Obama Fires Back Against Mitt Romney’s Campaign of Welfare Lies

Last updated on February 8th, 2013 at 02:53 pm

That didn’t take long. Mitt Romney has been running a series of none-too-factual ads, his welfare for work ads earning him a Pants-on-Fire from PolitiFact and Four Pinocchios from the Washington Post Fact Checker. Just today Romney expanded his ad blaming Obama for an ad by PAC Priorities USA, as if Romney is taking responsibility for the multitude of PAC ads his side is running against President Obama.

Mr. Romney has been operating within the conservative echo chamber for too long, and apparently thought he was running against John Kerry, when he is in fact running against a Bill Clinton meets JFK President Obama. Mitt Romney, meet President Obama:

The narrator says, “Mitt Romney says he wants to run on the issues. But these are the ads he’s running.”

Roll tape of Romney campaign claiming Obama has gutted welfare reform, “you wouldn’t have to work, you wouldn’t have to train for a job, they just send you a welfare check.”

Then to the pundits, including Republicans, calling Romney’s charge a pants on fire lie.

The ad ends with “Mitt Romney, take your own advice.”

PolitFact notes that the Health and Human Services Department’s changes in policy are meant to encourage employment. Furthermore:

Romney’s ad says, “Under Obama’s plan (for welfare), you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.”

That’s a drastic distortion of the planned changes to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. By granting waivers to states, the Obama administration is seeking to make welfare-to-work efforts more successful, not end them. What’s more, the waivers would apply to individually evaluated pilot programs — HHS is not proposing a blanket, national change to welfare law.

The ad tries to connect the dots to reach this zinger: “They just send you your welfare check.” The HHS memo in no way advocates that practice. In fact, it says the new policy is “designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.”

The ad’s claim is not accurate, and it inflames old resentments about able-bodied adults sitting around collecting public assistance. Pants on Fire!

Old resentments, you say? Mr. Romney is nothing if not old resentments. It would be cruel and unusual punishment for anyone to expect Republicans to shift from dog whistles to real issues mid course. Obama the first half black president is giving away welfare to the “lazy” people — Vote white, never mind the policies!

FactCheck also calls it false:

Work requirements are not simply being “dropped.” States may now change the requirements — revising, adding or eliminating them — as part of a federally approved state-specific plan to increase job placement.
And it won’t “gut” the 1996 law to ease the requirement. Benefits still won’t be paid beyond an allotted time, whether the recipient is working or not.
Romney’s ad also distorts the facts when it says that under President Obama’s plan “you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job.” The law never required all welfare recipients to work. Only 29 percent of those receiving cash assistance met the work requirement by the time President Obama took office

The Washington Post gave Romney’s welfare for work ad Four Pinocchios, though they noted that the Obama administration should have consulted with Congress before making any changes.

I’m not sure if the WaPo realized just which Congress they were talking about, but this one, this dysfunctional Tea Party Congress, can’t get even the most simple work accomplished. They have shown themselves incapable of agreeing on aid for drought stricken farmers, incapable of dealing with the post office, and so out of touch with reality that they refused to raise the debt ceiling to pay their own party’s debts. This is the congress that has voted against their own ideas so consistently that it’s become impossible to say what they stand for, other than their stated goal of destroying Obama. They’ve made it clear that they didn’t come to DC to work. They came to avoid doing anything that would help this country. Running the most benign legislation past them is asking for war.

I’m all for limited power, but when the President wants to give more power to the states in regard to welfare reform, and the legislation clearly doesn’t allow for “no work”, this seems a desperate attack.

Mitt Romney had high hopes that he could co-opt Bill Clinton for his side, thusly showing himself inaccurately to be a moderate Republican. He tried to use his welfare for work ad to do just that, but Bill was having none of it. The former President said, “Governor Romney released an ad today alleging that the Obama administration had weakened the work requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. That is not true.”

It’s perhaps unfair to call Romney a far right radical social conservative, for he changes by the minute. We don’t know what he is. He is on tape saying he’s for the personhood amendment, which would end access to birth control and invitro, but now he retroactively won’t admit he said that. He was for gay rights and now he’s not. He was for the individual mandate, now he’s not.

He’s been sparse on actual policy, thinking he could ride the “hate Obama” bus to the White House, but it turns out that Americans don’t hate Obama. Republicans hate Obama, but Republicans are not the majority of Americans. And certainly NOW, post-Tea Party House, the shrinking GOP tent has even further deflated. Then Romney went and married the “intellectual” leader of that House. The House with the super low approval ratings, led by the Republican members like Paul Ryan.

Mr. Romney can’t be tied to much, except his deceptions and deflections. He won’t show us the tax returns, the Olympics records, and his records from his (some say half term) as governor were destroyed when he left office (by him). We just don’t know what he’s about, but we do know that he’s all for corporations and not for people (aka, a “fiscal conservative” these days).

This position is rather unpopular right now, so instead of discussing his smarmy attempt to win hearts and minds with “corporations are people my friends”, Mr. Romney has chosen to go negative, right into the culture war gutter. Welfare! Get it?

To which, I note, 51% of welfare recipients are white and the majority come from red states (aka, conservative Republicans).

Yes, Mitt Romney is the victim here, even as his multi-million dollar PAC supporters run specious ads against the President. It’s tough out there for Mr. Romney, even though he has raised more money, has more corporate backers, and has the full support of the plutocrats. See, he has no personality with which to hide his policies. Mr. Romney is no George W. Bush; he is a victim of his own inadequacies.

Mr. Romney thought he could go full throttle negative and it would work on the American people. He thought you didn’t care about anything but how much you hated Obama. In case you forgot how much you hate him, Mr. Romney is here to remind you that Obama is black. Welfare! Heh-heh. Eh? It’s a real winner.

Rarefied air Romney isn’t used to being questioned, and so we are being treated to his wounded huff of “how dare you call me out on what I said” via a relentless series of accusations. Yesterday this entailed him going off the rails in Florida with a plaintive complaint against Obama’s campaigning, “It’s smear, it’s dirt, it’s distortion, it’s deception it’s dishonesty. It diminishes the, it diminishes the office of the presidency itself.” Immediately proceeding this, Mr. Romney launched into a series of lies about how Obama is cutting Medicare, as if suddenly Mr. Romney were for Medicare. But then, he was in Florida, so of course, in Florida, he’s for Medicare.

This is the same Romney who blamed the President for holding Romney accountable for saying he supported the radical Personhood amendments that make abortion illegal even in the case of rape or life-threatening medical problems.

It’s just outrageous that this President thinks he can campaign for office just like a Republican. He’s fighting back and everything. Who is going to tell him that he isn’t entitled to do that; he’s supposed to sit back and take it like a good boy.

Only I’m afraid President Obama is just getting warmed up. Buckle up, Mr. Romney. You’re about to get into the ring with the Master.

Sarah Jones

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