Mitt Romney’s campaign is launching a new offensive on Tuesday accusing President Obama of “unilaterally dismantling” the 1990s bipartisan welfare reform. – Romney launches new attack on Obama over welfare
IT WAS EXACTLY what Gov. Mitt Romney wanted. But today Team Romney is slamming Pres. Obama on offering flexibility to states in managing their welfare-to-work program.
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama reversed what he said as a state senator and signed on to Bill Clinton’s idea of welfare-to-work, which caused resignations at the time TANF was created.
TANF is a block grant program to help move recipients into work and turn welfare into a program of temporary assistance. Under the welfare reform legislation of 1996, TANF replaced the old welfare programs known as the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program, and the Emergency Assistance (EA) program. The law ended Federal entitlement to assistance and instead created TANF as a block grant that provides States, Territories, and Tribes Federal funds each year. These funds cover benefits and services targeted to needy families. [HHS]
On July 12, 2012, Pres. Obama issued a directive that would allow states more flexibility on TANF. It is the exact flexibility that once Gov. Mitt Romney pleaded for from the federal government.
CNN reminds presidential candidate Mitt Romney what Romney wanted as governor:
In 2005, Romney signed a letter along with 29 other state governors to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, calling for greater state flexibility in managing their TANF programs.
“Increased waiver authority, allowable work activities, availability of partial work credit and the ability to coordinate state programs are all important aspects of moving recipients from welfare to work,” the letter read.
Here’s the letter [pdf] and a screen capture is below of the critical element, “State flexibility,” that Gov. Romney applauded, but as presidential candidate he is slamming Obama on today. It reads, it part (bold added in second section below):
State flexibility — The Senate bill provides states with the flexibility to manage their TANF programs and effectively serve low-income populations. Increased waiver authority, allowable work activities, availability of partial work credit and the ability to coordinate state programs are all important aspects of moving recipients from welfare to work.
Buzzfeed has several videos and audios of State Senator Barack Obama saying he was against Pres. Clinton’s campaign to “end welfare as we know it.” But in 2008, presidential candidate Obama shifted. No one paying attention was surprised.
But the Romney ad is good, because it fits a narrative people believe, whether it’s true or not: Obama is a flaming socialist and doesn’t want anyone to work. Go big government!
However, Obama surrogates and ad makers can simply add another chapter to flip flopping Mitt Romney, who as a governor wanted exactly what Pres. Obama’s July 2012 directive offers: state flexibility to administer TANF. It’s a very powerful line of attack, because it, too, fits a narrative that is already woven into the current campaign theme on Romney. That he was one guy as Massachusetss governor and quite a different guy running for president.