Out of the many falsehoods and distortions made during this year’s presidential campaign, few are more blatant than the one made about a memo the White House sent out concerning the federal welfare work requirement.
In an ad produced by the Romney campaign, it was said that “President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.” The President did no such thing. The plan in question, which was outlined in a memo sent from the Department of Health and Human Services, is designed to let states create alternative strategies aimed at improving employment outcomes for those dependent on welfare. It essentially gives states more flexibility on the assumption that local governments understand their own economy better than the federal one. Two Republican governors that wanted more control over work requirements originally requested the new policy from the White House.
So it’s puzzling why former Gov. Mitt Romney, who has spent much of his time on the campaign trail railing against centralized government, would oppose this effort. What’s particularly disturbing is how even after almost every major newspaper and fact checking website in the country debunked the claim, Romney has continued to attack Obama for “taking the work requirement out of welfare’” and defending the accuracy of his blatantly false campaign ad. To at least some extent, the attacks must be resonating with key voters, as the presidential candidate has not backed off in the face of what some have called a “war against facts.’” Hopefully Romney, as well as Obama, will decide to include honesty in their campaign strategies as the race continues.
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