New Romney ad: Obama gutted welfare reform

Aug. 7, 2012 at 3:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney took President Obama to task on welfare reform in a new ad Tuesday.

In the ad, Romney and the Republican National Committee say Obama has gutted the landmark law requiring people receiving public assistance to work which was signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1996.

"Mitt Romney will restore the bipartisan reforms to welfare and move our country in the right direction," a release issued by his campaign said in describing the ad, "Right Choice."

In July, the Obama administration issued a directive to allow individual states to experiment with changes to their federally funded welfare-to-work programs. The intent was to challenge states to come up with innovative ways to help families find work.

The welfare-to-work program affected by the directive -- the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families -- was created by the welfare reform law signed by Clinton, CNN said.

The Obama administration maintains that the potential changes would help people move more quickly from welfare to work by reducing burdensome requirements. White House spokesman Jay Carney said after the directive was issued that suggesting Obama was gutting welfare-to-work programs was false.

The voiceover in Romney's ad says, "Under Obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check."

In a memo Tuesday, Romney's campaign Policy Director Lanhee Chen said Romney has remained consistent in supporting work requirements for welfare recipients, CNN reported.

"Because Massachusetts had implemented reforms of its own shortly before the federal reforms of 1996, it was actually exempt from many of the federal requirements when Romney took office as governor," Chen said in the memo. "But nevertheless, facing an overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature in one of the most liberal states in the country, Romney vetoed efforts to weaken work requirements and he pressed repeatedly to instead strengthen them and bring them in line with federal standards."

During the daily press briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney called the ad "categorically false and it is blatantly dishonest."

"This administration's policy will strengthen the program by giving states the opportunity to employ more effective ways to help people get off welfare and into a job. ... The ad is particularly outrageous as Governor Romney himself with 28 other Republican governors supported policies that would have eliminated the time limits in the welfare reform law and allowed people to stay on welfare forever," Carney said.

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