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. mcskadittle

    Mittens does not want to take on Bubba, he will get destroyed if he does

    August 8, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  2. Billy, NYC

    Republicans and Romney lie about many things about the President. Many people out there are educated enough to fact check the GOP talking points. Romney is the not connecting with the American people. Where are your tax returns?

    August 8, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. ZackofSpades

    Clinton balances the budget.

    That's a hell of a lot more impressive than any of the financial mumbo-jumbo Mitt authorized with Bain.

    August 8, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. S-Hug

    I'm so sick of hearing about "job creators." They're taking credit for something they don't do. The super-rich view hiring as a last resort, when they can't keep up with demand. The MIDDLE CLASS ARE THE JOB CREATORS — the people who buy goods and services. The billionaires have been getting superfluous tax cuts for over a decade, and they haven't improved the economy or created jobs one bit. If people haven't wised up to Reagan's trickle-down economics yet, we are doomed. Whenever I hear a politician use the phrase "job killing legislation", I send another $10 to Obama. It's time to start taxing the hell out of these billionaires who sold out our country for their own greedy agenda.

    Conservatives... the only thing they conserve is their own inherent wealth.

    August 8, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  5. Puddin

    Romney "looks" like he has a high IQ, but it's way down there low. This guy is so transparent and superficial it's pathetic. As I have said before: he is an insult to the American people and everywhere else.

    August 8, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  6. Brooke

    Romney needs to get behind us(devil) because it's not any cost.

    August 8, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. PJ

    "Why would Bill Clinton's opinion on anything to do with facts or telling the truth be valid?
    Don't worry, Newt Gingrich, the pillar of integrity, honesty, and character, is coming out to defend Romney.

    August 8, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  8. Canuck Observer

    Mitt Romney is a total disgrace. His father must be rolling over in his grave,.at the way his son is tarnishing the Romney name. Despite all his wealth, Mitt Romney has nothing,.. no credibility, no honour, no principles, no moral character. Lies, distortions and secrecy, might have worked in the back- stabbing business world,..but to insult the American voters with this game plan, is beyond the pale, even for the sleazy theathre of politics. You deserve better America.

    August 8, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. DC Observer

    Hey Bill, what is disappointing is you having sex in the Oval Office with a young intern. Mr Clinton you have lost your right to comment on national affairs, particulary when they deal with honesty or ethics....

    August 8, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. DC Observer

    And we should believe you mr clinton becasue you did not have sex with that woman?

    August 8, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  11. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I used to wish that I had an education. Now I wish Bill Clinton had one. Anyone with half a brain can see that Obama as well as Clinton has one goal in mind. Expand the Welfare State. Obama Care is just the latest thing in the march to a total welfare state. It failed in the old Soviet Union and it is failing here. Come to think of it, it failed in Greece and France. So far in the march to welfare socalisim we have had Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barrack Obama.The Republicians need to show fottage of Harry Truman so these lightweights can see what a real Democrat looks like.

    August 8, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. paul

    Geez, another misleading ad by the Romney camp, who would have thought. I cannot emphasize the importance of not letting this man anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He would have us all standing in a foodline with his gutting of all the middle class policies. He cannot win on his merits, so he distorts and lies and I wonder how many people will fall for it all. Very sad and very disappointing. If you are part of the 99% he will do nothing for you and he is not afraid to lie and tell you he will. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    August 8, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Workers Unite !

    Fact Check ! The ad is false, Obama has just ignored the law as written.
    When is congress going to start impeachment hearings into all the laws his guy has broken or skirted.

    August 8, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |

    Romney is well known lier and sure loser in Nov !!!with or without your tax returns ,tax cheat for sure !!!!!

    August 8, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  15. Stephen in VA

    So, States' Rights are only good when a Republican pushes for them? What's that all about, (R)s?

    August 8, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. Bill

    The Romnety campaign is starting to show its desperation. A flawed candidate who will not becomes president.

    August 8, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. LIB

    What I fail to understand is why Republicans believe that Democrats don't work. Poverty and unemployment does not discriminate along any party lines. As a Democrat whose family is democrat and many friends and relatives we are very hard working Americans and many in my family have served in the military. I would strongly hesitate to vote for any so called American who constantly is putting down other Americans who want the same in this country as anybody else.Mitt and the republicans constantly demonstrate that they are the divisive party in this country and they are the racist party. It all started with Sarah Palin who brought out every hate group in America and was followed by Mitch McConnel. No thank you Mr. Romney, you are a liar and a hypocrit and do not deserve to represent the good people in this country. As for welfare, if you are such a great job creator, then why didn't these folks have jobs so you and your republican friends would not have to worry about criticizing people receiving welfare.

    August 8, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. fact checking

    People please do some fact checking. Romney is way out of line and completely a liar in this one. In fact what Obama did is what Republicans claim they always want. The states to have more rights which is what this bill does.

    August 8, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. Expat American

    Romney will stay pretty silent on this one. A Coward like Romney knows when he’s about to get his eye blackened and his trousers pulled down in front of the pretty girls because people just get tired of bullies after a while.

    August 8, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  20. King

    what do you expect from the lyinges and most secretive. candidate in American history.

    August 8, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  21. Lizzie

    Now that's funny, Pres.Obama signs an Executive order to weaken the welfare act passed backed by both democrats and republicans, signed by Pres.Clinton, got millions of welfare and into jobs, this Pres. reverses it and puts millions BACK on Welfare, by stating that now MASSAGES, WALKING, reading and DOING ERRANDS FOR A FRIEND are NOW considered WORK. Got to wonder what he has on Pres.Clinton for him to lie about it.

    August 8, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. enuff

    Have you noticed that Romney is trying very hard to tie himself to Clinton? Why isn't he touting a best friend with Bush??? is he trying to re-invent himself as the second coming of Clinton?

    August 8, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. ghostriter

    This is what happens when your only job is to get that man outta office. Every response to anything th epresident does is fake outrage of one sort or another. Either conservatives have done and defended he exact same things they scream at the president about or as in this case, they get the entire story wrong. And just like with the fake contraception outrage, republican governors asked for this flexibility. In signed letters. With Romney's signature.

    This is way too funny. How you republicans reconcile your heroes time and time again after the past 8 years is amazing.

    August 8, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  24. Sniffit

    "Anyone with half a brain can see that Obama as well as Clinton has one goal in mind. Expand the Welfare State."

    Rewrite history much? "Welfare" essentially died while Clinton was in office. Calling what we have now "welfare" equates today's system with the previous system and is like comparing apples to toddlers in high heels. Go do some reading.

    August 8, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. Wake up people

    When will CNN and other media outlets call this guy out for his lies? These people lie about everything and the media stays quiet but they have no problem calling out the Obama campaign for any and everything. The public deserves to know the truth about Willard but all we get are lies. Those traitors repeatedly lied about the President being a muslim, he had to show his birth certificate and now they want his transcripts (apparently he's not really as smart as people think), but we, the voters, don't have a right to see his taxes like everyone else?? Come on people, wake up!

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 8, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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