TDS Managing Editor Ed Kilgore posts at The Washington Monthly about former President Bill Clinton’s response to the “highly mendacious and deeply divisive new ad on welfare policy” that tries to mislead voters into believing that President Obama is somehow abolishing the central “work” focus of the 1996 welfare reform act. Kilgore quotes from Clinton’s response (via Politico):
…The recently announced waiver policy was originally requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada to achieve more flexibility in designing programs more likely to work in this challenging environment. The Administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retained and that waivers will be granted only if a state can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach. The welfare time limits, another important feature of the 1996 act will not be waived.
The Romney ad is especially disappointing because, as governor of Massachusetts, he requested changes in the welfare reform laws that could have eliminated time limits altogether. We need a bipartisan consensus to continue to help people move from welfare to work even during these hard times, not more misleading campaign ads.
How did the Romney campaign’s response to this rather categorical rejection of the ad’s claims? It just repeated them. I swear, trying to engage these people in any sort of reasoned discourse is like looking into the eyes of a goat: nothing there but the determination to keep on keeping on, truth be damned…The welfare ad is going to be in heavy rotation according to Romney campaign sources, and no number of refutations of its central claims (by Clinton or by “fact-checkers” like PolitiFact, which quickly gave the ad a “Pants on Fire” designation) will stop them.
The Romney campaign and the candidate himself are on track to set an unprecedented record for deliberate distortions — if they haven’t already done so.