Clinton calls out ‘disappointing’ Romney ad
August 8th, 2012
01:01 AM ET
2 years ago

Clinton calls out ‘disappointing’ Romney ad

(CNN) – Bill Clinton said an attack ad from Mitt Romney misconstrues recent changes pushed by President Barack Obama to the welfare reform law Clinton signed as president.

“Governor Romney released an ad today alleging that the Obama administration had weakened the work requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. That is not true,” Clinton said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the Obama administration had taken steps to ensure work requirements for welfare recipients were maintained.

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The Obama administration directive, issued July 12, allows individual states to experiment with changes to their welfare-to-work programs, which are federally funded. The intent, according to the directive, is to "challenge states to engage in a new round of innovation that seeks to find more effective mechanisms for helping families succeed in employment."

The welfare-to-work program affected by the directive – the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – was created by the welfare reform law signed by Clinton in 1996. That measure was considered a win for conservatives, who long pushed for a provision that required work training for Americans receiving government assistance.

In Tuesday's ad from the Romney campaign, an announcer points to Clinton's achievement, and claims Obama's directive would "gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements."

"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," the announcer continues. "And welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare."

Clinton said that was untrue, and wrote that Romney himself pushed for changes to welfare laws while he was governor of Massachusetts.

“The Romney ad is especially disappointing because, as governor of Massachusetts, he requested changes in the welfare reform laws that could have eliminated time limits altogether,” Clinton wrote, making reference to a 2005 letter signed by Romney and 28 other Republican governors to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, calling for greater state flexibility in managing their welfare programs.

Clinton said Romney’s campaign spot wasn’t helpful in solving the real problem of getting people off government assistance and into well-paying jobs.

“We need a bipartisan consensus to continue to help people move from welfare to work even during these hard times, not more misleading campaign ads,” Clinton wrote.

In response to Clinton's comments, Romney Campaign Spokesman Ryan Williams released a statement saying, “President Obama was a vocal opponent of the innovative, bipartisan welfare reforms that President Clinton and a Republican Congress passed in 1996. His administration has now undermined the central premise of those reforms by gutting the welfare-to-work requirement. Unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney has a record of fighting to strengthen work requirements. As president, he will ensure that nearly sixteen years of progress aren’t erased with one stroke of a pen.”


Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Bill Clinton • Massachusetts • Mitt Romney
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. annette

    hey mitt – if you are going to bash the president make sure you have your facts right before inserting foot in mouth.

    August 8, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  2. njbchicago

    "The Obama administration directive, issued July 12, allows individual states to experiment with changes to their welfare-to-work programs, which are federally funded. The intent, according to the directive, is to "challenge states to engage in a new round of innovation that seeks to find more effective mechanisms for helping families succeed in employment."

    That's doublespeak for 'we trashed it'.

    August 8, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  3. Southeast

    That's right romney, the more u talk the crazier u sound.

    August 8, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  4. dreucalypt

    Romney and his people just can't resist the temptation to dogwhistle.

    August 8, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  5. jdw.lbc

    Simply put...somebody is lying! So when can we as voters get to the truth. Will the debates resolve this matter? It appears as though the two candidates will need to stand or sit side by side and hammer out the differences. Is Mitt Romney ready to engage BO without his talking points and opportunity to huddle with his advisers?

    August 8, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  6. AZ resident

    Romney will do anything to avoid the tax return talk but American people want to see if he really paid any taxes. Obama 2012!!!

    August 8, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  7. exrepublican

    Typical Romney, respond to being called a liar by telling another lie. Why not, his followers believe every word he says. They do not care about the truth or facts as long as their "team" wins. They don't even have a clue if Romney's so called policy's will benefit or harm themselves. They just want their "team" to win. They hear nightly on faux news Obama bad, Romney good and their poor tiny brain says, ok. Then they all go meet on Sunday and are lied to some more, their tiny brain again says, ok. I pity them all.

    August 8, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  8. Johnny DC

    It's only disappointing to President Clinton because it is essentially the truth.

    President Obama doesn't want to give the states ANY control over anything. For a self-proclaimed constitutional scholar, he really has a knack for pretending the 10th Amendment never existed.

    However, as the raging deranged liberal he is, he makes special exceptions for cases like this one, where he encourages states to make up their own rules to go along with federal funding, so long as they seem to be leaning towards loosening requirements for people to become more dependent (or permanently dependent) on the federal government. Then it's okay.

    August 8, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  9. Larry L

    Romney lies every time he opens his mouth! The more dishonest his behavior the more i want to see his tax returns.

    August 8, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, the question is about when Obama said that he didn't like this reform. The next question is about when did Romney actually ask for the waiver. The timing is the primary question as to who said what and did what when. Is someone actually going to post on this blog that information?

    August 8, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  11. John Merrick

    What do you expect from the Romney camp? He's a dishonest, lying, flip flopping tax cheat.

    August 8, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  12. Larry

    What MItt Roney flat out lied?! I have never heard such a thing. Not about any politician but especially Mitt Romney(please note sarcasm).

    August 8, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  13. jazzinikki

    He lies sooooo much, I'd hate to see what he'd do as president!! Scary!!!

    August 8, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  14. some guy in New Hampshire

    If Romney thinks he has to tell lies this grandiose in order to become president, how does he expect to hold any respect from the public if he's elected? Oh - and we still haven't forgotten about the income tax returns question.

    August 8, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  15. hal

    Ha.....what about the newest ad from Obama......all time low.

    August 8, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  16. Griff.

    "Quote: ” Clinton said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the Obama administration had taken steps to ensure work requirements for welfare recipients were maintained. Unquote.

    "But what Mr Clinton is not saying, is, just how much that 'welfare recipients line, as grown since Obama took office in 2009."

    August 8, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  17. JasonP

    Why do politicians have to use such complex language? Ok, here's the deal. The Romney ad is a blatant lie. The truth is that a state can apply for a waiver from the Federal work requirement IF they can demonstrate that they have their own plan that would do better at getting welfare recipients back to work. If the state plan doesn't pass the muster, they will be denied the waiver. It's exactly what the governors association asked for in 2006 and 2 Republican governors have already applied for the waiver.

    August 8, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  18. TeeDarling77

    Mitt Romney is a liar. Plain and simple!!!

    August 8, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  19. HenryB

    If all the Republicans can do is come back with this, and all in the name of Herr Romney, then they are in big trouble. First, it is provably wrong. Second, there is no mystery to the ad like the birth certificate nonsense. Americans, yes us uninformed, can read even through this Romney jewel.

    August 8, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  20. When was Mitt a key person?

    Another ad from Rommey that's a lie. Nothing new here.

    August 8, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  21. Joel

    Work for Welfare is an easily corrupted policy that needs attention. Maybe if law is passed requiring the training to increase and less welfare recipients being placed in dish washing jobs at local mayors and corporate fat cats personal diners. Crunch the numbers, the small town powers that be are getting cheap labor while welfare recipients are trapped with another force keeping them below poverty; Local small time crook's greed.

    August 8, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  22. albert

    What I would like to know is why the Mormon church condones Romney's unethical behavior? in many cases, the man is just outright lying. So seriously Mormon's, this is the fruit your church is producing? My guess is that if he pulled this nonsense inside the church, he would be excommunicated. Just know that Romney is now the face of your church.

    August 8, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  23. Marty, FL

    Romney's "Pants on Fire" attempt to divide Pres. Clinton and Obama will not work.

    Worse–Romney hypocritically supported the same kind of reforms the president just signed to give states more control over their own welfare-work programs.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    August 8, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  24. John

    It just another Mitt Romney LIE he had said, but don't worry he will do another FLIP- FLOPPER on It by the End of the week. Just like he had done time after time that It really getting to get real old real fast. If he didn't have all these rich people telling him what to said, I meet after all they are paying for him.

    August 8, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  25. CalmerVoice

    Clinton who used to be a decent fellow has become an equiivocal supporter for Obama campaign, using lies & rhetorics no matter what the facts are. And take a look at his face. Looks like he is on medication. Old habits are difficult to overcome. If he want his wife to have chances in 2016 he needs to take more independent position.

    August 8, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
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