When you came to office 32 million people on food stamps. Today, 47 million people on food stamps.One of the reasons he keeps going back to food stamps is that it's a talking point that works in different ways for a couple of different audiences. If you're concerned about the economy, a rise in food stamps indicates that people aren't doing well and poverty or near-poverty is high. If you're opposed to a safety net that ensures that people don't starve, a rise in food stamps is evidence that Obama is enabling whatever nasty labels you care to apply to people struggling to get by.
But as is so often the case with Romney's economic talking points, he's asking voters to ignore not just the reality of the economic collapse that was going on as Obama became president, but his own record in Massachusetts. In 2006, at the end of Romney's term, Project Bread, a Massachusetts antihunger organization, reported that:
The news this year is alarming: in low-income communities in Massachusetts, the extent of hunger more than doubled from what it was just three years ago. Findings from a recently released study show that hunger exists in an unprecedented 18 percent of households in these communities, up from 8 percent in 2003.But an increase in food stamp enrollment under Gov. Mitt Romney was part of the good news:
Over the past three years, food stamp enrollment in Massachusetts has grown by over 40 percent. This growth in enrollment reflects both increased need and better outreach by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), the state agency that manages this program in Massachusetts. One innovative effort, the Bay State Combined Application Project, made it easier for individuals who are elderly and disabled to apply for food stamps by electronically transferring enrollment information from the Social Security Administration to the DTA.So depending how you look at it, Romney is assailing Obama either because more people have needed food stamps or because more people have gotten them. But under Romney, more Massachusetts residents needed food stamps, and more got them. And he's likely as regretful about the second part as the first, because getting hungry people the help they need is not the kind of president Mitt Romney wants to be.
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