Mitt Romney escalated his attack on President Obama's welfare policies Monday, releasing a new TV ad that alleges the president has opposed the work requirement for welfare.
“Barack Obama has a long history of opposing work for welfare,” a voice-over says before the ad cuts to a clip of Obama from 1998 saying that he was not a “supporter of the federal plan that was signed in 1996” by former President Bill Clinton.
The ad claims Obama ended work requirements for welfare in July, referring to a memo from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying the administration was willing to waive federal work requirements for state welfare programs if they came up with their own plans to improve employment outcomes.
“You wouldn't have to work, and wouldn't have to train for a job,” the voice-over said.
The ad continues a line of attack Romney and the Republican National Committee have used for the past several weeks, starting with a spot that used Clinton and his 1996 welfare reform bill to attack Obama stance on the issue. Politifact rated the ad "Pants on Fire" last week.
The Obama campaign on Monday responded to the attacks in a conference call with reporters, calling the ad “blatantly false” and “a complete and utter lie.” The president did not weaken welfare reform, Obama campaign deputy manager Stephanie Cutter said; he simply gave flexibility to governors – Republican and Democrat – to implement the welfare-to-work program.
“If they want to bring the campaigns out of the mud, I think they need to look to home first,” Cutter told reporters. “They are the ones spending money on something that is simply not true."