Gingrich: Obama is the 'anti-Clinton'
August 8th, 2012
12:42 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich: Obama is the 'anti-Clinton'

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich had some biting words for President Barack Obama on Wednesday, bolstering charges made by Mitt Romney's campaign that the president is dismantling welfare reform.

The former House speaker, who worked with former President Bill Clinton to champion the welfare-to-work law in 1996, charged the Obama administration with using "radical" methods to alter the program as part of a liberal agenda.

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"There's just a remarkable difference between Clinton and Obama," Gingrich said on a conference call with reporters. "In many ways, Obama is the anti-Clinton."

Gingrich - who suggested to senior Romney advisers they take on the welfare issue - was asked to participate in the call on behalf of the Romney campaign.

Gingrich said the president's administration used a "gimmick" in order to issue a directive that amends a certain provision in the federally-funded welfare-to-work program. The administration now allows the Health and Human Services Department to grant waivers to states to change their work requirements for welfare recipients.

The intent, according to the directive issued via memo on July 12, 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."

But Gingrich contends that the section in bill, which he at one point on the conference call dubbed the "Clinton-Gingrich welfare plan," was originally written so that work requirements could not be "waivable." He said that he and other proponents of the legislation were "convinced that a number of very liberal states had a desperate desire to maximize dependency and to eliminate any work requirements."

His comments come on the heels of recent attacks by the Romney campaign over the new directive. In a television ad released Tuesday, the presumptive GOP nominee's team said under the new policy, people "wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job," adding the government would "just send you your welfare check."

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, however, has strongly pushed back, calling the attacks false and pointing to the part of the directive's requirement that says states granted the waiver must increase the number of people on welfare going into the workforce by 20%.

Clinton also responded Tuesday, saying Romney's claims are "not true."

“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, adding that the Obama administration had taken steps to ensure work requirements for welfare recipients were maintained.

“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 continued, 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.

But in a move to possibly drive a wedge between Clinton and Obama, Gingrich attempted to draw sharp contrasts between the 44th and 42nd presidents.

"Clinton was trying to move the party to the center," Gingrich said. "Obama has moved it to the left."

He also took the opportunity to jab the Democratic National Convention Committee's decision to select Clinton as the nominating speaker at the party's major gathering in Charlotte this September, calling it "one of the most delicious examples of irony in modern times."

"I hope every American, when they watch Bill Clinton speak, will realize how much weaker and less effective President Obama is than the man who is nominating him," Gingrich said.

While Gingrich earlier this year ran a bitter campaign against Romney in the fight for the GOP presidential nomination, he now says he'll do anything he can to help the former Massachusetts governor defeat Obama in November.

The latest debate on welfare is certainly one with which Gingrich is familiar. He frequently touts the 1996 welfare reform as one of his greatest achievements as House speaker and used the issue on the campaign trail this last year to attack Obama as the "food stamp president."

– CNN Political Producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Newt Gingrich • President Obama
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. nitro

    You seem to not have a problem with thw tax requirement for a presidential candidate. Why are you complaining about anything else. You dont even like Robmey but you just dont want to see that black man succed. You didnt like Clinton but now you are riding his D!ck, and you look nothing like Monica, you ugly Grinch.

    August 8, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    "there are more causacion Americans on food stamps than African Americans. "
    -----–
    Well, yes... that is correct. There are also 6 times as many caucasian Americans than there are African Americans. So are there 6 times as many caucasian Americans on food stamps than African Americans?

    August 8, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. Jazel

    "I hope every American, when they watch Bill Clinton speak, will realize how much weaker and less effective President Obama is than the man who is nominating him," Gingrich said.
    ----
    Is this the reason why Hillary looks radiant and happy dancing. I bet in her mind she is saying "In 2008 I told you guys, you need the Clintons. But Obama ran a campaign of lies against me "Hilary". And here you go, you need us the Clintons to help Obama because he is failing".. Lalala.. Hillary for President..

    August 8, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. IF YOU SIGNED GROVER'S PLEDGE, YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO THE U.S.

    I tried not to use this comparison, but I couldn't resist. Bush is Ra's Al Ghul, the Tea Party is the Joker and Willard is Bane(Bain). Ra's Al Ghul's(Bush) goal in Batman Begins was to destroy Gotham(U.S.), which he nearly did. His plan was averted by Batman(Obama). The Joker(Tea Party) simply wanted anarchy. Willard is Bane(Bain) because he's come back to finish off Ra's Al Ghul's work of destroying Gotham(U.S.). Perfect analogy.

    August 8, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Wes B.

    The new plan allows states to improve upon the current federal plan. How is it possible Republicans don't like such a plan? It's EXACTLY what they are always pushing for–more power for the states to customize these plans.

    Am I crazy? Or is that not the situation here?

    August 8, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. DB in AR

    What a load of PIOUS BALONEY

    August 8, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. cbama

    "There's just a remarkable difference between Clinton and Obama."

    The only difference between Clinton and Obama is that one is white and one is black! and the fact that you would make Obama's policies to be different from that of Clinton's, is such an obvious racist tactic that won't work! Their policies are one in the same! You know it's a sad day when the Mittens camp has Ol Grinchy Grinch speakin up for them! smh...What a waste of sperm!

    August 8, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. LAguy

    Gingrich is obviously thrilled that someone is actually paying attention to him.

    August 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. DB in AR

    Mitt you drag Gingrich out of moth balls really? The Romney Campaign can just throw in the towel when they finally decide that Newt Gingrich is their best messenger. It would be funny if it were not true.

    August 8, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Since Newt needs Willard's money, he's now a shoeshine boy for Mittens.
    Newt said enough earlier in the year when Nora O'Donnell asked Newt if he was calling RMoney a liar and Newt responded with "yes".
    So now that he needs help paying down his Tiffany's bill, he has no problem carrying the snakeoil for the liar. Romney the wimp and Newtie the blimp. A modern day Laurel and Hardy.
    Willard, be a good lad and fetch those tax returns, boy. We'd like to see how you've managed to accumulate a 100 million dollar IRA. Chop, chop.

    August 8, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Chumlee

    Where the sun does not shine Gingrich – you are a fraud, you are a crook, you are bankrupt, and
    you are of zero importance, except of course to the right wing freaks

    August 8, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. BinaryTooth

    More proof today that Obama is the world's biggest liar of all time!!!!! Refuses to denounce the ad proven by CNN to be false about killing a mans wife!!!!!!!

    Obama is the lowest of the low and has no problem with it as long as it brings America down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    August 8, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Ideas, Ideals, not ideologies

    Newt should know. Clinton wiped the floor with him when he was Speaker of House and made him resign in disgrace on ethics charges. Newt has always been about money and he's trying to pay creditors after he pays himself, his wife, and daughters, of course. Newt's enterprise just went bankrupt so he's hurting for easy money and Mitt announced earlier this month that he's got 100 million to waste.

    August 8, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Big mistake using Gingrich as a political attack dog. Gingrich is a loose cannon and can't control what comes out of his mouth, almost as bad as Palin. The nonsense that comes out will turn off moderate and independent voters.

    August 8, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Pedro

    Dirty politics. A Guy that was throwing all kind of bad words to Romney is sudently in love with him since he has nothing to do as a candidate anymore.
    How can we believe on their speeches?

    August 8, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. toocy

    Wow, and all these years I thought Newt Gingrich was the anti-Clinton.

    August 8, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    "The administration now allows the Health and Human Services Department to grant waivers to states to change their work requirements for welfare recipients. "
    -----------------------
    That is almost exactly what the RGA asked for in their letter to the Bush administration in 2005, which Mitt Romney co-signed along with some 30+ Republican governers. They felt that the individual state knew what was best for itself, so please grant us the flexibility to implement job creation programs our way. Not exactly states' rights, though. The work requirement still exists, but how that requirement is met can be defined by the individual state.

    Another example of a Republican idea being rejected after Pres. Obama embraces it.

    August 8, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Romney is not My Hero

    Hey – I thought Gangrene flew away in a space shuttle and was already living on the moon.. Maybe his plans fell through and now he wants horse-Mitt to get him entrance to planet Kolob. Either one is fine with me – Just GO AWAY!!!!

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 8, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair asked:

    Well, yes... that is correct. There are also 6 times as many caucasian Americans than there are African Americans. So are there 6 times as many caucasian Americans on food stamps than African Americans
    -------------------–
    I don't think the number is as high as 6, but no matter You forgot something. There are probably 6 times more African Americans living below the poverty level than caucasian Americans.

    August 8, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. michael

    "Well, yes... that is correct. There are also 6 times as many caucasian Americans than there are African Americans. So are there 6 times as many caucasian Americans on food stamps than African Americans?"

    Yes, there are...

    August 8, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Where Has Gingrich Moved His Party?

    "Clinton was trying to move the party to the center," Gingrich said. "Obama has moved it to the left."

    And Gingrich and his Tea Potty pals have moved the GOP straight into the gutter. This guy oozes sewage from every pore of his bloated, bottom-feeding, scum sucking, repulsive fat body. Newt is the walking, talking, slithering symbol of everything that is wrong with the Republican party today.

    Actually Newt was trying to move his party to the moon. Newt is the visionary candidate who told the people of Florida that he wanted to build a lunar base on the moon with 13,000 permanent American residents and make it the 51st state of the USA. Newt should not give up on his lunar plans. I think he should call up Sheldon Adelson and make some good use of his billions of dollars. Newt, please build your moon base and kindly remove yourself from this planet. The world would be a better place without the likes of your lying, cheating, repulsive, overflowing body in it.

    August 8, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Sam Miller

    Obama has only added the waiver that republican Governors were asking for, including Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts. There is a public document showing this, with Mitt Romney's signature on it. So once again, Mitt Romney has flip flopped.

    August 8, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. Lisa

    Funny how Newt flat out called Mitt a liar during the primaries.. but now Mitt is such an honest person... get them dollars Newt.. seems you will do anything for money............

    August 8, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Dave Harris

    Wait a minute, isn't Clinton one of the Republicans' hated 'liberals'? So if Obama is trying to subvert something he did, that would be good, right? Here we have Newt trying to complicate things again. Republicans are so easily confused, you have to keep it very simple for them. He always forgets this.

    August 8, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. Dan5404

    And you, Mr. Gingrich, ae the pro-bull politician as usual. Go back home and look for wife #4, unless you already have her hidden away somewhere.

    August 8, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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