To be fair, Mitt Romney has to lie about President Obama's position on work requirements for welfare.
The President supports work requirements for welfare. And that position doesn't match the phony image of Obama that Romney wants to portray.
This was an easy calculation for Romney campaign staffers. A lie that confirms a prejudice is more powerful than evidence that exposes the lie. This particular ad is widely repudiated by nonpartisan fact-checkers, but its unique characteristics blunt the force of its poor ratings: the ad is officially sanctioned by Mitt Romney himself. It is one of the most expertly-produced campaign ads of the season. And it is exquisitely designed for a crude, passionate response.
A saving grace for reality, though, is the simplicity of this ad's fraudulence, and the accessibility of the truth. The original document in question, a July 12 memo from the Department of Health & Human Services, a memo in which Mitt Romney claims President Obama "quietly removed the work requirements from welfare," is right here.
The ready availability of the memo presents a rare opportunity for voters to be their own fact-checkers. As you read it, hold these facts in mind:
- Mitt Romney's ad states: "Obama gutted the welfare work requirement."
- As you will see, Obama simply turned that question over to the states.
- Mitt Romney's ad states: "I will restore the work requirements to welfare."
- As you will see, there is nothing to restore. The requirements are in place.
- Mitt Romney, was one of the Republican governors requesting these waivers in May of 2005. (Interestingly, the list also includes Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels, Mark Sanford, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, and Haley Barbour.)