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The Truth About The Obama Phone

By Judd Legum on September 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm

"The Truth About The Obama Phone"

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On Thursday, the Drudge Report splashed a video of an undentified woman who claims to have recieved a free “Obama Phone.”

The video has captured the attention of the right online, who see it as proof that Obama supporters are dependent on government. On his show today, Rush Limbaugh weighed in:

So these are the people that don’t like Romney because of what he said about 47%? No, these are the 47%!… She knows. She knows how to get this free Obama phone. She knows everything about it. She may not know who George Washington is or Abraham Lincoln, but she knows how to get an Obama phone.

Thousands of conservatives are on Twitter, telling jokes about the #ObamaPhone.

There is one problem with the Obama Phone: It doesn’t exist.

Since 2009, there has been an urban myth that Obama created a program to provide free phones to low-income Americans at taxpayer expense. There is, in fact, a government program that will provide low-income people with a free or low cost cell phone. It was started in 2008 under George W. Bush.

The idea of providing low-income individuals with subsidized phone service was originated in the Reagan administration following the break-up of AT&T in 1984. (It was expanded and formalized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.) The program is paid for by telecommunications companies through an independent non-profit, not through tax revenue.

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