Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, who courted conservative controversy with a video short showing the sometimes racist views of toothless Mississippi rednecks, has enraged liberals with a second video: New York welfare recipients.
But Alexandra Pelosi admits it wasn’t easy getting the video on television. “All the people I work with at HBO, all the people I grew up with, said, ‘You can’t put that on TV.’
“Somehow [I was] allowed to do it to the toothless rednecks, but when it was our neighbors, it was wait a second, they got defensive,” she told Bill Maher on his HBO show, “Real Time.”
The people Pelosi interviewed at a welfare office on New York City’s 14th Street, admit they don’t want a job, and support President Barack Obama “because he gives me stuff,” and “because he’s black.”
One man smokes and drinks Budweiser through a straw as he stands on line. He laughs as he admits to having five children by four different mothers. He tells Pelosi, “I’m here to get a check … whatever they’ve got to offer, it’s not like they’ve got a checklist … I’m just here to get what I can get.”
Pelosi was attacked by conservatives for being selective in the people she depicted in her video from Mississippi. One man in that video said, “This is America, our president should be American, not Muslim.”
Alexandra Pelosi, the youngest of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s five children, admitted to Maher that she didn’t have to go far to speak to the people she called “freeloading welfare queens,” as the office is “right downstairs from where I live.”
She asks one man, “Why should I help you? Why should my tax dollars be going to you?” He responds, “Only because my ancestors came here to help build this place – my ancestors, the slaves.” He said the last time he worked was “half a decade” ago, and he wasn’t looking for a job – “maybe a career, but not a job.”
Another said he was on welfare “because of my background. Once you go to jail, it’s hard to get a job.” The only white person she interviewed, a young woman, said she was there to get food stamps. “It’s just food,” she said.
Pelosi said the film showed the entitlement culture is causing problems for the party her mother leads in the House. “We have to address the fact that this is why Democrats are losing ground. And this is a problem in America. The entitlement culture has gotten so big that we are losing our own people,” she said.
The Emmy-nominated documentary maker also predicted outrage among her fellow liberals, saying she expected “a left-wing feeding frenzy” about her report.
Reaction to the video was swift.
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly said he would find a way to put the father-of-five in jail. He said Pelosi’s film showed “a subculture that says, ‘Look, I’m a victim, you owe me, and I’m going to support this president because he will deliver a bigger gift than the other guys will.’ ”
His guest on “The O’Reilly Factor,” political analyst Juan Williams said, “What we have to do is say, ‘You work in this country, this entitlement thing is a total bunch of baloney and it kills you.’ It hurts families, it hurts children, and children are the ones who really bear the brunt.
“We say you’ve got to work if you’re on welfare.”
But The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates attacked Pelosi. “There is nothing noteworthy about offending ‘both sides,’ a feat that can be managed simply by relieving yourself on a crowded street." he wrote.
“That a person who would use journalism to render whole geographies as cartoons would journey to friendlier environs and pull the same vapid trick should be expected. If your work doesn't actually acknowledge people as full human beings, there's no real reason – short of naked racism – why you wouldn't deploy the white toothless hoarder as a weapon, with the same zeal that you would deploy the black layabouts and drag-behind.”
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