Elk Grove Village, Illinois (CNN) – They were fierce rivals during the Republican primary campaign, but now Newt Gingrich is preparing to wade into the debate over changes to welfare on behalf of Mitt Romney.
Gingrich – who suggested to senior Romney advisers they take on the welfare issue - has been asked to participate in a conference call on behalf of the Romney campaign, expected to take place Wednesday, according to a Gingrich source. He will also do a number of television interviews and will write an op-ed in a conservative publication to buttress Romney's position.
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For weeks, Romney has been utilizing a campaign narrative about President Barack Obama that resembles the claims Gingrich made when he was running for president.
Recently, Romney has described Obama as a president of government dependency, having seized upon the president's "didn't build that" partial quote about small businesses. And on Tuesday, Romney's campaign released a new television ad hitting Obama for changes to welfare, saying under the president's plan, "you wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check."
Later in the day, at a campaign event at Acme Industries in the Chicago suburbs, Romney said he would "end a culture of dependency and restore a culture of good hard work."
"There is nothing better than a good job to help lift a family, to allow people to be able to provide for themselves and to end the spread of a culture of dependency. We must include more work in welfare," he added.
Gingrich waged similar attacks throughout his campaign, which came to an end on May 1. He often referred to Obama as the "food stamp president," backing the claim by stating that more Americans were on food stamps now than at any other time in history as a result of the high unemployment rate.
The Obama administration announced in July it was making changes to allow states greater flexibility in administering their welfare-to-work program, which Republicans argued amounted to a "gutting" of work requirements for welfare recipients. The work requirements were a central element of the bipartisan welfare reform law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
Gingrich, who as speaker of the House helped get the landmark legislation passed in Congress, suggested the Romney campaign use the welfare changes to attack the president in part because it could also drive a deeper wedge between Obama and Clinton.
The Romney ad released Tuesday highlighted Clinton's achievement, and claims Obama's directive would "gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements."
The Romney campaign's coordination with Gingrich - and co-opting his primary campaign message - suggests the Romney campaign will continue hitting Obama on these issues, despite the president's campaign and outside groups questioning the veracity of the claims.
The independent fact checking group Politifact rated the Romney welfare ad "Pants on Fire" Tuesday, calling the claim that the government will just "send a welfare check" a "drastic distortion" of the government's proposed changes.
Speaking on a conference call Tuesday organized by Obama's campaign, Clinton's former chief of staff John Podesta said Romney's campaign was using his former boss' welfare legislation in a misleading way.
"I'm always happy when people embrace the new Democratic policies of Bill Clinton, I just wish they'd tell the truth when they do that," Podesta said.
He added that he had spoken to Clinton Tuesday about the Romney ad and that the former president "completely agrees with my analysis of this."
The campaign theme wasn't the only way Romney was echoing Gingrich on the trail Tuesday. In responding to Obama's charge that he's the "opposite of Robin Hood," Romney even borrowed part of an attack line Gingrich lobbed at him during a presidential debate in New Hampshire. Remember "pious baloney?"
The lunch meat resurfaced as a campaign metaphor Tuesday, when Romney called the president's attacks on him "Obamaloney."
Later in the day, Romney used it again, saying: ""So when the president of the United States says if you have a business you didn't build it someone else did that I say baloney."
CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
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