Newt Gingrich has spent the last two days doing interview after interview to discuss the Romney campaign’s disingenuous attack claiming that the Obama administration is out to “gut welfare reform.” But during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Gingrich was presented with the actual text of the Department of Health and Human Services regulation that the administration is adopting, and had to acknowledge that the directive, as written, doesn’t gut welfare. “None of us believe them,” was all Gingrich could say.
Gingrich made a similar admission Wednesday night, when he all but all but admitted to CNN’s Anderson Cooper that a Romney campaign ad about welfare reform has no evidence behind it:
COOPER: But under the — I mean, this ad said under Obama’s plan you wouldn’t have to work, you wouldn’t have to train for a job, they just send you your welfare check. There’s no evidence of that at all.
GINGRICH: Well, given that this is an administration which has maximized the increase in dependency, maximized the number of people on food stamps, maximized the effort to get people to rely on the government, there’s also no evidence that once the waiver system is in place that you could rely on this administration to defend work. [...]
COOPER: I want to just try to clarify this. You do think that the actual wording under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work, you wouldn’t have to train for a job, they just send you your welfare check, that is not factually correct?
GINGRICH: We have no proof today, but I would say to you under Obama’s ideology it is absolutely true that he would be comfortable sending a lot of people checks for doing nothing. I believe that totally.
Romney’s ad claims that, “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.” In reality, the administration is simply granting states waivers to experiment with their job programs, not ending them. One of welfare reform’s conservative architects even called the Republican attacks “exaggerated.”
And none of this political debate grapples with the fact that today’s welfare programs were wholly inadequate during the Great Recession, getting aid to just a fraction of those families who needed it.