Gingrich to assist Romney with welfare charge
August 7th, 2012
09:47 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich to assist Romney with welfare charge

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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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. tammyk tammy

    The GOPers constantly whine about reducing the role of the federal gov't in favor of increased state control, but then complain when Obama takes steps to do just that by giving the state more control over their welfare-to-work programs. They also say they want less gov't except then they want federal money to be there when they need it – like after their abuses of the environment causes drought in the Mid West and Texas. Make up your minds GOP cause you can't have it both ways to suit your political whims of the moment.

    August 8, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  2. Dee

    I certainly hope all of this rhetoric doesn't backfire on Romney especially attacking the people who are unemployed because of no fault of their own and mostly the fault of the GOP and the no working Congress who have upheld every bill that they could to help the american people so that the President can have one term/

    People of all races need assistance from welfare during this trying time and Gingrich found that out when he tried to insinuate Afircan Americans but statictics show more whites are receiving welfare and food stamps.

    August 8, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  3. Harriet

    Glad to hear that Bill Clinton is willing to take this on and call it out for the lie it is. Seems a simple thing for Mitt to remember that he signed a request for a waiver in 2005 to do the same thing that the Obama memo allows – no change in work requirement, but an opportunity for states to create their own welfare-to-work program if greater results are projected. What a liar – yet he keeps calling Obama a liar. This tendency to be what he calls others is a type of Rovian technique. We are in the crazy days of the election, now. Throw out every lie so it will stick. But it won't change the page on the reluctance and rejection of the request for the taxes to be released. Oh well!

    August 8, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    Why do we have to wait 12 paragraphs to find out whether its gingrich or Romney saying it that what they are saying is Pants on fire... thats a hard score to hit in a fact check org.. when they often let the smallest wiggle keeping it partially true or whatever. The coverage even goes on to The Romney hood debate blogged separately why?
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    August 8, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  5. hate from the left but mostly lies

    Even if you won't simply get a check in the mail, the work requirement is very neccecary to discourage dependance. Here is a good metaphore: you win the lottery and the grand prize was a million dollars. So cool, right? It gets better. You are told that you won a special prize which will give you 10,000 bucks every month for the rest of your life. The money will be considered capital gains, so you are taxed at a moderate 15% rate. Will you show up for work again tomorrow? Or the next day? Or ever? I know that was a little bit outlandish, but it is a rough metaphore of what would happen if the work requirement was changed. We need those people on welfare working to fix the economy, not sitting around at home or in their parent's basement.

    August 8, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  6. enuff

    They look like cartoon characters standing next to each other.

    August 8, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  7. bb

    Romney's campaign has become a political cesspool.

    August 8, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  8. Mick

    Ronney already said he 'doesn't give the poor much thought'. That's his TRUE feelings about he poor. He DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THEM. Anything he is doing now is political manuevering.

    August 8, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  9. Donkey Party

    We all despise Gingrich, but there is one thing he said that we can all agree upon, Willard Romney is a liar.

    August 8, 2012 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  10. Thomas

    Romney must have paid off Newts outstanding Tiffany's bill !

    I love that photo of the both of them. They look like the poster boys for cheating , lying and bullying to success !

    Two peas in a pod .

    August 8, 2012 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  11. helenecha

    Nice picture! I'm very happy to see the politicians whose eyes could seize the opponents and hearts usually filled up with the friends and brains always equipped with skills. Godspeed to them!

    August 8, 2012 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  12. James Klimaski

    Gingrich, relegated to the dustbin of political history, is now trying to suck up to the candidate he despised during the Republican primary. The Newt is hoping there is some way to make money out of this. At least carfare or a free plane trip to somewhere.

    August 8, 2012 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  13. Name James

    I wonder if the people who are dumb enough to believe this have a IQ over 10 and rather or not they have the mind of a child.or are they just a bunch of airheads

    August 8, 2012 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  14. Name James

    All the education want help you figure out things in life if you don't have common sense.

    August 8, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  15. n

    The republican party leadership has no shame. Romney and Newt . . . The two cancel the other out. A charlatan and a snake oil salesman in one package equals Finagle. That's right America, you have just been set adrift, hoodwink as it were. Turn and walk away from this shady deal.

    August 8, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  16. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    What a surprise. The racist dog whistle blowers working together to lie to the unhinged GOBP tea potty.This is the true desperation that comes with picking a weak candidate like Mitt the twit. It will get funnier(worst for the sane) as they continue to walk the plank towards November.

    August 8, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  17. Sandy

    Yes, because Newt was so successful naming President Obama "the food stamp President." What a racist bunch the republicans are!

    August 8, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  18. Sandy

    If you took a dollar from Romney for every lie he told, he would lose his fortune! What a despicable, racist, liar.

    August 8, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
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