Romney Camp: Obama Has ‘Gutted’ Welfare Reform

by Katrina Trinko

In a new push, the Romney campaign is emphasizing President Obama’s decision to allow states to waive the work requirements instituted as part of welfare reform, accusing him of allowing welfare reform to be “gutted.”

“When Governor Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he strengthened work requirements there,” said Romney advisor Ed Gillespie in a conference call with reporters this morning. “And if he’s elected president, he’ll restore the work requirements in the bipartisan welfare-reform act that have been gutted by President Obama’s executive action.”

Ted Cruz, the new Republican Senate nominee from Texas, said the matter “powerfully illustrates” the differences between Obama and Romney.

“It is yet another action of executive arrogance by this president,” Cruz added. “President Obama, if he disagreed with requiring welfare recipients to work or to seek work, he could have gone to Congress, he could have proposed new legislation, he could have tried to make the case to the American people.” Instead of pursuing such a course, Cruz continued, Obama “simply decreed it by executive order,” an action that he called a “pattern” of this administration.

“President Obama apparently believes that Bill Clinton was way too conservative,” Cruz said, “and that the Obama administration is and should be far, far to the left of the Clinton administration.”

The campaign also denied that Romney’s opposition to letting states decide on the work requirement showed a lack of respect for states’ rights and ability to pick what policies worked best for their residents.

“There’s a difference between flexibility and a blank check,” said Jonathan Burks, the Romney campaign deputy policy director. What Obama was allowing, Burks continued, was comparable to giving the states funds for Medicare/Medicaid without requiring that those states use the money for health care.

The new TV ad from the Romney campaign and the RNC on welfare reform: