Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Fact check: Romney's welfare claims wrong

From Tom Foreman and Eric Marrapodi, CNN
updated 2:01 PM EDT, Thu August 30, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Romney ad claims that Obama has "gutted" welfare reform
  • Romney campaign claims Obama plan eliminates work requirement
  • White House allowed some states waivers from existing welfare rules
  • States, some with GOP governors, had asked for flexibility in handing out funds

Washington (CNN) -- Welfare reform, which added a work requirement tied to welfare benefits, is often cited as a major bipartisan political success of President Bill Clinton's second term.

So the idea of the next Democratic president, Barack Obama, taking the work requirement off the table is political dynamite.

Apparently, the Romney campaign believes it is.

A Romney campaign ad titled "Welfare Reform," which came out earlier in August, says that's just what Obama did.

"On July 12, President Obama quietly ended the work requirement, gutting welfare reform. One of the most respected newspapers in the country called it 'nuts,' " the ad says.

"Under Obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work and you wouldn't have to train for a job," the ad continues. "They just send you your welfare check. And welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare ..."

But the Obama campaign calls Romney's ad "nuts."

CNN's Fact-check agrees.

Clinton calls out 'disappointing' Romney ad

"Every single person here who's looked at it says it's patently false," Obama said a news conference on Monday.

So where did the notion of a major welfare reform overhaul come from?

Where it didn't come from is Washington but rather from Utah, Nevada, California, Connecticut and Minnesota.

These states, some with Republican governors, asked the federal government for more flexibility in how they hand out welfare dollars. Their purpose was to spend less time on federal paperwork and more time experimenting with ways to connect welfare recipients with jobs.

The Obama administration cooperated, granting waivers to some states from some of the existing rules.

The waivers gave "those states some flexibility in how they manage their welfare rolls as long as it produced 20% increases in the number of people getting work."

In some small way, the waivers might change precisely how work is calculated but the essential goal of pushing welfare recipients to work -- something both Democrats and Republicans agreed to in the 1990s -- remains the same.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:58 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
Although it has been over for nearly a year now, the war in Iraq continued to be a flash point in the final debate.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
President Barack Obama made the case that al Qaeda in Pakistan is decimated while Mitt Romney argued they are on the rise in other countries.
updated 9:22 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
President Barack Obama accused Mitt Romney of initially being against a withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan in 2014.
updated 9:18 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
The contention that President Obama apologized to other nations for American behavior has been mentioned repeatedly by his critics, including Mitt Romney.
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
President Barack Obama asserted that it cost the United States less to help oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi than it did to run two weeks of the 2003-2011 war in Iraq.
updated 5:58 PM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
President Barack Obama said Gov. Mitt Romney had criticized his administration for being too tough against China, and bringing a protectionist case at the World Trade Organization.
updated 12:48 PM EDT, Sat October 20, 2012
Conservative critics launched an attack on moderator Candy Crowley after she corrected Romney's claim that Obama did not refer to the consulate attack in Benghazi as an "act of terror."
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
Romney highlighted the number of women in the unemployment lines during President Barack Obama's term.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
Obama said he identified the September 11 assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack within a day; Romney said it took two weeks.
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
Obama touted his administration's support for the federal Pell Grant program and other aid for college students.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
Obama boasted that the Affordable Care Act gives insured women free contraception coverage, and said Romney thinks employers should decide whether women can get contraception through insurance.
updated 8:16 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
Fears of a possibly nuclear-armed Iran took center stage early in the vice presidential debate between Biden and Ryan.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
The September attack that killed four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya was the subject of a few claims at the VP debate.
updated 8:20 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
Federal support for wind power and electric cars was one of the early flashpoints between Biden and Ryan.
updated 8:15 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
The Affordable Care Act emerged as an issue between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
ADVERTISEMENT