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Once again, Romney falsely attacks the President on welfare

“Blatantly False.” “Wildly Misleading.” “False.” “Nonsense.” “Widely Debunked.” “Dubious Claim.” “Mind-Boggling.” “Huge and Shameless Deception.” “Pants on Fire.”

Those were just some of the reactions to Mitt Romney’s first ad that falsely accused President Obama of dropping welfare-to-work requirements. But Romney—evidently undeterred by the facts—has released a second ad repeating the same false charge, even though it’s already been thoroughly debunked by fact-checkers and widely criticized as intentionally misleading.

Here’s how Romney’s false welfare attack ads are being received across the country:

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

“The presumptive Republican presidential nominee wants voters to conjure images in their minds of freeloading moms sitting on couches watching big screen televisions. And he wants voters to think the president is helping them do just that. Then there is reality.”
—Des Moines Register: “Romney’s welfare talk misses reality”

“Mitt Romney’s ad is dishonest. Far from ending work requirements, the administration has allowed states more flexibility when it comes to fulfilling them. The memo in question, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, stipulates that states can receive a waiver as long as their programs achieve the same work goals. The hope is that, with space to try new approaches, more recipients can be placed into jobs.”
—Jamelle Bouie: “In new ad, Mitt Romney repeats false attack on Obama’s welfare policy”

“Lying is endemic to politics, but Mitt Romney may have pioneered a new low this week. His TV ad attacking President Obama’s welfare policy collides with empirical fact, but that’s not the worst of it. Aimed at working-class whites, it also implicitly traffics in toxic racial stereotypes.”
—Dick Polman: “The American Debate: Despicable and desperate”

“The attack is bad enough on its own terms. Worse is the fact that, as Massachusetts governor back in 2005, Romney asked for a waiver—this time knowing what the word referred to—exactly like the one he’s now panning the Obama administration for giving … What’s next, new “welfare queen” jokes? Romney may look like a President. But he sure doesn’t act like one.”
—John McWhorter: “Mitt’s despicable welfare attack”

“Romney’s assertion is, as has been widely documented, nonsense. Republican governors were among those requesting the recent waivers of the welfare work requirements, the “demonstration projects” that sparked Romney’s attack. Ron Haskins, who as a Ways and Means Committee staffer in the 1990s helped draft the welfare law for House Republicans, told NPR that “there’s no plausible scenario under which it really constitutes a serious attack on welfare reform.”
—Dana Milbank: “Romney’s welfare gambit”

“The claim that Obama has waived the welfare program’s work mandate was widely debunked Tuesday. States can apply for waivers from federal welfare requirements but only to experiment with alternative strategies for returning welfare recipients to the workforce—and they must improve their rates of workforce reintroduction by 20 percent.”
—Boston Globe: “Mitt Romney campaign says President Obama opposed work requirement in 1996 welfare reform law”

“Mitt Romney’s campaign has hit new depths of truth-twisting with its accusation that President Obama plans to “gut welfare reform” by ending federal work requirements. The claim is blatantly false, but it says a great deal about Mr. Romney’s increasingly desperate desire to define the president as something he is not.
—The New York Times: “Romney hits bottom on welfare”

“As has already been widely noted, the line of attack is complicated by a few problems. First of all, it’s not true, or at least wildly misleading. Obama’s plan doesn’t end work requirements… Secondly, it’s a little tricky to slam Obama for handing out waivers when Romney himself supported the exact same proposal as governor of Massachusetts in 2005.”
—Alex Seitz-Wald: “Romney: Obama’s bringing welfare back”

“Romney’s ad doesn’t mention that Republican states sought the waiver policy … The ad also doesn’t mention that the Republican Governors Association asked Congress for even broader welfare waivers in 2005, in a letter signed by 29 Republican governors, including Romney.”
—Huffington Post: “Mitt Romney ad criticizes Obama for welfare policy Romney supported as Governor”

“But does the memo do what the Romney campaign charges—that it guts welfare reform, gets rid of work requirements entirely, and would ‘just send you your welfare check’? Not exactly … The administration’s HHS memo certainly does not make it so the federal government will now “just send you your welfare check,” as the Romney campaign’s television ad asserts.”
—NBC: “Dubious claim behind Romney welfare attack”

“But his accusations that President Obama is trying to “gut” the program by waiving its work requirements don’t jibe with the administration’s actual work guidelines. They also sidestep the fact that Romney himself supported such changes—he was just one of the Republicans who lent similar requests bipartisan support.”
—TPM: “Romney puts false welfare attack at center of his campaign”

“The theme of the day for the Romney campaign was, as Alex Rogers notes below, that Obama’s Soft on Welfare. It sort of flopped … How stupid does he think we are? Every day brings a mind-boggling act of untruth-telling.”
—Joe Klein: “Another Bad Day For Romney.”

“Mitt Romney’s newest campaign stratagem: a huge and shameless deception about an issue that only committed conservatives care about. Here’s his new ad, about how Obama wants to make welfare bad again … Here’s a dumb right-wing lie turned into an even dumber and more dishonest Mitt Romney campaign commercial.”
—Alex Pareene: “Romney tries out a welfare attack.”