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. Scott S.

    He's right. Fact checking organizations have debunked Romney's accusation, as they have many, many others. The GOP has, and successfully to their credit, invented a White Hous occupant that currently does not exist. They've created this Muslim, socialist, Kenyan-born tyrant completely focused on destroying our constitution and taking away our guns, and about half the country has believed some, if not all of that garbage. It's sad really.

    August 8, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  2. woody

    Why would Bill Clinton's opinion on anything to do with facts or telling the truth be valid?

    August 8, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  3. ATL Guy

    Romney thinks he can hold up Clinton as a model of the type of President he's going to be. Problem is, he doesn't know that Bill Clinton will tear him apart in a heart beat to keep Obama in the White House. I saw Mitt putting himself up for a slam down when he started talking about Clinton and his approach to taxes and deficits. Now it seems as if he's wrapped himself in the Clinton flag. Cinton needs to knock him back swiftly and remind him that not only does he support Obama, his wife works for him.

    August 8, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  4. chill

    Republicans lie??? What a shock! This has been their history over the past four year. To take ideas that they originally supported and when Obama has agreed, then turned around and twisted them into something unrecognizable fromt he truth. The states are being offered the opportunity to improve their welfare programs to speed the transition to work, not eliminate it. As usual, inventing their own facts.

    August 8, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  5. stew

    Let me state a man that is a Bishop of a religion allowing so much hate in campaigning against the current President is unashamed on how much hate they generate.
    A man that is supposed to be holier than the rest of us and blameless represents his deisire to be President uses the poor and unable as a weapon of hate.

    August 8, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  6. IF YOU SIGNED GROVER'S PLEDGE, YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO THE U.S.

    “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,”
    ----------------------------------------------–
    Taking the President's words out of context and straight out lying in his ads is becoming a Romney normal. This man has no integrity and is so phony.

    August 8, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  7. Michael

    I am looking for some real reporting from CNN! How about really looking at Robme's record as Governor of Massachusetts and disecting it, something FOXNEWS has refused to do, and not just for 1hr or 1 day segment! How about as many days as it takes! Unless the rightwingers got your tongue! Well, MSNBC will and their ratings are continually going up! Real reporting is needed! This article was good but not enough! Repuglican have characterized Robme outside of his legitimate political record, now its based on what he will do, not on what he did! CNN, you let them getaway with this deception on the American people!

    August 8, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  8. ExRepublican

    Romney is out of touch with the middle class. Romney is the biggest liar in politics.
    Romney need to show his taxes. The republican party need to tell Romney to step aside and let someone else run.
    I will not vote for Romney he lied about almost everything.

    August 8, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  9. taftr

    Wow! I am shocked! I tell you just shocked that Romney would lie.

    August 8, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  10. Brian

    Clearly Romney has no respect for the truth, nor does he seem to care. The fact that Clinton has a signed letter by Romney that would directly support Obama's latest decision is hilarious. Hilarious! Romney will say anything, do anything, to win. He has no moral compass whatsoever.

    August 8, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  11. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Bill Clinton dropping a hammer blow on Mitt the twit Romney hood's latest lie. It's tough keeping track of Willard's numerous lies and flip-flops. Welfare is an important topic since romney hood would love to have the rest of the middle class become welfare recipients by stealing from them to further enrich him and his rich buddies.
    But the issue remains: show us your taxes Willard. You'd be wise to do so before the debates, because you can place one of yur $10,000 bets that our POTUS will absolutely destroy you with the refusal to do so. What are you hiding?

    August 8, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  12. r harris

    Even when Cllinton steps up and tells romneys people this add is untrue and misleading They still have the gall to repeat the same old lies again such great christians the right produces

    August 8, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  13. Catmandew

    Its ok for OBAMA to do all the misleading ads he wants he is president after all! Ok for him to lie hes from IL after all

    August 8, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  14. quinLee

    I smell smoke coming from the Romney camp.

    August 8, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  15. Paul Abeln

    Romney's campaign might be able to make some good points on public policy, but instead his campaign makes exaggerations and outright lies. His campaign cannot find any legitimate problems with Obama so it makes stuff up. Hey Mitt, gotta love those Mormon values.

    August 8, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  16. Dislike Ignorance

    Romneys camp now arguing with Fmr. Pres. Clinton. HAH! Who wont they try to smear to get away from talking about Romney's failed policies?

    August 8, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  17. 4 More Years!!!

    Romoney is so pitiful. He THINKS someone lies about him so he just makes stuff up and lies himself. The guy is truly DESPERATE!!!

    August 8, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  18. ReaganDem

    Clinton is right on the mark with this one. The Romney is add is not just misleading it is a dishonest. This is getting ugly by the seconds.

    August 8, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  19. livingston

    I thought that giving more control back to the state's in regard to welfare was a good thing in the republicans book. Now they want more government control? Come on guys – pick a side and stick to it. What fools they look like.

    August 8, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  20. griffbos

    Once again the Romney camp plays loose with facts in 1996 Obama was just entering into the Policital arena in his home State , making their claims he he was a vocal opponet to the Clinton changes to welfare as usual a bold face lie....but then Romney has never been truthful to the American people always trying to rewrite history to make Mitt look good ..........

    August 8, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  21. ptny

    Poll: Romney's unfavorability rating on the rise.

    Obama did not run the ad. It was a super pac.

    August 8, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  22. Al

    Come on Bill let's face the facts all that money that Obama allowed to go to waste will never be recovered and the people that paid their taxes will never be made whole again. The money for Solyndra is gone forever, with the exception of the money that went to the Obama campaign, then the 53 BILLION dollars in Stock that was authorized in GM stock that the tax payers will never get repaid and have lost money on that deal. The fact that more National Debt has been accumulated under Obama than any other President in History in such a short time. He's a failure for the working people and allows people to hand out and collect the peoples money and not do a thing to earn it. It's time to turn off the faucet and allow people the opportunity to either make it die off, either way the working peoples tax dollars will then be able to go towards bringing down the debt of this country so that our Great-Great-Great Grand Children will not have to still be paying off the debt that we the tax payers allowed to happen by electing the likes of Obama into office. And by the way Bill you should not be disappointed Romney is not skirt chasing like you, and that makes him a better man, so how many girls will you be bringing to the Carolina party.

    August 8, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  23. drake mallard

    Romney's campaign is based on the notion that because of what he did at Bain he understands the economy. It's perfectly reasonable to examine what his experience at Bain really taught him. After all, Bain wasn't in the business of creating jobs, it was in the business of making money

    The high unemployement is due to people like romney out sourcing. that's why middle class Americans are suffering so much.

    August 8, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  24. mcskadittle

    mitt got the pants on fire for this one from politifact

    August 8, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  25. griffbos

    Once again the Romney camp tries to rewrite history, in 1996 Obama was back in his home State runing for State Senate, he was not on the national level thus their claim he was a vocal opponet of the Clinton welfare reform is just another bold face lie, which is why I will not support my parties nominee this year.......

    August 8, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
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