Governor Rick Snyder (R-MI) as much as admitted that Mitt Romney’s race-baiting claim that President Obama is “gutting” work requirements in the welfare program is a load of manure.
He didn’t use those words, of course, but when Tom Brokaw asked Snyder about the program at the Republican convention this afternoon, the governor had only positive things to say about it.
This is the same program that Romney insists Obama is using to “shore up his base.” (Read: black people.) As one of Romney’s five welfare ads says, “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you a welfare check. And welfare-to-work goes back to being plain old welfare.”
To back up, the Obama administration recently announced that states could apply for waivers from the 1996 welfare reform law in order to find alternative ways to help welfare recipients find work. Nothing is gutted, the work requirement stands, and in fact, in2005, 29 governors—including Governor Romney—asked for even more flexibility in how they applied the welfare law.
What’s not to like? Governor Synder practically said on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show today, from Tampa.
BROKAW: A number of people have looked at [Obama’s] program and have said, ‘Look, he’s responding to what the governors wanted; they wanted more flexibility in how they administer these programs, and he’s really responding to what they asked for. So my question to you is, has what President Obama done for welfare in the state of Michigan—has that given you more flexibility and are you happy with those policies in that regard?
SNYDER: We are still fully analyzing it. The concept of flexibility for governors is a good thing, but I think there should be performance metrics. We should be held accountable for performance, but [with] flexibility on how to do it…
Brokaw didn’t remind him that metrics and accountability are built into the new initiative (if the states don’t move more people into jobs by at least 20 percent, the waiver will be denied or rescinded). Nor did Brokaw exactly ask, Isn’t Romney’s whole welfare ad campaign a big fat lie (that word is not in his MSM vocabulary), but he did approach the subject:
BROKAW: But the real question is, do you think that President Obama, in responding to what the governors wanted in terms of flexibility, in how they administer the welfare program, has sent a signal to the welfare community that you don’t have to work for it anymore? Or has he responded specifically and explicitly to what the governors wanted?