According to a campaign update sent out this morning by Mitt Romney’s spokeswoman Andrea Saul, the Romney campaign is going to be spending the week “discussing President Obama’s actions gutting welfare reform.” To that end, this morning, they released a new television ad pitting President Barack Obama against President Bill Clinton by accusing him of destroying the 1996 welfare reform plan enacted by President Clinton “and a bipartisan Congress.”
“In 1996, President Clinton and a bipartisan Congress helped end welfare as we know it by requiring work for welfare. But on July 12th, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements,” a narrator says in the ad. “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 and welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare.”
A press conference call was also scheduled by the Romney campaign for later this morning featuring Tea Partier and Texas’ likely next senator Ted Cruz and Mr. Romney’s senior advisor Ed Gillespie discussing “President Obama’s dismantling of bipartisan welfare reforms.”
The accusation President Obama is eliminating welfare reform focuses on a directive issued last month by the Department of Health and Human Services that allowed states to apply for waivers lowering the requirements for people to qualify for assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. These requirements include things like job training programs and attendance in secondary school.
In the past, the Obama administration has argued the HHS directive was driven by requests from the state. This morning, Ben LaBolt, the Obama campaigns secretary, countered the new Romney ad by sending out a Huffington Post article, which noted Mr. Romney supported similar policies as governor of Massachusetts. The story also pointed out “Republican states sought the waiver policy” and “the Republican Governor’s Association asked Congress for even broader welfare waivers in 2005.” President Obama initially opposed President Clinton’s welfare reform plan, but changed his mind on the subject in time for the 2008 election.
Watch the Romney campaign’s new ad below.