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Published:February 15th, 2009 11:11 EST
Henrietta Hughes Draws Support And Ridicule

Henrietta Hughes Draws Support And Ridicule

By Robert Paul Reyes

At President Barack Obama`s recent town hall meeting in Ft. Myers, Fla, a middle-aged African American woman took the microphone. Henrietta Hughes didn`t ask a policy wonk question, instead she made an impassioned plea for financial assistance. "I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in," she said. "The housing authority has two years` waiting list, and we need something more than the vehicle and the parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our bathroom. Please help."

President Obama was visibly moved, he gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Millions of American were also touched by her plight -- here was the symbol of our collective grief. Hughes represents the typical American who is suffering from the worst economic slump since the Great Depression.

One woman in particular was moved by the plight of Hughes:

"Thursday morning, Chene Thompson handed Henrietta Hughes the keys to her home in Hendry County. Thompson is the wife of State Representative Nick Thompson (R-District 73). Hughes and her son will live at the home rent free."

I`m not going to judge whether Chene acted out of compassion or political expediency, but the bottom line is that Hughes and her adult son will now be living rent free in a nice home.

Does Hughes really represent the average hardworking American who pays his taxes, plays by the rules, and is asking for government aid out of desperation?

"A local organization is coming forward saying Hughes isn`t being honest about how much help she`s had in the past.

The director of We Care Outreach Ministry, Tanya Johnson, says just last month she offered Henrietta Hughes permanent housing and a place to stay free for three months, but Hughes refused.

Johnson says she also gave Henrietta and her son Corey, money, food and offered Corey job training courses, but it was refused."

As recently as three years ago Hughes had $47,000 in the bank from the sale of her home; she has a history of accepting government handouts. I, along with millions of other hardworking Americans are suffering as a result of the economic meltdown, but Hughes doesn`t represent us.

Hughes doesn`t represent honest and hardworking folks who feel ashamed asking for a handout. Hughes is a symbol of those who feel entitled to government aid, and expect Uncle Sam to do everything for them.

Barack Obama is the antithesis of Henrietta Hughes, he reached the pinnacle of political success because of his intelligence, wisdom, and hard work ethic. Obama shouldn`t have fallen for Hughes` sob story.

Maybe I would have fallen for Hughes` histrionics if she didn`t look like she`s never missed a meal in her life.