Outside the New York City Department of Social Services office in downtown Brooklyn this week, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's name didn't inspire debate, as much as indifference and occasional anger.
As hundreds of Brooklynites filed in and out of the center, mainly to schedule appointments and receive food stamps, they were in no mood to talk politics, or to declare support for Romney or President Barack Obama. They simply wanted to get in and out, so they could get back home to their families or their jobs.
Among more than 30 people who did speak with The Huffington Post on Wednesday and Thursday morning outside the Human Resources Administration offices, only two said they had even heard Romney's speech in a recently released video, in which he told donors at a private fundraiser that 47 percent of the country was "dependent on government" and relies on Obama's administration for handouts.
In fact, they didn't want to talk about Romney, period, as most seemed to have disregarded the candidate altogether.
"Didn't hear it, don't care," said one man in a wheelchair, who did not wish to be named.
"F*** that guy," said a young woman with an 8:30 a.m. appointment to receive food stamps. "That's all I have to say. F*** anyone who wants to help the rich and not help the poor."
"Not interested in that man," said a bearded, older man smoking a cigarette who also declined to be named. "Just not interested. I don't want to make a big deal about it, I'm just not interested," he repeated.
Mildred Peña, a mother of four in her 30s who had heard pieces of Romney's remarks, said there was "no reason" why anyone in her position would support someone like Romney.
"Forty-seven percent of Americans are lazy and dependent? How are you going to make a comment like that?" Peña said. "I'm no victim. Sometimes people are in a situation where they need help. Like look at me right now. I just got into a situation where I have to get food stamps, I just became unemployed. I'm not lazy, it's just hard to find a job out there. It's hard."
Peña said she now spends her days looking for a job that pays the same amount as her previous one at a telephone customer service company.
"I want a job," she stressed. "Of course I want a job."
According to a recent Gallup Poll, 34 percent of Americans with incomes under $24,000 -- many of whom might be served by similar programs as the ones offered at the NYC Department of Social Services -- say they support Romney, while 58 percent support Obama.
The next poll will likely reflect whether or not Romney's leaked comments have affected those voters, or whether the comments pushed voters further in Obama's favor.
In July of 2012, 1,837,299 million people received food stamps in the New York City area, 351,116 received cash assistance, and just over 3 million were enrolled in Medicaid, according to the New York City Department of Social Services.
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