Cory Booker plans to live off food stamps for one week
Newark Mayor Cory Booker speaks to the audience at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 4, 2012 on the first day of the Democratic National Convention. / Getty
Following an exchange on Twitter with a self-described "Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR), fighting against any and all forms of socialism/communism," Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker plans to live off food stamps for one week.
Booker's office did not immediately confirm the plans to CBS News. But this afternoon, the mayor was tweeting his plans to go forward with a week-long "food stamp challenge."
Booker, who's prolific on Twitter, on Sunday tweeted out a quote from Plutarch: "An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics." That set off a wave of discussion, including one tweet asking, "So you want to redistribute wealth???" Another respondent was "Twitwit," who at one point wrote that "nutrition is not a responsibility of the government." Booker responded, "We have a shared responsibility that kids go to school nutritionally ready 2 learn."
Booker eventually challenged "Twitwit" to experience what people on food stamps are going through. "Lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month. U game?" After "Twitwit" - the aforementioned Daughter of the American Revolution who identifies as an "Army Veteran, Army Daughter, Army Wife" - said yes, Booker wrote, "We will have to get a referee - DM me your number so we can see if we can work out details." He also tweeted, "Lets film it and see how we do."
"Twitwit" said Monday she has not yet heard from the mayor. "I havent received any information from the Mayor re: the challenge..," she tweeted. But Booker appeared to be working on making arrangements. The University of Bridgeport in Connecticut already had a food stamp challenge in the works for early December, and it offered to referee for Booker and provide rules; via his Twitter account Monday afternoon, Booker asked the university to send him a phone number so he can call to get the details.
The food stamp program is now known as "SNAP," or The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and it says it puts "healthy food on the table for more than 46 million people each month." The University of Bridgeport's "SNAP Food Challenge," which takes place from December 2-9, encourages people to "find out the challenges of living on the same budget as those who receive the SNAP Food Benefit."
The rules mandate that only $35 be spent per person for the week on food, and that all food purchased or eaten during the week be included in that total spending. The maximum SNAP benefit in Connecticut is $200 per month for a single-person household or $367 per month for a two-person household; the benefit amount varies state by state.
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