CNN’s COSTELLO: The Romney campaign rolling out yet another commercial blasting President Obama for stripping the work requirement out of welfare. Republicans are expected to attack the President on that point at their convention, too, but is it true? Our fact checker Tom Foreman has been sifting through the evidence.
CLINTON: Join me as I sign the welfare reform bill.
CNN’s FOREMAN: Welfare reform was a big bipartisan success story in the mid-1990s. Signed by Bill Clinton, it fulfilled is promises by the Democratic President and the Republican Congress to push welfare recipients to work in exchange for their benefits – to end welfare as we know it. So the idea of another Democratic President, Barack Obama, taking the work requirement off of the table is political dynamite. Right?
AD: On July 12th, President Obama quietly ended the work requirement gutting welfare reform. One of the most respected newspapers in america called it nuts.
CNN’s FOREMAN: The problem is, President Obama calls this claim nuts.
OBAMA: Every single person here who’s looked at it says it’s patently false.
CNN’s FOREMAN: So where did this come from, this notion of a giant change in welfare rules? Oddly enough, it did not originate here in Washington, but rather out in the country. Several states, including some with Republican governors asked the federal government for more flexibility in how they hand out welfare dollars. Specifically, they want to spend less time on federal paperwork and more time experimenting with what they hope will be better ways of getting people connected to jobs. So the administration has granted waivers from some of the existing rules.
OBAMA: Giving them, those states some flexibility in how they manage their welfare rolls as long as it produced 20 percent increases in the number of people who are getting work.
CNN’s FOREMAN: That might in a small way change precisely how work is calculated, but the essential goal of pushing welfare recipients to work remains in place. That’s pretty much it. This is clearly not an effort by the President to kill off the welfare work requirements. That’s why even some Republicans backed away. Governor Romney’s claim doesn’t work. And we rate it false. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.