Appearing on CNN Wednesday night, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) admitted “we have no proof” to support the most recent attack at by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney hitting President Barack Obama for supposedly scrapping a welfare work rule.
The ad is blatantly false; a fabrication critics say is aimed at stirring up resentment toward people of color. Yet, amid a flurry of negative speculation in the media over why Romney refuses to release his tax returns, the deceptive welfare attack has suddenly emerged at the very epicenter of the Republican’s struggling presidential campaign.
And on Wednesday night, Anderson Cooper just wouldn’t let Gingrich explain that away.
After pressing the issue several times trying to get Gingrich to say whether he believes the ad is accurate, the former speaker seemed to crack. “If the ad makers had asked me, I would have said, ‘This makes it possible’ would have been a good way to enter into the wording of what was said,” he tried to explain.
“We have no proof today, but I would say to you under Obama’s ideology, it is absolutely true that he would be comfortable with sending a lot of people checks for doing nothing. I believe that totally,” Gingrich added later in the interview, explaining that if it were his ad, it would have called Obama “the leading foodstamp president in American history.”
The number of Americans reliant on government assistance to buy food grew by more than 70 percent between 2008 – 2011, driven by a lack of jobs and the unavailability of credit as the country grappled with a near total economic collapse at the end of President George W. Bush’s second term.
Despite the nearly unprecedented economic pressure on working class Americans, President Obama did not scrap a rule that requires welfare beneficiaries to look for work. Instead, the administration gave states the option to waive federal welfare work rules if officials come up with a plan that can increase employment among the poor even more.
That change was initially sought by Republican and Democratic governors alike, and even Romney, as the former governor of Massachusetts, signed on (PDF) in 2005. Republicans in Congress, however, turned against the waivers after the president agreed to it.
Far from being the opponent of welfare reform the Romney campaign is trying to depict him as, President Obama moved from saying as a state senator that the bi-partisan welfare reform of the Clinton years had “problems” to actively touting its successes in a 2008 campaign ad.
This video was broadcast by CNN on Wednesday, August 8, 2012.
Photo: Screenshot via CNN.com.