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Republican governor acknowledges Romney welfare attack is a lie

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:32 EDT
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Kansas Gov Sam Brownback via Screencap
 
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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has acknowledged that the presidential campaign of Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)’s  current main line of attack against President Barack Obama, that he gutted welfare reform’s work requirement, is based on a falsehood.  Brownback made the admission in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, host of “Jansing and Co.”

The false assertion that President Obama has eliminated the work requirement hasbeen made in commercials supporting Romney and repeated ad nauseam by GOP surrogates and pundits, in spite of the fact that, as Think Progress said, “Everyone from independent fact-checkers to major newspapers to President Bill Clinton (who signed the law) have said that the campaign’s attack is untrue.”

Nonetheless, failed presidential hopeful, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) trotted out the discredited talking point again Tuesday night in his address to the Republican National Convention.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) apparently didn’t get the fax from Karl Rove’s office detailing his instructions for defending the welfare canard.

Chris Jansing asked Brownback in an interview about this election season whether he would “agree that these claims that the work requirement has been abolished are false?”

“As far as I have seen,” Brownback agreed, “but I don’t know all of the basis to it.”  However ungracefully he may have fumbled that talking point, the governor was ready with another GOP 2012 buzzword, “dependency.”

“I do know the basis to this dependency on the government and how big the government is and how big the entitlement state is and how much of a debt we’re leaving to our kids,” he said.

Yesterday, the Romney campaign admitted that it doesn’t care whether the charges are true or not, so long as they work.  Romney staffer Neil Newhouse told a reporter from BuzzFeed that the campaign refuses to allow its tactics to be “dictated by fact-checkers.”

In truth, President Obama modified the welfare reform law in such a way as to allow the states greater flexibility in their own welfare-to-work programs, as requested by a group of Republican governors.  The states, however, must present compelling reasons as to why they should be allowed to waive the work requirement.

Nonetheless, as Chris Matthews alleged on Monday, the Republican Party knows the effectiveness of the racial “dog whistle” that it’s blowing when conservatives talk about “people on welfare.”  When confronted about that prospect, an aide for the Romney campaign said, “I think reasonable people can have a disagreement over this.”

Watch the clip, embedded via Think Progress, below:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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