MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Monday that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took a page from the desperate section of his party’s 2012 playbook by making an accusation that was thoroughly debunked during Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
“They’re going back to the bad old days of national campaigning against President [Barack] Obama when they were trying to maximize the aggrieved white vote,” she said. “Trying to tap into — or in this case, make up — things for white voters to be aggrieved about about this president.”
Specifically, Maddow explained, Boehner accused Obama of waiving the work requirement in welfare programs in a USA Today column published this past Sunday explaining House Republicans’ threat to sue the president.
“I believe the president’s actions in a number of areas — including job-destroying energy regulations, releasing the ‘Taliban 5’ from Guantanamo without notice and waiving the work requirements in welfare — exceed his constitutional authority,” Boehner wrote. “On the advice of legal experts, the House action will focus on his decision to extend — twice — the deadline to institute the employer mandate in his health care law. We believe this targeted lawsuit offers the best chance of success.”
During the last month of his unsuccessful run for the presidency, Maddow recalled, Romney began re-running television ads making the same charge against Obama. Around that time, the former Massachusetts governor was also making awkward, thinly-veiled racial references in the wake of a National Journal analysis that determined he needed to garner support from 61 percent of the white electorate to win the election.
The problem for Romney, Maddow said, was that his claim had already been proven false. What Obama actually did, in response to a bipartisan group of governors’ request, was allow their state more leeway in handling their respective welfare programs, on the condition that the workplace requirement be left alone.
“He never waived the work requirements in welfare — ever. He did the opposite,” Maddow said. “And, what he did was at the request of Republican governors, anyway.”
Even worse for Romney was the fact that he was one of the governors who made the initial request, as shown by his signature on the letter to Obama from the Republican Governors’ Association.
“When that letter came out, that turned the debunking on this thing up to Stun,” she said. “Not only were they describing the opposite of what really happened, but Mitt Romney was personally involved in it.”
Watch Maddow’s commentary, as aired on Monday, below.