The Campaign Spot

Here’s What Inspires the GOP’s ‘Entitlement’ Perception

Gee, where would Republicans like Mitt Romney get the notion that about 47 percent of the electorate “believe that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing”?

Just one woman, right? Unfortunately, no:

A multistate identity theft scam that claims President Barack Obama will pay your utility bills appears to have widened.

According to MSNBC.com, more than 2,000 customers in Tampa, Fla., fell for the fake offer last week.

The scheme was first reported in May, when Dallas-based Atmos Energy warned its 3 million customers in 12 states that scammers had been asking for Social Security numbers to enroll in the faux federal program. According to the pitch—distributed via email, Facebook, text message, phone and, in some cases, door-to-door sales—the government would pay a month of energy costs through credits offered by the Obama administration.

PSE&G, the New Jersey gas and electric delivery utility, issued a similar warning the same month. According to MSNBC, there were 10,000 reported victims in New Jersey in recent weeks, and thousands more in North Carolina, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

The offer even includes a fake Federal Reserve bank routing number for those who enroll, and solicits “success stories” to pass along to friends online.

According to the Lehigh Valley Morning Call, some residents said that their duped neighbors were enlisted to spread the offer. “My neighbor comes running with a paper that had a routing and account number,” Caroline Morales of Bethlehem, Penn., told the paper. “She said Obama was helping people pay their utility bills, mortgage and any bills you had.”

This MSNBC article describes “tens of thousands” falling for the scam. Here’s another article about the scam in Florida, where “about 4,500 customers have tried to use false bank information provided by the scammers to pay their utility bill.”

This sort of scam only works if there is a significant pool of people who find it completely plausible that the federal government, and this president, would pay their utility bill for them.

Then, of course, there’s he anecdote about Detroit’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program from 2009. “Rumors [of] $3,000 stimulus checks from the Obama administration spurred heavy turnouts” — some put the number at 35,000Rush played local radio interviews with the people on line:

ROGULSKI: Why are you here?

WOMAN #1: To get some money.

ROGULSKI: What kind of money? 

WOMAN #1: Obama money. 

ROGULSKI: Where’s it coming from? 

WOMAN #1: Obama. 

ROGULSKI: And where did Obama get it? 

WOMAN #1: I don’t know, his stash. I don’t know. (laughter) I don’t know where he got it from, but he givin’ it to us, to help us. 

WOMAN #2: And we love him. 

WOMAN #1: We love him. That’s why we voted for him! 

WOMEN: (chanting) Obama! Obama! Obama! (laughing)

Folks in the media are asking, “How could he say this?” Folks on the Right, who see a growing dependency mentality sucking away the nation’s drive, work ethic, and independence, are asking, “How could he say this only behind closed doors?

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