Team Mitt Deploys Newt To Hit Obama Over Gutting Of Welfare Reform
I had the chance to listen in on the RNC conference call with Newt Gingrich today over Obama’s attempt to kill the historic 1994 welfare reform law.
I’d like to have some audio for you but, I’m still working out some technical issues. Still, here’s a rundown of some of Newt’s line of attack today:
1. Section 407 of the law which lays out what counts as work requirements was, according to Gingrich, written in a way so that it could not be waived. Why? According to Newt it was because, “we didn’t trust liberals” not to get rid of them as soon as they could.
Advantage Newt and the House Republicans of the 90s.
2. Newt rattled off a bunch of metrics (reduction of inter-generational welfare families, income, people moving from assistance to jobs, etc) to demonstrate that the reforms worked and that gutting the law isn’t about improving the lives of people but furthering a dependency culture.
3. He defended Romney’s supposed request for a waiver while Governor of Massachusetts saying it was part of a MA law and not something he did alone. Gingrich also claimed the gist of the request would have strengthen the work requirements, not weakened them.
4. Newt, not surprisingly, thinks this is “a devastating issue” to use against Obama: People who are working hard to make ends meet won’t be happy to see the government making it easier for others to get at their income through redistribution programs. It’s also right in Mitt’s wheelhouse since Mitt’s whole life is about work and the value of working.
The first question came from Ginger Gibson at Politico and she wanted to make it about race by asking if this couldn’t be spun as being anti-minority. Newt swatted it away by: reminder her that more whites than blacks or any other group receive these benefits, arguing there’s nothing racist about wanting to help people move from dependency to self-sufficiency and Newt being Newt, working in a slap at the elite media who made the same arguments 20 years ago.
At several other points Gingrich made a point of tying this action to Obama’s radical views on the role of government in people’s lives. He went after Obama saying unlike Bill Clinton who moved the Democrats to the center (I don’t recall Newt talking like that in the 90s), Obama is moving the Democrats to the far left. He also called out Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius as a radical who is waging war on the Catholic Church who will not enforce even minimal work standards if given the chance.
Taken together, Newt called the prospect of a second Obama term “a direct threat to the welfare of my two grandchildren”.
This was obviously good Newt. It’s a subject that’s in his wheelhouse and it’s an attack he takes personally. I’m glad to see the RNC and the Romney campaign taking this issue seriously and trying to capitalize on it. Newt got them off to a good start with this. Ultimately however it’s going to be up to Romney to carry the ball and to do it with passion. Let’s just say, as always with Mitt, I have my concerns.