulate job growth in their states.
Asked by Van Susteren if such a suggestion might be insulting to the unemployed, considering the struggling economy in many areas of the United States, Perry accused the federal government and Obama administration of killing jobs and repeated his claim that governors could work to counter those losses. One way they could do this, Perry said, was by using LePage's brand of encouragement.
"But the idea that a governor is cajoling folks to, you know, get out there and get involved in the workforce -- you know, there may be some folks that are offended by that. I'm not."
While Perry was happy to applaud LePage's message -- and his own record of job creation, which has some serious blemishes of its own -- the reaction to it from some in Maine has been much less positive.
Christine Hastedt, public policy director at Maine Equal Justice Partners, said LePage's comments were "a gross insult to working people who get up every day and become discouraged by the end of the day, because there's not a job for them."
"We talk to people every day," Hastedt told The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel. "There are not enough jobs for the people who want them. There aren't enough hours in the jobs for people who need them. These are jobs that don't provide health care, and certainly don't provide child care. Those are services that people need to get even the jobs that they could get. Nevertheless, he's cutting those safety net benefits that make it possible for people to work."
UPDATE: 5/10/12 -- LePage spokesman Adrienne Bennett contacted The Huffington Post to clarify that LePage was talking about unemployed welfare recipients, not all unemployed individuals. This article has been updated to reflect the distinction.
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