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Mitt Romney flip flopping heads
So The Des Moines Register sat down with Mitt Romney for an interview yesterday and asked him to defend his welfare attack ads from fact checkers who say his claims were inaccurate. Here's the question they asked:
Fact checkers have said it only opened the door for states to ask for those waivers, it didn’t end that requirement, but your campaign commercials in Iowa say he ended it.
I would have also noted that waivers would only be granted to states seeking to experiment with ways to move more people from welfare to work, but the question gets the basic facts right: The Obama administration merely invited applications for such waivers, but none have yet been granted. And Romney's answer to this basic assertion of fact?
Fact checkers on both sides of the aisle will look in the way they think is most consistent with their own views. It’s very clear that others who have looked at the same issue feel that the president violates the provision of the act which requires work in welfare, defines what work is. He guts that, he ends that requirement for those that seek that welfare.
Fact checkers on both sides? Uh, facts are facts, and in this case the facts are not on Mitt Romney's side. Even if we were to set aside the question of whether granting waivers would gut welfare reform, no waivers have been granted. Nothing has been gutted. Period. That's not a question of opinion. It's a question of fact. Every single fact checker has said the same thing.

Not even Newt Gingrich was willing to sling as much bull on this topic as Romney did in that answer. Appearing as a surrogate for Romney on CNN, Gingrich conceded that no waivers had been granted and told Anderson Cooper that there was "no proof" that Obama would ever grant waivers in such a fashion that could be consistent with Romney's claims. Gingrich did say, however, that he believed in his heart that Obama wanted to undermine welfare reform. That's a bit loco, but at least it's a matter of opinion. On the facts, Romney is wrong. There are no two ways about it.

As ridiculous as Romney's answer to that question was, earlier in the interview he had offered an even more absurd response.

When the welfare reauthorization bill was passed, effort was taken specifically to limit the type of work that qualified as work for welfare. There had been reports of wide array of activities that were really not work but were being called work. And so Congress said that the federal government may not provide a waiver from the work requirement, you may not redefine the work requirement. That was specifically included, I believe it was section 407 of the act.
Perhaps Mitt Romney knows about section 407 because when he was governor of Massachusetts, the state had a section 407 waiver.
Page 144 of the 8th Report to Congress on TANF
Page 144 of the 8th Report to Congress on TANF
Here's the key point about this waiver: Massachusetts wasn't using it to "gut" welfare reform. The waiver was put in place because Massachusetts had its own welfare reform policies that were more aggressive than federal law. In other words, Mitt Romney knows, from personal experience, that getting a section 407 waiver isn't the same thing as gutting welfare reform. In fact, waivers can help reform be even more effective. There's no question but that Mitt Romney is aware of this, yet he nonetheless continues smearing President Obama with false attacks on welfare, because he not only feels entitled to own opinions, he feels entitled to his own facts—as long as they suit his personal ambition.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 11:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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