Romney’s welfare-to-work attack on Obama not quite accurate, experts say


McClatchy has the story Romney’s welfare-to-work attack on Obama not quite accurate, experts say. Quite a headline when in fact what Romney claims is the exact opposite of the truth.  One might even go so far as to say that the exact opposite of the truth is called a lie in many circles.  I don’t know about McClatchy.

The Republican presidential campaign aired a 30-second television spot leveling the charges, and Romney built on them at a campaign event in Illinois, extolling the 1996 welfare reform act as “one of the greatest bipartisan successes we’ve seen” and telling the crowd that Obama “has tried to reverse that accomplishment by taking the work requirement out of welfare.”

A former Republican staffer and staff director of the committee that helped draft the bill may make the most believable case against Romney.

Ron Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Institution Center on Children and Families and a former Republican congressional committee staff director, said he believes the administration erred in not reaching out to Congress before it made the change. But he called Romney’s assertion “clearly an overstatement.”

Haskins, who was staff director on the committee that helped draft the House bill that eventually resulted in the legislation Clinton signed, pointed out that contrary to the ad’s claim, the Obama administration’s offer of waivers “doesn’t do some broad overhaul.”

States would have to apply for the waiver and each state requesting a waiver would be required to show how the new approach would either “increase employment or lead to better employment,” Haskins said.

“If you just read the words (of the policy) it’s a reasonable kind of provision,” he said.

And Haskins noted that it would be to the states’ advantage to keep caseloads low, “so the idea that they’re going to use these waivers to bring all kinds of cases onto their rolls, it really doesn’t make sense.”

Then there is one former Governor of Massachusetts, coincidentally also called Mitt Romney.

Administration officials noted that in 2005, 29 Republican governors – including then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – requested similar authority.

“Perhaps (Romney’s) argument is with his past self,” White House spokesman Jay Carney suggested.

How desperate is Romney to make charges against the administration that are almost instantly proven to be false?  I know there is a propaganda theory about the big lie, but this time the press seems to actually be awake.

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