Clinton calls out ‘disappointing’ Romney ad
August 8th, 2012
01:01 AM ET
9 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. Mike

    Instead of just reporting these disputes as "He said, she said", why doesn't the media have the guts to call out these politicians who issue demonstrably false claims?

    August 8, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  2. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Romney endorses corporate socialism and welfare for the wealthy. Oh, and word is out that his VP pick is the Anti-Christ. Willard wants us all to be stamped with 666.

    August 8, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  3. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Romney is a liar and a thief. Can't wait to see him stand before God Almighty on judgement day and hide his unscrupulous activities from God. He won't have the GOP and Fox Factless Fake news to go to bat form him. Romney scorns the poor. That won't make God too pleased. Can you feel the flames yet Willard?

    August 8, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  4. CryBabies

    How about the Joe Soptic ad....thats downright shameful on the democrats side. An absolute tragedy of distortions that the left leaning uneducated masses will cling onto without looking for the truth. This is why Chicago politics is among the sleaziest found anywhwere....SHAMEFUL!! Romney show your tax returns in exchange for Obamas college applications and transcripts.....a straight up exchange with no exceptions. I guarantee you the consequences for Obama will shake his campaign. But its all in the name of transparency that Obama is so keen on. careful what you wish for as your nightmare may be about to unfold.

    August 8, 2012 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  5. Name Stephanie from Pittsburgh

    Everything mitt Romney says is misleading. He cannot be trusted. Where are your tax returns mitt?

    August 8, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  6. JimB

    Romney is desperate. He's getting all this money but it doesn't matter when he really has nothing to say but how bad Obama is – boring. The rich really want to get Obama out of the way so they can steal more from the middle class. Also the ad is not only a lie it is racist. Welfare-baiting is a typical GOP trick. What a sad man and a sad campaign.

    August 8, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  7. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Hey Ryan Williams, yeah Willard strengthened work requirements – in OTHER COUNTRIES when he outsourced our U.S. jobs! Oh, and don't worry about what you think Willard will do as President because that day will never come in 2000 lifetimes.

    August 8, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  8. Leroy

    I am so sick of how the Romney campaign distorts and takes out of context virtually everything President Obama says or does. I'll be so relieved when Romney gives his election concession speech on Nov. 6th!

    August 8, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  9. ajw

    Clearly the former governor forgot that Bill Clinton is still alive.

    August 8, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  10. Donkey Party

    Romney is a serial liar, plain and simple.

    August 8, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  11. Thomas

    Obama is allowing individual states more say over running their own welfare-to-work programs.

    I guess all Mitt the Twit is good for is one-size-fits-fifty policies, deceptive adds, and pandering to voters without giving any details on his policies.

    August 8, 2012 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  12. craig

    Gee, I'm so surprised. Here's Rmoney again claiming something that is simply NOT TRUE. Does this man even understand the meaning of words like Truth, Lie, and Honesty? It's pretty obvious he doesn't. When he starts actually telling the truth, stops lying, begins to tell us what he'd do instead of simply saying everything being done is wrong, I might start listening. Until then, if his lips are moving, he's lying.

    August 8, 2012 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  13. Thomas

    One more thing – Romney's clearly grasping at straws with this deceptive add because it once-more emphasizes his flip-flop nature.

    A slip of a tongue is one thing, but you know "Mitt the Twit" is clearly out of touch with the state that he grew up in, Michigan, and grasping at straws when he repeatedly says how the trees there are the right height.

    Meaning that the trees in the other 49 states are the wrong height?

    August 8, 2012 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  14. State the Facts Bill

    Who better to call Romney out on his False Statements than someone who has first hand knowledge of Welfare Reform!!!!! Rich, Rich Romney Hood :)) :))) And I thought this election cycle was going to be boring.... LOL

    Well Done former Pres Clinton...

    August 8, 2012 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  15. Jerubbaal

    Like the free insurance, free title, free registration, and free cars that he gave to Mass welfare recipients.

    August 8, 2012 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  16. làmnotfooled

    Romney lies. Enough said.

    August 8, 2012 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  17. làmnotfooled

    B He lies about his taxes, about his tax plan.

    He lied about Welfare Reform, he lied about early voting for military in ohio,he took President obamas you did not build it comment out of context. He lies about President Obama making the economy worse. He lied about leaving Bain in 1999 when Sec docs have him as CEO till 2002. How can anyone trust him.

    August 8, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |

    The President Brotherhood comeing together very proud of Mr President Clinton and Mr President Obama

    August 8, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  19. n

    These Romney folks are unbelievable. They sling dirt and cry when it drops on them. They cry foul, when it's them who set the stage. They lie and then find justification to tell more lies. Sensible republican base, get from under the Romney trip of disaster while you can before he lock you in a cage and strap you to the roof top of more lies. The day is coming when he must show his taxes of bail leaving you to fend for your selves. Like he did at Bain, cashing the work force and escaping with the spoils.

    August 8, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  20. charles

    So Romneyhood is flipping on welfare too ?Unbelievable.Robmeybaloney why /Can the tax evader,outsourcing pioneer ever take a stand?God of Mormon please tell your bishop to stop lying.

    August 8, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  21. aCriticalEye

    Another RobMe Lie....I'm shocked
    We have to eliminate the Greed Over People group with all their Tea Nut handlers.
    OBAMA '12

    August 8, 2012 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  22. Get Real

    Well Gee I guess if Billy says it, it "must" be true. After all he would "never" lie or be dishonest about anything would he? He "always" understands the question before him.

    August 8, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  23. charlesName

    Romney is a snake in short grass. He don't care for us. All he wants is to give tax cuts to him and his big $ buddy's. He lies, he needs to be sent to where he hides his $ to keep from paying his fare share of taxes. He wants the working to pay it all. Obama 2012 hillery Clinton 2016

    August 8, 2012 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  24. Marie MD

    Everything about the twit bully bishop's ads are lies and half truths.
    He keeps talking about how he hired people (WRONG, he likes to fire people) and his plans and policies and solutions.
    Has he EVER said what he is actually going to do besides beating up on the President?
    We can't "believe in this America" mutant to tell us after he gets elected. This isn't prep school jack butt!

    August 8, 2012 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  25. Darrell


    Fact: more working and poor whites are on welfare. These are the same people, in the Red Southern states, who support Romney.

    Thus, Romney is attacking the people who support him. Does not sound like a sound political move, Mitt.

    And, by the way Mitt, your ad is false. I guess you know that because most of your political ads have been false.

    August 8, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
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